Israel and Bahrain to formalise diplomatic ties

WION Web Team Jerusalem, Israel Oct 18, 2020, 03.28 PM(IST)

Israel and Bahrain Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

An Israeli delegation led by National Security Council chief Meir Ben Sabbat took off from Tel Aviv for a one-day trip to Manama to oversee Israel and Bahrain formalising the agreement they signed at the White House on September 15.  

Israel and Bahrain will officially establish diplomatic relations Sunday at a ceremony in Manama. The two states had earlier reached a US-brokered normalisation deal last month. 

An Israeli delegation led by National Security Council chief Meir Ben Sabbat took off from Tel Aviv for a one-day trip to Manama to oversee Israel and Bahrain formalising the agreement they signed at the White House on September 15.  

They will ink a "joint communique" that is the establishment of full diplomatic relations.

After a ceremony scheduled for Sunday evening, Israel and Bahrain will be free to open embassies in each other's countries. 

An Israeli embassy in Manama is scheduled to open in the coming months.

Before takeoff, Israeli delegation chief Shabbat said the aim was "to translate into practical plans and concrete agreements the peace declaration that was signed on the White House lawn". 

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump's special assistant for international negotiations, Avi Berkowitz, landed in Tel Aviv before joining the Israeli delegation flight to Manama.

In addition to the joint communique establishing diplomatic ties, Israel and Bahrain are expected to sign six to eight memorandums of understanding, a government statement said. 

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain became the third and fourth Arab states to agree to normalise ties with Israel, following Egypt's peace deal with Israel in 1979 and a 1994 pact with Jordan. 

The deal outraged the Palestinians, who have called on Arab states to maintain unity against Israel. They condemned the Gulf agreements with Israel as "a stab in the back" for their aspirations to establish an independent state of their own.

Israel's right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that more Mideast states want ties with Israel as priorities have shifted, arguing that countries now value lucrative trade opportunities above the Palestinian conflict. 

Key player Saudi Arabia has said it will not follow its allies Bahrain and the UAE in establishing diplomatic relations without a resolution to the Palestinian issue.