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Similarly, Bahrain's Foreign Minister Ahmed al-Khalifa, gave an unprecedented interview to the Times of Israel where he remarked: "Who did we offer peace to? The Peace Initiative? We offered it to a state named Israel… We do believe that Israel is a country that is here to stay, and we want better relations with it, and we want peace with it."
In the case of Bahrain, it appears to be more eager than the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to establish formal relations with Israel.
The national interests of Bahrain and the realisation that it alone could not maintain an appropriate security framework pushed the kingdom to turn to an outside ally for protection. That ally was found in Israel, a military superior to bolster regional security against the Iranian threat.
|The mellowing of ties between Israel and the Gulf monarchies is no longer a secret|
The fear of Iran and the road to Tel Aviv
Even though, Iran has toned down these claims, WikiLeaks cables revealed that the leaders of Bahrain continue to remain deeply suspicious of Iran. The cables further revealed that "Bahraini leaders sometimes speak to US officials of their genuine worries that Iranian missiles are sighted on targets such as the NAVCENT headquarters in downtown Manama and the royal palaces".
The last category of events occurs regularly and visibly despite the Arab League's call of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
|King Hamad's statement was seen to be controversial as it was the first time an Arab state explicitly showed 'concern' for Israel's security|
Another factor to why this statement further agitated the general Arab public is that the Gaza war had ended a few months prior.
The Bahraini delegation's visit to Israel caused significant controversy, Ebrahim Sharif, a former leader of the Waad political party, wrote on Twitter: "I consider this visit by the delegation a betrayal of the Palestinian people".
In May 2018, Iranian forces in Syria fired rockets at Israeli targets in the Golan Heights which prompted an Israeli retaliatory response. Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid al-Khalifa declared his open support to Israel remarking that, "It is the right of any country in the region, including Israel, to defend itself by destroying sources of danger."
|The ties between Bahrain and Israel have since the early 1990s moved gradually from covert to overt|
On July 18, 2019, the Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz posted on his Twitter account an image of himself with Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid al-Khalifa, celebrating yet another example of their nations growing diplomatic relations.
The ties between Bahrain and Israel have since the early 1990s moved gradually from covert to overt.
The public display of relations between the two nations should not be surprising, as it is just another planned logical step in increasingly diverse diplomatic associations between the two nations, paving the way to a full welcome of Israel in the region.
Netanyahu believes the dream of normalisation is in the horizon with some of Gulf states, even without a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
History will tell if that is going to materialise, but the image of Bahrain's Foreign Minister with Israel Katz, surely conveys it all.
Suzan Quitaz is a researcher specialising in counter terrorism and policing, politics and society in Israel, history of Zionism and anti-Semitism
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