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The New Arab Staff

Israel to open Bahrain embassy before end of 2020

Bahrain has normalised ties with Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 December, 2020

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Israel will open its embassy in the Bahraini capital, Manama, before the end of the year, sources in Tel Aviv's foreign ministry said.

Israel is preparing to open its embassy in Bahrain before the end of the year, only three months after a normalisation agreement was signed between the two countries.

A senior Israeli foreign ministry official was quoted on news website Walla on Wednesday evening saying his country will open its embassy in Bahrain's capital, Manama, before the end of December.

The official explained that the opening of the embassy "will mark an end of ​​25 years of secret relations between Israel and Bahrain", noting that "Tel Aviv worked throughout those years in Manama, through a secret representation under the cover of an international company for commercial consultations".

The Hebrew-language site added that "two diplomats from Israel are currently in Manama to handle the affairs of the new embassy until the arrival of a permanent ambassador".

Fact check: Bahrain's FM's visit to Israel took place in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv

On Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said in a press conference with Bahrain's Minister of Industry and Tourism Zayed Al-Zayani that he intends to visit Manama soon to open an Israeli embassy.

The Bahraini minister welcomed the upcoming visit, saying his country looks forward to the launch of direct flights to Israel and welcoming Israeli tourists to the island state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also planning to visit Bahrain and the UAE, in the most elevated visit by an Israeli official to the two Gulf states since the three parties signed normalisation agreements in September.

Normalisation as a betrayal 

In September, Bahrain became the second Gulf state and fourth Arab country to officially normalise relations with Israel.

The move came just weeks after US President Donald Trump made a shock announcement that the UAE had normalised relations with Israel. 

Officials from Gulf states and Israel expressed that the Arab world has entered a "new era" with normalisation, and claimed that the conjunction of their regimes shows a more "progressive" attitude towards Israel.

At the time, Bahraini citizens silently protested normalisation with Israel, due to an ongoing crackdown on dissidents.

An Arabic hashtag which translates to "Bahrain against normalisation", has become widely used.

"If it wasn't for the way in which protesters were suppressed during the Arab Spring, I can guarantee you that there would be thousands taking the streets in support for Palestine right now," a Bahraini activist who identified himself as Mohammad, told The New Arab at the time.

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