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Bahrain, Israel establish relations as Arab League approves UAE-Israel ties

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President Donald Trump announced Friday that Bahrain and Israel agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as the 25-member Arab League approved the UAE-Israel relations by rejecting a move to denounce the ties established on August 13.

Bahrain and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic relations, President Trump announced on Friday, hailing the deal as "a historic breakthrough".

In a joint statement, the United States, Bahrain and Israel said the agreement was reached after Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Friday.

"This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East," the statement reads.

Bahrain will join Israel and the UAE for a signing ceremony at the White House on September 15, Trump told reporters on Friday. "It's unthinkable that this could happen and so fast," he said about the Israel-Bahrain deal.

The Bahrain-Israel came two days after the 25-member Arab League failed to pass a resolution on Wednesday that would have condemned the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for its normalization agreement with Israel.

At a video conference of foreign ministers, Palestine presented a resolution that condemned the UAE-Israel normalization deal. However, the Arab countries voted down the draft meaning that the Arab League approves the UAE-Israel relations.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki lashed out at the US during the virtual meeting, accusing Washington of resorting to "blackmail" to get more Arab states to normalize ties with Israel.

Malki also demanded to know why an emergency meeting of the Arab League's Council at the ministerial level was objected to after the deal was announced last month - considering the Israel-UAE deal was an "earthquake that undermines joint Arab action".

Palestinians have said normalization would weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position that only an Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and acceptance of Palestinian statehood would allow for normal relations with the Arab countries.

'Treacherous stab'

Palestinian leaders have criticized Arab states for normalizing ties with Israel while it continues its military occupation of Palestinian lands, saying such deals threaten to cement the status quo.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization said the Bahrain-Israel deal was "another treacherous stab to [the] Palestinian cause".

Al Jazeera's Nida Ibrahim, reporting from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said Palestinians have unequivocally condemned Friday's announcement.

Ibrahim said Al Jazeera spoke to a Palestinian official close to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas who said peace between Arab countries and Israel "will not happen without the Palestinian issue being resolved".

She said the official also said they did not believe Israel's deals with Bahrain and the UAE would have happened "without regional backing".

'Arab consensus'

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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