Trump announces Bahrain-Israel normalization of ties

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Bahrain joined the United Arab Emirates in striking an agreement to normalize relations with Israel, US President Donald Trump said Friday, in 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.

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Israel and the UAE reached a historic peace deal on August 14 that led to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two in an agreement that Trump helped broker.

"This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East. Opening direct dialogue 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," a joint statement of the US, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Israel read.

Bahrain also accepted Trump's invitation to join Israel and the UAE at the signing ceremony on September 15 at the White House. Netanyahu and Bahraini FM Abdullatif al-Zayani will be signing the peace deal between their countries.

Reacting to the announcement, Netanyahu said he was “moved” that Bahrain became the second Arab Gulf country to normalize ties with Tel Aviv.

The flags of Bahrain and Israel. (Stock Photo)
The flags of Bahrain and Israel. (Stock Photo)

"Citizens of Israel, I am moved to be able to tell you that this evening, we are reaching another peace agreement with another Arab country, Bahrain. This agreement adds to the historic peace with the United Arab Emirates," Netanyahu said in a Hebrew-language statement.

Bahrain’s former Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed said the declaration of the establishment of full relations was in the interest of the region's security, stability and prosperity.

“The declaration of the establishment of relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and Israel is in the interest of the region's security, stability and prosperity. 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,” he tweeted.

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Rabbi Marc Schneier, a special advisor to Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa, also reacted to the news, saying that the normalization of ties was special to the island kingdom given that Manama is home to the only indigenous Jewish community in the Arabian Gulf.

“This is even more special for Bahrain, among the other nations of the region, as it is home to the only indigenous Jewish community in the Arabian Gulf. I was honored when King Hamad invited me to bring a delegation from The Hampton Synagogue to visit the kingdom and meet with its Jewish community in 2018. He is very proud of his Jewish community, its synagogue and Jewish cemetery and is invested in its growth,” Schneier said in a statement.

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