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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Israel opens embassy in Arab state

West Jerusalem has hung a shingle in Bahrain three years after establishing diplomatic ties with the kingdom

Israel has established another diplomatic toehold in the Persian Gulf region, opening a new embassy in Bahrain three years after normalizing relations with the small Arab kingdom.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen attended a ceremony on Monday to inaugurate the country’s embassy in Manama. He and his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif Al Zayani, agreed to work together on boosting trade, travel, and investment between their countries.

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The embassy’s opening “signifies our shared commitment to security and prosperity for all the peoples of our region,” Al Zayani said at the ceremony. Israel and Bahrain established diplomatic relations in September 2020 under the US-brokered Abraham Accords, which were championed by then-President Donald Trump.

Bahrain, home base of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, followed the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel. Sudan and Morocco later joined the Abraham Accords.

Trade between Israel and Bahrain, which doubled last year, is set to expand further as the two countries deepen their cooperation, Cohen said. “This is an exciting moment for me, which indicates the warming relations between the countries,” he said. “I will continue to act so that we will be able to establish mezuzahs in more Israeli embassies around the world.”

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Cohen led an Israeli delegation that included representatives of more than 30 companies and arrived in Bahrain on Sunday. Prior to the embassy ceremony, he met on Monday morning with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa“I thanked him for his leadership in leading the Abraham Accords, which changed the face of the Middle East and contributed to the stability and prosperity of the peoples of the region,” the Israeli minister said.

However, Washington has been unable to persuade Bahrain’s larger neighbor, Saudi Arabia, to normalize relations with West Jerusalem. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan acknowledged last month that a deal with Riyadh was far from being achieved.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly condemned escalating clashes between Israel and the Palestinians, and the desert kingdom has reportedly demanded US security guarantees and help developing its nuclear power industry in exchange for joining the Abraham Accords.