Bahrain-Israel: The power structure in the Middle East is changing

The Arab charm offensive on Israel drives the Palestinians into the arms of Iran.

After the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain also agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel on Saturday night.

While US President Donald Trump spoke of a “historic breakthrough” and celebrated his mediation work, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah condemned Bahrain’s willingness to open up to Israel. It is a “betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause”.

In addition, Bahrain legitimizes “the heinous crimes of the Israeli occupying power against our Palestinian people”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to suspend the planned annexation of territories in the occupied West Bank in exchange for the agreement, but overall everything is currently going in favor of Israel.

In addition to Jordan and Egypt, four Arab countries – the UAE and Bahrain – already have diplomatic relations with Israel, which should drive the Palestinians even more into the arms of Iran. Tehran mainly supports the radical Islamic Hamas in the Gaza Strip, its boss, Ismail Haniyeh, visited the Lebanese Hezbollah at the beginning of the week. A historic step – after all, the first meeting between Hezbollah and Hamas in 30 years. Haniyeh and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah emphasized the “importance of a stable and capable axis of resistance against Israel”.

Search for allies

All of this contradicts Trump’s view that the Palestinians would be ready to talk again if more Arab states followed the example of the UAE and Bahrain. The Arab states should no longer be concerned with the fate of the Palestinians, but rather with an ally in the rivalry with Iran. More than half of the Bahraini population is Shiite, the kingdom accuses Tehran of inciting the population to revolt.

Bahrain’s close ally is Saudi Arabia, which put down a Shiite uprising with tanks during the Arab Spring. And even if official diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem are still a long way off, Saudi Arabia has been trying for some time to win Israel over as a partner against Iran.

The winners of the current rapprochement are the 35 members of the Bahraini Jewish community who “could not have imagined such a step in their lifetime”. Armin Arbeiter


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