Bahrain agrees to normalize relations with Israel, Trump announces


The Bahraini foreign minister is expected to participate in the ceremony at the White House together with Netanyahu and the UAE's foreign minister

Bahrain has joined the United Arab Emirates in striking an agreement to normalize relations with Israel, President Donald Trump said on Friday, a dramatic move aimed at easing tensions in the Middle East.Trump tweeted out the news after he spoke by phone to both Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said.Read More Related Articles

Trump also tweeted: "Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal – the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!""This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East," the United States, Bahrain and Israel said in a joint statement."Opening direct dialog and ties between these two dynamic societies and advanced economies will continue the positive transformation of the Middle East and increase stability, security, and prosperity in the region," it said.Netanyahu said the agreement marks a "new era of peace."Latest articles from Jpost

"For many long years, we invested in peace, and now peace will invest in us, will bring about truly major investments in Israel's economy - and that is very important," Netanyahu said in a video statement.The king of Bahrain reiterated the necessity of reaching a fair and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, based on the two state solution, in a call with Netanyahu and Trump, Bahrain's state news agency BNA said on Friday."The declaration of the establishment of relations between #Bahrain & #Israel is in the interest of the region's #security, stability and prosperity," Bahraini Ambassador to the United States Abdulla R. Al-Khalifa tweeted. " It sends a positive and encouraging message to the people of #Israel, that a just and comprehensive peace with the #Palestinian people is the best path and the true interest for their future and the future of the peoples of the region."

Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the president called the agreeement "a historic breakthrough for the president and also for the world and for those two countries. On the anniversary of 9/11. That is the best thing that we can do to prevent another 9/11 from ever happening is to create peace and to aggressively counter extremism and terrorism. And President Trump is spared no effort in doing that."In a briefing to the press following Trump's announcement on the White House-brokered deal, Kushner also addressed questions about the possibility of additional agreement with other countries in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia.“There's a new momentum and new hopefulness in the Middle East,” said the senior advisor. “The agreement that we made with the United Arab Emirates and Israel was even more popular than we expected, which is why this next agreement came so quickly. We were not sure what the reaction would be, but it's been overwhelmingly positive. And more and more countries are rushing to try to figure out how they can do good things for their citizens and create a paradigm for a much more peaceful and prosperous future.”“The leaders in the region recognize that the approach that's been taken in the past hasn't worked and they realize that there are people want to see a more vibrant and exciting future,” Kushner continued. “I do believe that it's an inevitability that all countries in the Middle East will normalize relations with Israel. It's a very hard thing. I don't know the timing on it, but I think people want to see the Middle East move forward. They want to seize opportunity.”“I think that this will help reduce tension in the Muslim world and allow people to separate the Palestinian issue from their own national interests, from their foreign policy, which should be focused on their domestic priorities. And so I think you're going to continue to see momentum,” he noted.Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan tweeted: "Another historic day for Israel and the Arab world. Congratulations to PM @netanyahu, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Salman, President @realDonaldTrump, and @jaredkushner on this tremendous achievement. We are witnessing the beginning of a new era in the Middle East!"

Erdan later had a conversation with Bahrain's ambassador to the UN, Jamal Fares Alrowaiei. According to Israel's Mission to the UN called the conversation "warm" and said that the two congratulated each other. The two also reportedly "also agreed to meet to discuss cooperation in the UN on issues of innovation and economic development for the benefit of the two countries.""Expanding the circle of peace in the Middle East can lead to a change at the UN as well," Erdan said. "We are entering a new era in which we can publicly work together on security issues and the economic prosperity of Israel and the Arab countries. Together, we will face the challenges that threaten stability in the Middle East."Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and advisor also tweeted about the historic event.

"Last week Jared met King Hamad al Khalifa and Crown Prince Salman, a beautiful foreshadowing of today’s historic peace deal between Israel & Bahrain, establishing FULL diplomatic relations," she tweeted.United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that the agreement demonstrates that "there is clear momentum for a new Middle East."On Thursday and Friday many speculated that another country would join the UAE in normalizing ties with Israel."You'll be hearing other countries coming in over a relatively short period of time. And you could have peace in the Middle East," Trump told a White House news conference on Thursday.Trump said it was possible another country could soon join the diplomatic accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. However, he did not disclose the name of the country that might be the next to join, but predicted that Saudi Arabia would eventually do so.

Trump is going to host a signing ceremony next Tuesday that will include delegations with Israel and the UAE. His negotiators have been trying to get other Gulf nations, such as Bahrain and Oman, to join in normalizing relations with Israel."Next week at the White House we'll be having a signing between the UAE and Israel, and we could have another country added into that. And I will tell you that countries are lining up that want to go into it," Trump said."I think what ultimately will happen is you're going to have quite a few countries come in. The big ones are going to be coming in. I spoke to the king of Saudi Arabia, so we're talking. We just started the dialog. And you'll have them come in," he said.The Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to a query on whether the Saudi ambassador or another Saudi representative would attend next week's signing ceremony at the White House.

"I'm frankly surprised they haven't been to the table earlier," said Trump, who added the United States would consider lifting a freeze on aid to the Palestinians if a deal can be reached with them.Bahrain is where the White House held the June 2019 "Peace for Prosperity" economic conference, which various Israeli leaders attended.Sheba’s director-general Prof. Yitshak Kreiss attended the “Peace for Prosperity” workshop in Bahrain and shared pictures on Facebook of his visit with Bahrain’s former Ambassador to the United States, Houda Nonoo. According to the post, “they discussed how healthcare and medical innovation can spur economic growth for the Middle East and Gulf regions.” Subsequently,The Jerusalem Postreported that Bahrain was among three Gulf States that reached out to Israel's Sheba to receive information and assistance in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. 

Bahrain expressed interest in the hospital's response to the pandemic at the same time as the UAE's ambassador to the United Nations said publicly that her government would be willing to work with Israel on a vaccine. Since the announcement that the UAE and Israel would work to normalize ties, several deals have been established on this front.

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