Israel's first official delegation to Bahrain

This visit will be the first of many since the agreement signed last week to normalise relations between Israel, the Emirates and Bahrain

AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA  -   The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu

The world is still on the move after the Abraham Agreements and new scenarios are emerging in the Arabian Peninsula. The Israelis are now travelling calmly through the Gulf kingdoms and, although they have not yet normalised relations with all the countries, they can now make official visits without triggering regional tensions.

The first Israeli delegation has arrived in Bahrain for talks after the signing of the Abraham Agreements last week. This is a historic signing as, after 30 years of blockade, two Arab countries have taken the step of normalising their relations with the Jewish state.

A spokesman for the Bahraini government explained that the reason for the visit will be to "discuss different areas of cooperation between the two countries", without giving further details. The principles of economic, technological and health development cooperation appeared in the agreements as key points for initiating relations.

The visit took place one day after the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, held a telephone conversation with the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa. These contacts are a novelty and will become increasingly common in the agenda of both countries.

Netanyahu stated after the conversation that: "both had reiterated the principles of the 'Abraham Agreements', in addition to discussing how the deal could be extended with new content". These statements leave many doors open, particularly with respect to the Middle East conflict, which, for the time being, does not appear in any of the twelve points of the agreement.

The Jewish Prime Minister stressed that the main objective is "to turn this general peace into an economic, technological and tourist peace. There will be news very soon about the practical steps to be taken," the leader concluded, leaving hundreds of questions unanswered.

Despite Palestine, the agreements have the approval of the international community

The governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Israel signed a historic agreement for the Middle East at the White House on 15 September, with the support and mediation of the US government.

The pact was rejected by the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian prime minister, Mohammad Shtayé, who argued that these agreements are "painful and do not change reality in any way". Mr Shtayé stressed that the Abraham agreements were "a blow to the Arab consensus". 

Estados Unidos y Bahréin
AFP - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani on his arrival in the capital, Manama, in August 2020

And so it is, as the Arab League refuses to make a joint statement condemning or celebrating this pact. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, more Arab states are beginning to plan the normalisation of relations with Israel. 

Rumours are that the next countries could be Oman and Sudan, which already have contact and economic agreements with Israel in a private capacity, as the journalist Henrique Cymerman stated last week at a conference with the international press. The international community's support for this normalisation of relations is proving overwhelming, to the surprise of the Palestinians.

In Amman, a quadripartite ministerial meeting was held on the Palestinian question, with the participation of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Germany, France and a representative of the European Union.

The ministerial meeting focused on exchanging views on the current state of the Middle East Peace Process and its implications, as well as supporting a comprehensive and just political settlement of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that "the recent peace agreements are very important for achieving stability in the region" while stating that they were determined to support this stability. To leave no doubt about his speech, he also pointed out that "Israel's suspension of the annexation of Palestinian land must end". Le Drian considered that the peace agreements between Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Israel will achieve regional peace in the Middle East.

For his part, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas welcomed the agreements and said that "they can be used to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict". The Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, also supported the pact, stressing that "comprehensive peace is a strategic option for all". 

The Egyptian foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, regarded this normalisation as an important step, stressing the importance of achieving a comprehensive solution that meets the demands of the Palestinian people. "The negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel must be resumed, and the solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict lies in the establishment of a Palestinian state", lawyer Shoukry. 

During this ministerial meeting, the different ways of supporting the Middle East peace process from outside have been discussed. Many countries outside the peninsula are interested in the stability of the region, especially with the increasing influence of Iran and Turkey in the Middle East, countries in military, economic and diplomatic discord with Israel and the Arab League.