AUSTRALIAN Foreign Minister Marise Payne has hailed as “historic” the announcement that Bahrain is establishing full diplomatic relations with Israel, making it the second Gulf country to do so in less than a month.
A joint statement released by the White House on Friday said Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Salman al-Khalifa spoke earlier in the day with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “and agreed to the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain”.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced they were normalising relations on August 13, and a signing ceremony for their accord is being held at the White House on September 15. Bahrain will now join that ceremony, with its foreign minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and Netanyahu signing “a historic Declaration of Peace”, the joint statement said.
BREAKING: President @realDonaldTrump has brokered a deal to establish full diplomatic relations between Bahrain and Israel!
"There had been two peace agreements with Israel in the last 72 years.
This is now the second peace agreement that we've announced in the last month." pic.twitter.com/TmJTNFiyK4
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 11, 2020
Stating, “Australia welcomes the historic announcement,” Payne said, “It is a courageous step forward for peace and security in the Middle East.”
Netanyahu hailed the agreement as part of a “new era of peace” and predicted more accords would follow.
The Bahraini king’s senior adviser Khalid al-Khalifa said in a statement that the normalisation deal “sends a positive and encouraging message to the people of Israel, that a just and comprehensive peace with the Palestinian people is the best path and the true interest for their future and the future of the peoples of the region”.
— Amb. Ron Dermer (@AmbDermer) September 11, 2020
Federal Liberal MP and former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma said the announcement was “another welcome victory for pragmatism and positive-sum thinking in the Middle East”.
“Warmer relations between Israel and the Arab world are good for Israel, good for the Arab world, and ultimately good for the Palestinian national cause,” he said.
Liberal senator James Paterson described it as “another positive development for Israel, its neighbours and the wider Middle East”.
Congratulating the people of Israel and Bahrain, federal Labor MP Josh Burns said, “The Middle East and the world will be more stable when more countries choose to accept and make peace with Israel.
“May there be more peace and diplomacy that follows this historic announcement.”
Labor welcomes the normalisation of relations between Bahrain & Israel, in addition to the UAE and Israel, in the hope it will bring new opportunities for stability & peace in the region, & meaningful progress to achieve a just and durable two-state solution.
— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) September 12, 2020
Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler stated, “This truly historic event reflects the continued realisation of the Zionist vision.
“Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jewish people have longed for the time when the Jewish state, in the historic and cultural land of Israel, is at peace with its neighbours. We are seeing this come to pass.”
He added, “We hope that the momentum we are now seeing will result in further peace agreements signed with Israel’s neighbours in the near future.”
Noting normalisation between Israel and Bahrain will “open up a trove of untapped commercial, tourism and scientific opportunities between the two states”, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council national chairman Mark Leibler said, “This is a watershed, historic move, coming so quickly on the heels of the agreement announced between Israel and the United Arab Emirates last month.
Thank you Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayan for our first conversation.
I look forward to deepening and strengthening the relations between our two countries. Together we will work towards peace and stability in the Middle East. https://t.co/czSdDQ8V1t
— גבי אשכנזי – Gabi Ashkenazi (@Gabi_Ashkenazi) September 12, 2020
“This agreement, together with the UAE one, will contribute greatly to a more peaceful Middle East and enhance the security of both Israel and its Gulf state partners.”
In a statement, the Zionist Council of NSW (ZCNSW) called on the Palestinian leadership “not to miss this historic opportunity and follow the bold leadership of the Arab community in normalising ties and making peace with Israel”.
“We commend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, together with President Trump, who was instrumental in brokering both peace accords, as well as the leadership of UAE and Bahrain, who have shown true courage and leadership, in taking these historic steps,” the ZCNSW said.
“As we get set to welcome Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, we hope this is truly a new beginning of hope and a better future for Israel and all the people of the Middle East.”
Full community reaction in next week’s AJN.