Israeli Jerusalem Post: King Hamad Told Rabbi that Bahrain Seeks Expanding Struggle against Hezbollah in Arab World
2016-03-05 - 4:30 p
Bahrain Mirror: The Israeli Jerusalem Post reported that the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, recommended that the recent designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization by the Gulf Cooperation Council be taken up by the Arab League as well.
The Israeli newspaper described King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa as one of the most ardent proponents for labeling the Lebanese group, that fought Israel for 34 years, as a terrorist organization.
The newspaper further highlighted that Bahrain itself became the first Arab country to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in March 2013 following unrest in the country among its majority Shiite population.
Rabbi Marc Schneier, a prominent interfaith activist and president of the Foundation of Ethnic Understanding based in New York, met with Khalifa in the royal palace in Manama "in order to discuss concerns in the Middle East".
During Schneier's meeting with Al Khalifa, the king noted that there were one or two countries among the GCC who had wanted to distinguish between Hezbollah's military wing and its political wing, although this was rejected.
A compromise over the strength of the language was reached to accommodate different opinions in the GCC. According to Schneier, who has met with Al Khalifa on two other occasions, the king told him he was advocating for the struggle against Hezbollah to be expanded as widely as possible in the Arab world, stating that the Arab League and its 22 members should take up this mantle and label the group as terrorists.
Schneier added that Khalifa has also said during their meeting that in his opinion it is just a matter of time before some Arab countries begin opening diplomatic ties with Israel.
Al Khalifa also stated, according to the Israeli newspaper, that the balance of power in the Middle East between moderates and extremists depended on Israel and that the Jewish state had the power to defend not only itself but the voices of moderation and the moderate Arab states in the region.
Schneier himself noted that the shared enmity held by the Gulf states and Israel against Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors should be seized as an opportunity to create an alliance with countries that have formerly been hostile to the Jewish state.
"Iran is not only an obstacle but an opportunity for peace between Israel and Arab nations," Schneier told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday after his meeting on Wednesday with the Bahraini king.
"Both Israel and the Gulf states share a common enemy, so it's the makings of a natural alliance, in terms of joining forces against the evil of terrorism, religious extremism and fanaticism."
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