Bahrain’s monarch has said that his kingdom’s normalisation deal with Israel should lead to greater efforts towards ending the Palestinian-Israel conflict through a two-state solution.
Addressing the 75th United Nations General Assembly via video on Thursday, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa called for “intensified efforts to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in accordance with the two-state solution … leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative”.
King Hamad also said ties with Israel are a “refined message” for peace.
“The declaration to establish relations with Israel is a refined message emphasising that our hands are outstretched for fair and comprehensive peace,” he said.
Hamad’s remarks came a day after an Israeli official delegation made the first visit by Israeli diplomats to Bahrain since both countries signed the normalisation deal.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed normalisation agreements with Israel on September 15 at the White House, part of a US diplomatic push as Donald Trump seeks re-election.
The Palestinian leadership, however, has condemned the agreements as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.
During the past few weeks and following the UAE and Bahrain deals with Israel, several Israeli and US top officials including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US envoy to Israel David Friedman, confirmed that the Israeli annexation plan had only been postponed, not cancelled.
Hamad also praised US efforts to achieve “peace and stability in the region” by brokering the agreements with Israel, saying it sent “a civilised message … as the best guarantee for the future of all peoples of the region”.
In Bahrain, civil society groups have criticised the normalisation of relations with Israel, saying that recognition should come only after Palestinians obtain an independent state.