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US President Trump brokers breakthrough between Israel and second Arab nation in less than a month
Washington, September 12, 2020
Less than a month after he brokered a historic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for full normalisation of relations between the two countries, United States President Donald Trump on Friday brokered a deal to establish full diplomatic relations between Israel and another Arab nation -- Bahrain.
As part of the deal, Israel and Bahrain have committed to begin the exchange of embassies and ambassadors, start direct flights between their countries, and launch cooperation initiatives across a broad range of sectors, the White House said.
The deal came after Trump hosted a telephone call between King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday.
Following the call, the three sides issued a joint statement:
“President Donald J. Trump, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel today spoke and agreed to the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain.
"This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East. 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 the prosperity in the region.
"The United States expresses its gratitude to the Kingdom of Bahrain for hosting the historic Peace to Prosperity workshop in Manama on June 25, 2019, to advance the cause of peace, dignity, and economic opportunity for the Palestinian people. The parties will continue their efforts in this regard to achieve a just, comprehensive, and enduring resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to enable the Palestinian people to realize their full potential. Israel affirmed that as set forth in the Vision for Peace, all Muslims who come in peace may visit and pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem’s other holy sites will remain open for peaceful worshippers of all faiths.
"King Hamad and Prime Minister Netanyahu express their deep appreciation to President Trump for his dedication to peace in the region, his focus on shared challenges, and the pragmatic and unique approach he has taken to bringing their nations together.
"The parties commend the Unite d Arab Emirates and Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed for his leadership on August 13, 2020, in announcing full diplomatic relations with Israel.
"The Kingdom of Bahrain has also accepted President Trump’s invitation to join Israel and the United Arab Emirates at the historic signing ceremony on September 15, 2020, at the White House where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani of Bahrain will be signing a historic Declaration of Peace.”
The move by the UAE and Bahrain make them the first Arab nations to normalize relations with Israel in more than 25 years.
The news of the deal was announced by Trump on Twitter. "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!" he said.
He also put out a copy of the joint statement on Twitter.
Later, Trump spoke to reporters in the White House about the phone call and the deal.
"There’s no more powerful response to the hatred that spawned 9/11 than the agreement that we’re about to tell you. You will hear something today that’s, I think, very, very important for not only the Middle East but for the world," he said, referring to the terror attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.
"In the spirit of peace and cooperation, both leaders also agreed that Bahrain will fully normalize its diplomatic relations with Israel. They will exchange embassies and ambassadors, begin direct flights between their countries, and launch cooperation initiatives across a broad range of sectors, including health, business, technology, education, security, and agriculture. This is a truly historic day," he said.
"There have been two peace agreements with Israel in the last 72 years. This is now the second peace agreement that we have announced in the last month, and I am very hopeful that there will be more to follow. I can tell you there’s tremendous enthusiasm on behalf of other countries to also join. And we think, ultimately, you’ll have most countries join, and you’re going to have the Palestinians in a very good position. They want to come in — they’re going to want to come in because all of their friends are in. But we have tremendous enthusiasm for coming into the deal," he said.
"So things are happening in the Middle East that nobody thought was even possible to think about, and that’s what’s going on right now. Bahrain has agreed to join Israel and the United Arab Emirates for — and, by the way, I want to thank Mohammed, who’s a great leader, a truly great leader — at the White House on Tuesday. So they’ll be here on Tuesday for the signing of the Abraham Accords. The significance of the signing will be elevated from an already historic breakthrough to one representing a previously unthinkable regional transformation. And that’s exactly what it is. It’s unthinkable that this could happen, and so fast," he said.
"On this occasion, I want to thank the leaders of Israel and Bahrain for their vision and courage to forge this historic agreement. Their leadership is proving that the future can be filled with hope and does not need to be predetermined by conflicts of the past. You know all about the conflicts of the past; they’re very legendary. There was a lot of problems going on, but we’ve been able to work things out to a level that nobody thought possible. This is really something very special — very, very special.
"As more countries normalize relations with Israel — which will happen quite quickly, we believe — the region will become more and more stable, secure, and prosperous.
"In the meantime, we’re pulling most of our soldiers out. So we’re doing it the opposite way. They were doing it with nothing but fighting and blood all over the place. The sand was loaded up with blood. And now you’re going to see that a lot of that sand is going to be loaded up with peace.
"The United States will continue to stand with the people of the region and work with them, and build a brighter and much more hopeful future," he added.