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Israel, Bahrain Agree to Normalize Relations

The move comes less than a month after Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to sign a peace treaty and establish normalized ties, with Abu Dhabi becoming the third Arab nation in the Middle East to do so.

President Donald Trump has issued a joint statement by the United States, Israel and Bahrain announcing Tel Aviv and Manama's intention to establish full diplomatic relations.

"Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal - the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!" Trump wrote in a tweet accompanying the statement.

As per the statement, Israel and Bahrain agreed to normalize ties following a telephone conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa and Donald Trump.

"King Hamad and Prime Minister Netanyahu express their deep appreciation to President Trump for his dedication to peace in the region, his focus on shared challenges, and the pragmetic and unique approach he has taken to bringing their nations together," the statement adds.

A Bahraini delegation is expected to join Israeli and UAE officials in Washington, DC on Tuesday for the formal signing of normalization treaties between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, and Tel Aviv and Manama.

Netanyahu Confirms Deal

Netanyahu confirmed that Israel would be signing the treaty later Friday, saying the agreement opens a "new era of peace" in relations.

"For many long years, we invested and peace, and now peace will invest in us, will bring about truly major investments in Israel's economy - and that is very important," Netanyahu said.

The Bahrain News Agency said in a statement that King Hamad had 'reiterated' to Trump and Netanyahu the need to reach 'a fair and lasting peace' between Israel and Palestine on the basis of a two-state solution.

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas have condemned the agreement, with the former calling it a "betrayal" and the latter describing it as another "treacherous stab" against the Palestinian cause.

The UAE's foreign ministry offered its congratulations to both Israel and Bahrain for the agreement, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Hend Al Otaiba tweeting that the "significant and historic achievement" will "contribute enormously to the stability and prosperity of the region."

Egyptian President Abdelfattah Elsisi similarly praised the deal, calling it an "important step toward establishing stability and peace in the Middle East."

Speaking to reporters later Friday, President Trump said the Palestinians and even Iran could join the agreement. "You're going to have the Palestinians in a very good position, they want to come, they more than want to come in, because all of their friends are in," Trump said. He added that something "very positive" could happen as far as Iran was concerned.

The announcement comes less than a month after the August 13 agreement between Israel and the UAE to establish normalized relations, with that deal also brokered by the United States.

Bahrain, situated about 200 km to the northwest of the westernmost point of the UAE in the Persian Gulf, becomes the fourth Arab nation after the UAE, Jordan and Egypt to establish relations with Israel since the Jewish State's creation in 1948.

CC0 / / Persian Gulf map
Israel, Bahrain Agree to Normalize Relations - Sputnik International
Persian Gulf map

Trump told reporters Thursday that "another country" may join the UAE and Israel at the September 15 peace deal signing, adding that "countries are lining up that want to go into it."

Earlier this week, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir signaled that Riyadh would not move to normalize relations with Tel Aviv without a "just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue," including the establishment of a Palestinian state "within the borders of 1967," as outlined in the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002.

Palestinian leaders denounced the Israel-UAE deal, accusing Abu Dhabi of 'stabbing them in the back' and betraying their interests. Israel's regional rival Iran also blasted the agreement, suggesting that the Emiratis had been "disgraced forever for this treachery against the Islamic World, Arab nations and Palestine." Prime Minister Netanyahu dismissed any criticism, however, saying that the deal with the UAE shows that Arab countries won't be "held hostage by the Palestinians."

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