Israeli delegation heads to Bahrain to begin formal diplomatic, commercial relations

Israeli delegation heads to Bahrain to begin formal diplomatic, commercial relations
Senior Israeli delegates are due to meet with Bahraini and American officials to sign diplomatic and commercial deals with the gulf state.
2 min read
18 October, 2020
The move to normalise with Israel has been slammed by Palestinians [Getty]
An Israeli delegation is scheduled to land in Manama on Sunday on the first commercial flight between Tel Aviv and the Gulf state.

The delegation is expected to begin diplomatic and commercial relations between the two states following on from the controversial formalising of ties in September.

A spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Ofir Gendelman, confirmed the delegation will be headed by the chief of the National Security Authority Meir Ben Shabat.

"Memoranda of understanding will be signed on various bilateral issues with the aim pouring practical content into relations between the two countries and strengthening cooperation between them," Gendelman said.

"Members of the Israeli delegation will hold talks with senior Bahraini and US officials in the following areas: aviation, transportation, technology, industry, trade, money, tourism, agriculture, diplomatic relations, health and culture," he added.

The Israeli delegation will see the acting director general of the Israeli prime minister’s office and officials from national security, finance, economy and innovation ministries hold talks with Bahraini and American officials in Manama.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US Middle East Envoy Avi Berkowitz are among the delegates involved.

The plane carrying the officials - EL AI 973 - is the first such commercial aircraft to land in Manama and will travel through Saudi airspace.

On August 31, the first Israeli plane landed in the Emirati capital carrying an American-Israeli delegation headed by US President Donald Trump’s son in law and senior White House advisor, Jared Kushner.

After the visit to Bahrain, the US delegation is set to depart to Abu Dhabi, where Secretary Mnuchin will participate in the "first-ever Abraham Accords Business Summit", the department said.

Read also: Majority of Arabs reject normalisation with Israel: Poll

The agreement includes a pledge by both Israel and Bahrain to not take hostile actions against each other, as well as to act to prevent hostile actions by a third party.

Bahrain became the fourth Arab state to normalise relations with Israel in September, after the UAE, Egypt and Jordan. The deal was slammed by Palestinians as a betrayal to their cause.

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