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Israeli FM thanks Bahrain for spearheading normalisation

Yisrael Katz said Bahrain is a strong Arab ally [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 December, 2019

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Israel's foreign minister Yisrael Katz has praised Bahrain's efforts in normalisation.
An Israeli website has praised Bahrain for heading normalisation with Israel, saying yet more progress is being made.

According to a media report by ultra-orthodox news outlet Kikar HaShabbat, Israeli foreign minister Yizrael Katz sent an official congratulatory message to Bahraini foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa on the warming relations between the two countries.

Earlier this month, Israeli Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar, concluded a rare visit to Bahrain by meeting the Gulf kingdom’s King Hamad.

Amar sent to King Hamad Al Khalifa “a blessing from Jerusalem that will lead to a solid relationship with the State of Israel.”

"Bahrain is heading towards normalisation with Israel, despite the fact that there are only 34 Jews residing in it, but the Israeli-Bahraini relations are warming with the passage of time," he said.

According to the report, Katz acknowledged that the rapprochement between the two countries has sped up throughout the year.

Read also: From covert to overt: Warming relations between Bahrain and Israel no longer a secret

He praised Bahrain for reaching out to normalise relations with Israel from the 1990s after the Oslo Accords and the way direct progress has been made throughout the decades.

He thanked Bahrain’s King Hamad for speaking up against the Arab boycott of Israel in 2017 during an event in the United States.

He also praised the kingdom for declaring Israel has a right to defend itself in 2018 when Israel targeted Iranian military bases in Syria, along with praising the kingdom for hosting the widely condemned Deal of the Century summit earlier this year.

"All these indications indicate that between Bahrain and Israel there are many common interests, topped by the Iranian threat, which poses an existential threat to the two countries," Katz said.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict broke out in 1948 after Zionist militias ethnically cleansed the majority of Palestinians – approximately 750,000 people - from their homeland. Their descendants remain refugees in the countries surrounding Israel to this day.

Thousands of Palestinians were also killed in massacres such as the one which took place in Deir Yassin.

Israel continues to occupy the West Bank while besieging and regularly launching brutal attacks on the Gaza Strip, in violation of international law.

The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians has stalled amid Israel's unwillingness to recognise Palestinian rights to self-determination and withdraw from the West Bank.

Recently the UAE - and other Gulf states - has been increasingly normalising ties with Israel, welcoming Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz in August and allowing Israel to participate in the Dubai Expo earlier this month.

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