The Kingdom of Bahrain appoints its first ambassador to Israel, pleasing other Arab monarchies and vilifying the Palestinians. Nevertheless, they still want to be on the Palestinians’ good side as well. How long can they keep it up?
Abraham Accords. Those familiar with the term know that ever since its announcement back in 2020, it’s been one of the most talked about, if not the most divisive subject ever to be raised within the Arab world. To many, even the name picked to mark the normalization of relations between Israel and Arab countries seems hypocritical, after all neither of them still cannot agree on which one of Abraham’s children, Issac or Ishmael, was due to be sacrificed. Still, a shared enmity in Islamic Republic of Iran prompted UAE and others to tear down the mask of hypocrisy and openly confess to their connections with their so to speak old “nemesis”.
The whole story with the accords started off right with the Trump administration. For more than half a century, U.S. policy with regards to the Middle-East has been that of a cost and benefit. Different administrations consistently tried to keep the equilibrium of power untouched, never allowing one country to surpass the other by a large margin. With Donald Trump, irrationality found its way into the White House and the greater good of the country was more often than not sacrificed for the good of individuals. That is why when he assumed control he tasked his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a well-known ultra-orthodox Jew, to draft a peace plan that would solely benefit Israel. Thanks to the propaganda machine and a common enemy found in Iran, Kushner pushed forward with the plan in coordination with Arab monarchies.
Though it all started with UAE, it seems that the puppet-master from behind the scene, Saudi Arabia and Muhammad bin Salman in particular, is now prompting other lesser players to engage in more proactive relations with Israel, chief among them Bahrain which still has maintained its reputation compared to Saudi Arabia and UAE, both of whom lost theirs because of the war in Yemen. That is why the announcement came from Bahrain this week with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al Zayani appointing the country’s first ambassador to Israel. The man picked for the job, Khaled Yousif al-Jalahama, previously served as deputy chief of mission at Bahrain’s embassy to the U.S between 2009 till 2013. Israel’s foreign minister, Gabriel Ashkenazi, of course immediately approved of al-Jalahama, not willing to vet the person in question thoroughly, fearful of postponing the opening of Bahraini embassy which is due to be opened in a few weeks. Palestinians of course weren’t pleased with these actions and different factions such as Hamas each voiced their displeasure openly.
Bahrain’s actions of course weren’t uncoordinated. In line with what was agreed in U.S., earlier this month UAE appointed its first ambassador to the State of Israel. Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin himself played host to UAE emissary, Muhammad Mahmoud al Khaja, receiving his credentials. With Bahrain doing the same, it would only be a matter of time for other Arab nations to send their own representatives to Israel. Despite fully devoting themselves to normalization, it appears that Bahrain however still seeks to appease Palestinians through words such as the ones spoken by its minister during the ministerial meeting held with the Japanese this week. Unfortunately these hollow words serve as nothing more than salt on the wound left by Arab nations on Palestine and will only worsen the perception of a nation felt betrayed by its brethren in the word. Still, Prophet Joseph too was betrayed and we all saw how it eventually panned out. There’s always light at the end of darkness and Palestine might come out of this game stronger than before.