Washington- US President Donald Trump on Friday brokered another peace deal in the Middle East with Bahrain announcing that it would normalise diplomatic ties with Israel.
The announcement by Trump after he hosted a historic call between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain came a month after he had mediated between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to do the same.
Leaders of the UAE and Israel are scheduled to sign an agreement in this regard at the White House next week.
In the spirit of peace and cooperation, Netanyahu and Al Khalifa agreed that Bahrain will fully normalise its diplomatic relations with Israel, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House.
They will exchange embassies and ambassadors, begin direct flights between their countries, and launch cooperation initiatives across a broad range of sectors, including health, business, technology, education, security, and agriculture. This is a truly historic day, he said.
Observing that there have been two peace agreements with Israel in the last 72 years, Trump said that this is now the second peace agreement that he has announced in the last month. And I am very hopeful that there will be more to follow, he said, adding that there’s tremendous enthusiasm on behalf of other countries to also join.
And we think, ultimately, you’ll have most countries join, and you’re going to have the Palestinians in a very good position. They want to come in — they’re going to want to come in because all of their friends are in. But we have tremendous enthusiasm for coming into the deal, he said.
As more countries normalise relations with Israel — which will happen quite quickly, we believe — the region will become more and more stable, secure, and prosperous, Trump said.
Trump’s special advisor and son-in-law Jarred Kushner played a key role in securing both the agreements in the Middle East, which is expected to play an important role having a lasting peace in the region.
What President Trump has done here is unthinkable. He’s brought people in the Middle East together. There’s been these barriers that have existed that have led to so much instability, so much war, so much loss, so much hopelessness. And we’re seeing so much hopefulness now coming, he told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House.
The US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said that Trump’s policy of peace through strength has changed the world profoundly for the better.
Later in a conference call with reporters, Kushner said that this deal will bring these countries closer together. It took Israel 72 years to form the first two peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt. “And then, in the last 29 days, we now have two more peace agreements, which shows that the region is really changing, he said.
About two weeks ago, he took the first commercial flight between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. That flight flew over Saudi Arabia’s airspace, which they waived after 72 years. And they said that other commercial flights can take that route as well. The UAE just removed their 48-year boycott of Israel, he noted.
Referring to the two back-to-back agreements, Kushner described this as the beginning of a new Middle East. Trump has really secured alliances and partners in trying to pursue that, he added.
Kushner announced that Bahrain will be sending its foreign minister for the signing of the agreement between the UAE and Israel at the White House next week.
Describing this as a historic agreement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that as the President has kept the promise that he laid out at the beginning of this Administration that he would strengthen America’s friendships and build new partnerships in pursuit of peace.
The two peace agreements open new possibilities for peace and prosperity. From my recent travels to the region, there is clear momentum for a new Middle East. I thank King Hamad and Prime Minister Netanyahu for having the courage to change the fate of nations, he said.
How the world reacted to Bahrain, Israel normalising ties
Nations and stakeholders in Israeli-Palestine conflict react to Bahrain and Israel normalising diplomatic relations.
The agreement was “a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people”, like the UAE-Israel deal announced last month, Ahmad Majdalani, social affairs minister in the occupied West Bank-based PA, told AFP.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said the deal was an “aggression” that dealt “serious prejudice” to the Palestinian cause.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE welcomed the decision by Bahrain and Israel to establish relations, saying that it hoped it would have a positive effect on peace and cooperation in the region and around the world.
“The move represents a significant step towards an era of security and prosperity … (and) would expand the scope of economic, cultural, scientific, and diplomatic avenues of cooperation,” the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement.
On September 15, the UAE will formally normalise ties with Israel, a move that was announced last month. Bahrain and Israel will sign a declaration on the same day.
Following the agreement, Iran said Bahrain was now partner to the “crimes” of Israel.
“The rulers of Bahrain will from now on be partners to the crimes of the Zionist regime as a constant threat to the security of the region and the world of Islam,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said he appreciated the “important step” Israel and Bahrain had taken in agreeing to establish diplomatic relations.
The agreement would help establish “stability and peace in the Middle East, in a way that achieves a just and permanent settlement of the Palestinian issue,” el-Sisi said on Twitter.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry strongly condemned Bahrain’s decision to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, adding it will deal a fresh blow to efforts to defend the Palestinian cause.
“It will further encourage Israel to continue illegitimate practices towards Palestine and its efforts to make the occupation of Palestinian lands permanent,” the ministry statement said.
Jordan’s foreign minister Ayman Safadi said in a statement that the necessary steps to achieve a fair and comprehensive peace in the region should come from Israel.
Safadi added that Israel should stop all its procedures to undermine the two-state solution, and end the illegal occupation of the Palestinian lands.
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