Monday, March 1, 2021

A stab in the back? Mixed reactions to Trump’s Israel-Bahrain deal

It's a historic breakthrough for the White House and there was cautiously positive reaction from some Arab states although not everyone in the Middle East is delighted.

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Bahrain is now the latest Arab nation to agree to normalise relations with Israel, joining three others: Egypt, Jordan and the UAE.

The latest accord is the result of a diplomatic initiative by US President Donald Trump.

The US, Bahrain and Israel reached agreement after Trump spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain last Friday.

It’s another historic breakthrough for the White House and there was cautiously positive reaction from some Arab states, according to Al Jazeera.

Both Jordan and Egypt said the agreement should bring stability and peace to the Middle East, though Jordan added that Israel should now end its illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

But not everyone in the Middle East is delighted.

The Palestinian Authority described Bahrain’s move as “a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people”, according to AFP.

Iran declared that Bahrain is now complicit in the “crimes” of Israel. A foreign ministry spokesman said the treaty will be “a constant threat to the security of the region and the world of Islam”.

The Turkish foreign ministry condemned the agreement. “It will further encourage Israel to continue illegitimate practices towards Palestine and its efforts to make the occupation of Palestinian lands permanent,” the ministry statement said.

US reactions were mixed. House speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to compliment Trump but without much grace.

She said during Friday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Situation Room”, she hopes the deal will help the region.

But she was unable to resist making her own stab in Trump’s back by saying, ”Good for him for having a distraction on a day when the numbers of people who are affected and the numbers of people who are dying from this virus only increased.”

CBS news reports that Bahrain has accepted Trump’s invitation to join Israel and the UAE for a ceremony at the White House on Sept 15, when they will sign a “historic declaration of peace”.

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