'Israel is extending its hand in peace to the people of Bahrain'

Joint Israeli-American delegation arrives in Manama to formally establish diplomatic relations between Israel and Bahrain.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Delegation land in Bahrain
Delegation land in Bahrain
Matty Stern / US Embassy in Jerusalem

A joint delegation of Israeli and American officials arrived in Manama, Bahrain Sunday afternoon to begin work on formally establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and Bahrain, in keeping with the Abraham Accords deal signed by the two countries.

At a ceremony at the airport shortly after the delegation landed, Bahrain’s foreign minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani welcomed the US and Israeli officials, and praised the Trump administration’s efforts to secure peace in the Middle East.

“Welcome. We are beginning the implementation of the peace accords signed in Washington. This path is the most effective way for achieving peace in the Middle East.”

“We are doing this with optimism that this peace will lead to security and stability in the region, and that it will allow young people in the region to realize their ambitions. We are laying the foundations for relations between us and for cooperation with the US. I hope that this visit is a step on the path to a stable and improving Middle East in which all countries are able to resolve their conflicts through dialogue.”

Israeli National Security Council chief Meir Ben-Shabbat said that Israel “hopes to build deep ties not only between governments, but also between peoples.”

“Israel is extending its hand in peace to the people of Bahrain and its leadership. We are changing the region. We hope to host you in Israel soon.”

US Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin said that the Trump administration is currently working on additional normalization deals between Israel and other Arab states.

“We hope that we will be able to make an announcement about them in the near future.”

The delegation departed from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport Sunday morning, becoming the first ever commercial flight between Israel and Bahrain.

Ben-Shabbat, who is leading the Israeli delegation, said before takeoff:

"I am excited and proud to head the Israeli delegation that is leaving today for talks in Bahrain. We are leaving for the talks in order to translate the peace declaration that was signed on the White House lawn by US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahraini Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, on behalf of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, into practical plans and concrete agreements.

"Today we will hold discussions in professional teams and working groups on a long series of issues: Finance and investments, trade and economy, tourism, aviation, communications, culture, science, technology, agriculture and others.

"We are excited and together we will pray that G-d might lead us to peace and that we might reach our destination for good life and peace."

"We're here in the land of Abraham to take the next step in the Abraham Accords," US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, adding that "Abraham gave birth to 2 great nations" that were "rivals, but they reconciled some 3500 years ago. Today, we’re bringing the Bible back to life. The children of Isaac and Ishmael are reconciling once again."

"It's another historic day among many that the Trump administration has brought to this region."

Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin thanked PM Netanyahu and the king of Bahrain “for their bold leadership, and for President Trump bringing this all together for this incredible day in this momentous time with the Abraham Accords and the peace treaty.”

US envoy Avi Berkowitz added in Hebrew that he was "very excited to be in Israel to travel on El Al with the Israeli delegation and to return to Israel on Tuesday with the Emirati delegation."

After the official text is signed at a ceremony scheduled for Sunday evening, Israel and Bahrain will be free to open embassies in each other's countries.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates became the third and fourth Arab nations to sign a peace treaty with Israel in a ceremony at the White House in Washington DC earlier this month.