US President Donald Trump announced on Friday a “peace deal” between Israel and Bahrain, which becomes the second Arab country to settle with its former foe in a month.
“Another historic breakthrough today as two of our great friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal — the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days” Trump tweeted.
A joint US-Israel-Bahrain statement said there would be “full diplomatic relations”.
Bahrain has agreed to formalize the deal with Israel at a ceremony to be held on Sept 15 at the White House, where the United Arab Emirates also will formalize its own thaw with Israel announced in mid-August.
The statement also says that Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Trump talked earlier before announcing the breakthrough.
US President Trump celebrated at the White House, calling it “a truly historic day” and “so interesting” that he was able to make the announcement on the anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks against the U.S.
“When I took office the Middle East was in a state of absolute chaos,” said Trump, who faces a difficult re-election in seven weeks.
In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also hailed the agreement.
“Citizens of Israel, I am moved to be able to tell you that this evening, we are reaching another peace agreement with another Arab country, Bahrain. The agreement under consideration adds to the historic peace with the United Arab Emirates,” Netanyahu said through a statement in Hebrew-language.
And in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, a senior official said the deal would boost regional “security, stability, prosperity.”
Until now, Israel has been successful to strike only two similar peace accords with Arab countries — Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 — and Trump is hoping that the diplomatic successes will give him badly needed momentum going into the Nov 3 election.
The Republican businessman has styled himself to be the most pro-Israeli US president in history.
He has taken a string of actions highly beneficial to Israel, from recognizing disputed Jerusalem to be the country’s capital to eliminating a world accord that had been meant to finish Iran’s isolation in return for verified controls to ensure against the militarization of its nuclear industry.
Simultaneously, Trump has pushed to wind down the United States’ own military footprint in the region after decades of bloody entanglements. The successful Israel-UAE normalization deal prompted a right-wing Norwegian member of parliament to nominate Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The announcement of UAE regarding the normalization of relations earlier in the month with Israel broke with years of Arab League policy on the Middle East conflict but has seen pushback from the Palestinians and Iran terming it as a betrayal.
The crushing sanctions and exerting diplomatic pressure on Israel’s arch-rival Iran a priority of the US administration, predicted however that there would be a “very positive” development for the standoff with Tehran.
“I can see a lot of good things happening with respect to the Palestinians,” he added, without giving details.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s president said he appreciates the “important step” of Israel and Bahrain establishing diplomatic relations.
The recent peace agreement can help establish “stability and peace in the Middle East, in a way that achieves a just and permanent settlement of the Palestinian issue,” President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Twitter.