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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinians condemn Israel-Bahrain normalisation agreement

Bahrain will be the fourth Arab state to normalise ties with Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 September, 2020

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Rival factions Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have slammed the agreement as a 'stab in the back'.
The Palestinian Authority and Islamist movement Hamas both condemned Friday's Israeli-Bahraini normalisation deal as another "stab in the back" by an Arab state and act of "aggression" against their people.

The agreement was "a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people", like the UAE-Israel deal announced last month, Ahmad Majdalani, social affairs minister in the West Bank-based PA, told AFP.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said it was an "aggression" that dealt "serious prejudice" to the Palestinian cause.

US President Donald Trump announced the agreement on Friday, following a three-way phone call he had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The three leaders also issued a brief six-paragraph joint statement, attesting to the deal.

"Another HISTORIC breakthrough today!" Trump tweeted.

It represents another diplomatic win for Trump less than two months before the the presidential election and an opportunity to shore up support among pro-Israel evangelical Christians. Just last week, Trump announced agreements in principle for Kosovo to recognize Israel and for Serbia to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East," Trump, Netanyahu and King Hamad said in the statement. "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."

Like the UAE agreement, Friday's Bahrain-Israel deal will normalise diplomatic, commercial, security and other relations between the two countries. Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, had already dropped a prohibition on Israeli flights using its airspace. Saudi acquiescence to the agreements has been considered key to the deals.

Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner noted that the agreement is the second Israel has reached with an Arab country in 30 days after having made peace with only two Arab nations — Egypt and Jordan — in 72 years of its independence.

"This is very fast," Kushner told The Associated Press. "The region is responding very favourably to the UAE deal and hopefully it's a sign that even more will come."

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