Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu says he will visit Bahrain soon

(L to R) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani give a press conference after their trilateral meeting in Jerusalem on November 18, 2020. (Photo by Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

RIYADH (RAHNUMA): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he would visit Bahrain “soon” at the invitation of the Gulf state’s Crown Prince Salman Al-Khalifa.

Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel in a deal brokered by the United States that marked a strategic Middle East alignment against Iran. The shift has enraged the Palestinians who have demanded statehood before any such regional rapprochement.

“We are both excited to bring the fruits of peace to our people and countries in such a short time. That’s why he (Al-Khalifa) invited me to come soon for a formal visit in Bahrain and I will do this happily,” Netanyahu said in a statement about a phone call he held with the crown prince.

A first Bahraini delegation visited Israel last Wednesday.

Since September, the Trump administration has brokered agreements with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan toward normalizing their relations with Israel. An Israeli delegation traveled to Sudan on Monday.

Although White House officials have said more countries are considering normalizing ties with Israel, further developments appear unlikely before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20 and establishes his administration’s policy on Iran.

Biden has said he would rejoin the nuclear accord that world powers signed with Iran if it first resumed strict compliance with the deal, and would work with allies to strengthen its terms.

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