Bahraini minister: Normalizing ties with Israel protects our interests

Bahrain's interior minister says normalizing ties with Israel strengthens the country's strategic partnership with the United States.

Elad Benari ,


Bahrain's interior minister said on Monday that normalizing ties with Israel protects Bahrain's interests and strengthens its strategic partnership with the United States.

"It is not an abandonment of the Palestinian cause ... it is to strengthen Bahrainis' security and their economic stability," minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

"Iran has chosen to behave in a dominating way in several forms and has become a constant danger that harms our internal security," Khalifa continued, adding that it was wise to forestall dangers.

Bahrain on Friday said it would normalize relations with Israel, following the path of the UAE who declared it would do the same a month ago, in moves forged partly through shared fears of Iran.

The White House announced on Friday that US President Donald Trump, King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa of Bahrain, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Bahrain thus became the second Gulf state to normalize ties with Israel, after the UAE and Israel announced they were normalizing relations on August 13.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, is ruled by the Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa family. The government often accuses Iran, ruled by Shiite Muslim leadership, of seeking to subvert Bahrain.

On Monday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke with his Bahraini counterpart, Lieutenant-General Abdulla bin Hassan Al-Nuaimi.

The two discussed the importance of the Abraham Accords and of the growing normalization with Israel to regional stability in the Middle East, and talked about their mutual expectation that a close partnership be established between the two defense ministries, which will contribute to both countries’ capabilities, and to maintaining regional security.