Bahrain, Israel to Establish Diplomatic Relations Today
Bahrain and Israel will officially establish diplomatic relations today with the signing of a joint communique in Manama, Bahrain just over a month after the historic signing of the Abraham Accords in Washington, DC. In the Manama meetings, the two sides will create working groups to further develop agreement on bilateral issues such as embassies, visas and cooperation on a wide range of diplomatic and economic issues. The Israeli delegation is being joined by a number of US officials on the first-ever direct flight between Tel Aviv and Manama, provided by Israeli airline El Al. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz head the US delegation. Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz head the Israeli delegation. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, ratified the Abraham Accords late last week. The Joint List, which mainly represents Israel’s Arab population, was the sole Knesset faction to vote against the accords. Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh said that Israel’s normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were based on “twisted logic.” He insisted that the Palestinian issue, rather than Iran, should be the region’s main concern.