by: Kate Norman
Friday, 20 November 2020 | After normalizing ties under the US-brokered Abraham Accords, Israel and Bahrain will open reciprocal embassies in each other’s nations by the end of the year, Israel’s foreign minister said Wednesday in a joint statement with his Bahraini counterpart.
The announcement was made during Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani’s historic visit to the Jewish state on Wednesday—the first official visit by a Bahraini government official to the State of Israel. It was a landmark day as al-Zayani flew to Ben Gurion airport aboard the first commercial flight from Bahrain to Israel.
After landing in Israel, al-Zayani was welcomed by his Israeli counterpart, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, who hailed the Bahraini minister’s visit as “historic.”
After a meeting at the foreign ministry, the two jointly announced the imminent opening of reciprocal embassies.
“I was pleased to convey to Minister Ashkenazi the Kingdom of Bahrain’s formal request to open an embassy in Israel and to inform him that Israel’s reciprocal request for an embassy in Manama has been approved,” al-Zayani told the press. “This is a process which I hope can now move forward relatively quickly.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi added: “I hope that by the end of the year we will be able to hold ceremonies to mark their openings” and announced that he will reciprocate al-Zayani’s visit by traveling to the Bahraini capital of Manama in December.
The Bahraini diplomat’s whirlwind visit included meetings with Ashkenazi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“Three peace agreements in six weeks,” Netanyahu said in a joint statement with the US secretary of state and the Bahraini diplomat on Wednesday. “I don’t think it gets much better than that.”
“Today we are making history again,” the prime minister added. “This is the first-ever official ministerial visit from the Kingdom of Bahrain to the State of Israel. It marks another important milestone on the road to peace between our two countries and peace in the region.”
Bahrain joined the historic signing of the peace accords between Israel and United Arab Emirates on September 15 at the White House. On October 25, Jerusalem and Manama signed their own peace agreements in the Bahraini capital and officially established peaceful diplomatic ties.
Since then, ties between the Jewish state and its Gulf state neighbor are expected to strengthen as cooperation agreements are being signed for tourism, travel visas, and several areas of business, science and technology.
The Palestinian Authority was not as enthused with the newfound peace, going so far as to call Bahrain and the UAE traitors for normalizing ties with Israel, breaking with a longstanding Arab policy of holding off on peace with Israel until the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The Bahraini foreign minister called on the Palestinian people to come to the negotiating table for peace with Israel in his joint statement with Netanyahu and Pompeo.
“I am very much looking forward to building on this historic progress and am convinced that we have an opportunity to build cooperation, tolerance, coexistence and trust—not only between our two nations, but between all children of Abraham,” al-Zayani said. “In doing so, let us deliver a peace that ensures a safe, stable and prosperous Middle East for all its peoples. Our region deserves no less.”
Posted on November 20, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 20, 2020)
Photo Credit: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/flickr.com
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