By Dewi Morris | Political Editor
The deal was brokered by the US, and was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani at the White House on Tuesday, September 15.
The region reacts.
A joint statement from the US, Bahrain and Israel reads: “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”.
However, Palestinian leaders denounced the deal, calling it “another treacherous stab to the Palestinian cause.”
Ammar Hijazi, assistant minister of multilateral affairs for the Palestinian Authority, said:
“The only path for peace for the Palestinians is ending this brutal Israeli occupation and granting the Palestinians their inalienable rights for self-determination. Without that there is no path to peace in the region”.
Trump tweeted, confirming the deal:
Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal – the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2020
Netanyahu, announced the deal as “peace for peace” and “economy for economy.”
“We have invested in peace for many years and now peace will invest in us. It will lead to very large investments in the Israeli economy and that is very important.”
Bahrain is still supportive of Palestine and Bahrain’s state news agency, BNA, emphasised the importance of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.
However, the UAE, who normalised relations with Israel in August, agreed to do so on the condition that Israel suspended its annexation of part of the West Bank. Netanyahu later stated, “I have not given up the annexation yet, and I will bring annexation just as I have with this peace deal”. This has raised questions on whether commitment to the Palestinian cause is in name only for Arab countries pursuing normalisation with Israel.
What does ‘normalised relations’ mean?
A deal to normalise relations means Israel and the Israeli people will be recognised as a normal part of the Middle East by Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan (the four countries who have normalised deals with Israel).
Relations between Israel and the Arab world have been strained due to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, condemns normalising relations with Israel claiming that Israel is “committing more crimes in Palestine every day”. He has criticised the move by the UAE and Bahrain, saying:
“How could you reach out your hands to Israel? And then you want to give them bases in the region? All the severe consequences that would arise from this are on you.”
However, as well as steering towards peace, Arab countries hope normalisation would enhance their security and improve relations with the US.