Senior Israeli Delegation Travels to Bahrain for Peace Deal Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -
President Donald Trump (C.) with, from left, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Trump, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, during the Abraham Accords signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, last Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A senior Israeli delegation traveled Wednesday to Bahrain for talks on the drafting of the comprehensive peace treaty between the countries, Walla News reported.

The visit of the Israeli delegation to Manama was agreed upon during a phone call Tuesday between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman Bin Hamad Bin Issa Al-Khalifa.

The Israeli delegation is headed by the acting director-general of the prime minister’s office, Ronen Peretz, and the director-general of the Foreign Ministry, Alon Ushpiz. The delegation also includes officials from the national security council and other government ministries.

According to the report, the Israeli delegation will hold talks with senior Bahraini officials – and possibly even with the crown prince and the foreign minister.

There was no immediate acknowledgement of the flight from the Israeli government. Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Bahrain’s state-run media did not immediately acknowledge the flight. Officials on the island off the coast of Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The U.S. Embassy in Manama similarly did not respond to a request for comment.

The flight was made without ceremony, in sharp contrast to the first El Al flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates at the end of August. That plane carried U.S. and Israeli officials, including President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as media.

Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet and a British naval base, has a predominantly Shiite population ruled by a Sunni royal family. Arab Spring protests there in 2011 ended with authorities cracking down with the help of Saudi and Emirati forces.

Bahrain and the UAE signed normalization agreements Sept. 15 with Israel at the White House, part of a U.S. diplomatic push as Trump seeks re-election.

The UAE and Israel have moved quickly to explore commercial ties after their normalization deal. Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa previously had been quoted as saying he believed Arab countries should drop their boycott of Israel.

The Israeli delegation arrived in a direct flight over Saudi airspace and will depart back to Israel later Wednesday evening.

 

During the talks in Manama, Israeli and Bahraini officials will map the fields for cooperation that need to be part of the peace treaty. Israeli officials say they want to use the peace treaty with the UAE as a template for the treaty with Bahrain.