Israel and Bahrain signed an agreement on Sunday to officially establish diplomatic relations with each other. An Israeli delegation flew from Tel Aviv to Bahrain’s capital, Manama, to sign the deal. It was the first direct flight between the two countries.
Bahrain is one of the first Arab countries to recognize Israel
On September 15, Israel and Bahrain already expressed their intention to normalize relations between them. That happened during a ceremony at the White House, under the watchful eye of US President Donald Trump, who acted as broker in the deal.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was also in Manama on Sunday to formalize the agreement.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani said at the ceremony that it was “the beginning of relations between the two countries leading to constructive cooperation in different areas”.
According to the minister, the decision to normalize ties with Israel stems from the “belief in values of tolerance in a region whose population has suffered from wars and conflicts”. The agreement and cooperation would be the most efficient and lasting way to bring about real peace in the area.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were only the third and fourth Arab countries to recognize Israel since its founding in 1948 in September. Previously, only Egypt and Jordan did.
For decades, most Arab countries have boycotted Israel, insisting that they do not establish ties until the dispute with the Palestinians has been resolved. An important agreement that the UAE and Bahrain have made with Israel is that Israel will stop annexing areas in the West Bank for the time being.
The Palestinians have condemned the Gulf agreements with Israel.