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Agencies
September 13, 2020

Iran, Turkey term Bahrain-Israel deal shameful

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A
Agencies
September 13, 2020

TEHRAN: Iran and Turkey are pushing back after the second Arab country in less than a month made a historic decision to normalize ties with Israel.

On Friday, the island-nation of Bahrain announced it would become the fourth Arab country to sign a deal with the Jewish state. The move comes after the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalization in August. Iran’s foreign ministry blasted the diplomatic overture on Saturday.

“The rulers of Bahrain will from now on be partners to the crimes of the Zionist regime as a constant threat to the security of the region and the world of Islam,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, according to the Times of Israel.

The ministry called the deal “shameful” and added that its “result will undoubtedly be growing anger and the lasting hatred of the oppressed people of Palestine, Muslims, and the free nations of the world.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had previously accused the UAE of “treason” after the Gulf nation struck the normalization deal, dubbed the Abraham Accord, with Israel. The United States helped facilitate both deals, and Brian Hook, the outgoing US special envoy to Iran, called the accord Tehran’s “worst nightmare."

Turkey also condemned Bahrain for joining the UAE in pushing for peaceful relations between the two countries. Turkey’s foreign ministry said the move is damaging to the Palestinians, according to the Daily Sabah, a pro-Turkish government media outlet.

“We are concerned and strongly condemn Bahrain's undertaking to establish diplomatic relations with Israel,” it said in a statement. “It will further encourage Israel to continue illegitimate practices toward Palestine and its efforts to make the occupation of Palestinian lands permanent.”

The groundbreaking agreement between Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al Khalifa and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was first announced by President Trump. The move represents another foreign policy win for the president as the U.S. approaches the November presidential election.

“This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East,” the US, Bahrain, and Israel said in a joint statement. “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 prosperity in the region.”

After the UAE deal, there was hope that other Arab states such as Bahrain might follow suit. Other countries that could eventually decide to normalize relations include Oman, Morocco, and even Saudi Arabia. Egypt signed a peace deal in 1979 and was followed by Jordan in 1994.

Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian official accused the United States of pressurising Arab countries into normalising relations with Israel.

"Washington exploits its political and economic power to force the Arab countries to normalize ties with Israel," said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, in a press statement.

"The U.S. government is using all means of incitement, intimidation and pressure" to achieve the goal, she added.

Ashwawi's comments referred to U.S. President Donald Trump's declaration that the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain agreed to normalize their relations with Israel.

The U.S.-sponsored normalization agreements between Israel and the Arab countries have outraged the Palestinians who consider the deals a stab in their back and at the expense of the Palestinian cause.

"The American efforts aim to approve the Israeli plan of annexing what remains of the Palestinian lands, which is a flagrant violation of international legitimacy and international resolutions," Ashrawi noted.

"(Israeli) normalisation with Arab countries will not bring security and stability to the region. On the contrary, it will bring division and instability," she concluded.