What’s behind Bahraini delegation’s visit to Tel Aviv?

Alwaght – Over the past two years, the relations of the reactionary Arab regimes with Israeli regime have undergone some drastic changes, and diplomatic normalization process with Tel Aviv is going even faster than ever. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain are the forerunners of this course. Some media have predicted that in next year some of these courtiers might open their embassies in Tel Aviv.

When last week the American President Donald Trump recognized al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israeli regime, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain made some show comments in protest. The Reuters has reported that Riyadh is trying to give a financial aid of $100 million to the Palestinian Authority in an effort to persuade its leader Mahmoud Abbas to approve of Trump’s al-Quds stance, which will pave the way for the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds.

In the meantime, a Bahraini delegation, dubbed “This is Bahrain”, has visited the occupied territories to meet with the Israeli officials. The Israeli Channel 2 has reported that the official Bahraini delegations received official permission of the state’s King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa to visit Tel Aviv. This is the first time that an official Bahraini delegation is openly visiting Tel Aviv. The Bahraini regime has announced that the main duty of this group was to adorn the face of the state of Bahrain in other countries.

Israeli-Bahraini relations

In past few years, Tel Aviv and Manama have moved towards publicizing their ties. The news reports show now the Manama leaders have gotten rid of the fear they had in the early 2000s of their relations with the Israeli regime being publicized. Khaled bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, the foreign minister of Bahrain in 2000 called for the establishment of Middle East Association, an inter-government diplomatic body, with the participation of the Arab counties and also the Israeli regime. In 2005, the Deputy Prime Minister of Bahrain Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa declared the Manama intention to lift the ban on the Israeli-made products. Moreover, in 2009, the Bahraini king called on the Arab officials to address the Arab public through the Israeli media outlets in a bid to facilitate the efforts for what he called the Middle East peace. The Bahraini monarch went farther by writing a piece in the Washington Post newspaper blasting the Arab leaders for declining to set up diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv. This was not the end of the story of the Bahraini regime’s will to establish relations with the Israeli regime. The whistleblower website WikiLeaks in 2011 released cables demonstrating the frequent emphases by the Bahraini FM to meet the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz in a report revealed that the Bahraini FM had close relations with Tzipi Livni, when she was the FM of the Israeli regime between 2006 and 2009. The Maariv newspaper was another Israeli media to make revelations on the two sides’ relations. The outlet in a report noted that the regime of Bahrain took help from the Israeli spying service Mossad to suppress the 2011 uprising of the Bahraini people against Al Khalifa ruling family.

Real purpose of the Bahraini delegation’s Tel Aviv visit

The Bahraini monarch in September expressed interest in seeing the free visit of the Bahraini citizens to the occupied territories despite the absence of official diplomatic relations between Manama and Tel Aviv and also the opposition of a majority of the Arabs of the region. These comments make it clear that the small Arab kingdom, which is under the unquestioned dominance of Saudi Arabia and takes steps in foreign policy in tune with orders from Riyadh, is working towards open relations with the Israeli regime in accordance with the Saudi Arabian agenda.

The Bahraini delegation’s visit comes three days after the American leader announced the recognition of al-Quds as the Israeli capital, a decision that caused massive uproar across the region. So, the normalization should not be seen the only reason behind this trip. Coincidence of such a trip and Trump’s decision, beside being an effort to normalize diplomatically, can come with the aim of offering legitimacy to recognition of al-Quds as Israeli regime’s capital.

At the times that even the US allies in Europe and elsewhere are bashing Trump announcement, the scholars of the al-Azhar University of Egypt, a regional ally of Washington, have demanded a popular boycott on the Israeli and American goods, Bahrain I regime sends its delegation to occupied Palestine to legitimize Trump’s decision and tacitly announce the Arab regime’s approval of the move.

All in all, it can be noted that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are preparing the ground for the Trump’s move on al-Aqsa to take effect, although it is clear that  struggling for legalizing such a measure goes in vain. However, Riyadh and Manama as the regional American policy implementers are devoid of other choices