Bahrain consulted with Saudi Arabia before deciding to have a diplomatic relationship with Israel
These announcements from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will transform the current indirect relations between the Saudis and Israel to formal direct relations.14 September 2020 12:47
Raja Bahrain Syekh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah. (gulfbusiness.com)
His prediction has become reality. Bahrain followed the step has been taken by the United of Arab Emirates to have formal relations with Israel.
"I trust that the Kingdom of Bahrain consulted with the Saudis on this decision out of respect for them," said Rabbi Marc Schneier, a confidant of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah from Bahrain, in an exclusive interview with Faisal Assegaf from Albalad.co via WhatsApp message yesterday.
In this dramatic development, Bahrain made its decision just 29 days aways from the UAE, which announced their agreement to have a normalization with Israel on August 13. Remarkably, Israel tomorrow will sign the peace traty with those two Arab states in the same day.
Do you believe Bahrain agreed to have a formal relations with Israel after getting green light from Saudi Arabia?
I trust that the Kingdom of Bahrain consulted with the Saudis on this decision out of respect for them.
If so, how could you believe about that?
The Bahrain government has been very respectful of the Saudi position throughout this process.
Do you think Bahrain's decision as the alternative for Saudi to have a formal relations with Israel?
No, I think they are completely separate. I believe that it’s not a question of “if” but rather of “when,” regarding Saudi Arabia’s announcement of normalization of relations with Israel.
Do you think Saudi pressured Bahrain to have a peace agreement with Israel?
No, I believe Bahrain made this decision. Throughout my relationship with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah we have had many conversations about Israel over the years and he has shared his paramount interest in, and authentic desire to see, the establishment of relations between his Kingdom and Israel.
He has always recognized that Israel and Bahrain have more in common than differences. He holds Israel in high regard in terms of its technological prowess, healthcare innovation and military strength. He has always seen establishing relations as a win-win situation for both sides.
Moreover, this recognition shows the King’s leadership in the region and his strong vision for the future not only of the Gulf, but for the entire Middle East.
If Bahrain moved forward after getting Saudi approval, what commitment they got from Saudi?
Per the above, I don’t think this is connected to any commitment from Saudi Arabia but I do believe that we’re starting to see some warming on the Saudi side. For example, Saudi Arabia has agreed to let airplanes going to and from Israel to the UAE use its airspace. That’s an important step.
According to you, will Saudi establish a diplomatic relationship with Israel by the end of this year with one condition: Bin Salman was sworn as the king?
The Saudis recognize the important role that Israel plays in the region. Just a couple of years ago, Prince Khalid bin Salman told me that the Kingdom knows that Israel is an integral part of their achieving their 2030 economic plan. That is a major statement and really shows the warming of the ties.
For Saudi leadership, when it comes to the establishment of relations with Israel, there are conflicting views along generational lines. These announcements from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will transform the current indirect relations between the Saudis and Israel to formal direct relations.