UAE Normalizes Relations with Israel, Will Bahrain Follow Suit?

2020-08-17 - 8:52 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday (August 13, 2020) reaching a historic agreement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel in which they normalize diplomatic ties.

It is true that the UAE is the first Gulf state to normalize ties with Israel; however, this was not surprising. After Mohammed bin Zayed became the actual ruler of the UAE (following the illness of his brother, Khalifa bin Zayed), the UAE became closer to Israel. It started to continuously welcome delegations over the past few years and also allowed the opening of a representative of Israel at the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi in 2015. 

Since 2011, with the Saudi and Emirati forces entering Bahrain to crush pro-democracy protests, Abu Dhabi has had a major influence in the formulation of Bahrain's official policy, which led to intensifying Bahrain's normalization steps with Israel, leading to Bahrain hosting the economic part of the Deal of the Century (Bahrain Workshop) at the end of 2019.

Bahrainis have the right to ask whether Bahrain will follow the footsteps of UAE and announce normalization with Israel, especially after Trump said at his White House press conference today that "similar deals are being discussed with other countries in the region."

The following is a sequence of the most important normalization steps taken by Bahrain with Israel:


July: Bahrain sends an official invitation to Israeli jewelry traders Orna and Isaac Levy, owners of YVEL Company, to visit the country.

October: Bahrain's Deputy Foreign Minister Hamad Al-Amar announces the possibility of an alliance and normalization of relations with Israel.

November: Video reports of Israeli goods entering Bahrain with "Made in Israel" labels and being sold in local markets.

December: Bahrain's Ambassador to France Nasser Al-Balushi visits the Holocaust Memorial in Paris.


February: The Israeli army reveals that it has received intelligence from Bahrain on Iranian and Palestinian organizations.

March: The Israeli newspaper Maariv says that Bruce Kashdan is the engineer of secret relations between Israel and Bahrain.

April: Israeli public radio reveals Bahraini artists' visit to Haifa to participate in an art exhibition.

September: Bahrain's Foreign Minister meets a delegation from the American Jewish Committee in New York.

October: Israeli newspaper Haaretz announces that Bahrain has begun a conceptual change in its approach to the relationship with Israel.


October: "This is Bahrain" campaign signs an understanding memorandum with the Israeli "MEMRI" institute to whitewash Bahrain's image.

October: Sky News Channel announces that Bahrain and the Gulf are negotiating to purchase Israeli Iron Dome Missile System.


February: Israel's Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara unveils that an Israeli hospital provided treatment to a female member of the ruling family.

March: Bahraini King meets Rabbi Marc Schneier in Manama, tells him opening diplomatic relations with Israel is a matter of time.

September: Bahrain's former Ambassador to France Haya Al Khalifa joins Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in a conference in New York on the Iranian threat.

September: Bahrain's Foreign Minister meets members of the American Jewish Committee in New York.

September: Bahrain's Foreign Minister pays tribute to 9th Israeli President Shimon Peres, praising him as a man of war and peace.

December: Bahrain Watch reveals that the Bahraini authorities are using an Israeli product to hack activists' phones.

December: Extremist Jewish delegation visits Bahrain to meet representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and dances at Bab Al-Bahrain "We will build the temple".


April: The Times of Israel Newspaper publishes an article and photos of an Israeli who has recently visited Bahrain.

May: FIFA Congress convenes in Bahrain with an official participation of an Israeli delegation.

October: The Times of Israel Newspaper says that Bahrain allowed its citizens to visit Israel.

October: Wa'ad Society prevented from organizing a seminar in support of Palestine.

October: Bahraini writer Abdullah Al-Junaid appears in an interview on the Israeli Channel 10.

November: Israeli racer Roy Nissany allowed to take part in a race held on Bahrain's International Circuit.

December: An official Bahraini delegation from "This is Bahrain" visits Tel Aviv two days after Trump announced Jerusalem a capital for Israel.


February: Israeli Minister of Communications Ayoob Kara says that Mubarak Al Khalifa, a Bahraini ruling family member, visited Tel Aviv and published a photo with him.

March: White House receives Israel and Gulf States, including Bahrain, to discuss the issue of Gaza.

May: Bahraini bicycle team participates in a race in Israel.

May: Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa supports Israel in its raids on Syria, and Israel's Communications Minister describes the statement as "historic support for Israel".

May: The Associated Press says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a secret meeting with the ambassadors of the UAE and Bahrain in Washington.

May: US Assistant Secretary of State for National Security Affairs Victoria Coates praises Bahrain's recognition of "Israel right to defend itself"

May: Bahrain's Ambassador to Washington Abdullah bin Rashid Al Khalifa interviewed by the Israeli newspaper "Jerusalem Post", defends his defense of Israeli strikes against Syria.

June: Bahrain receives a high-level delegation from the Israeli Foreign Ministry to participate in the meetings of the UN World Heritage Committee (UNESCO).

October: Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot meets his Bahraini counterpart Dhiab Saqr Al-Nuaimi and Saudi Fayyad Hamad Al-Ruwaili during the Counter Violent Extremist Organization conference in Washington.

November: Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa praises Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and says he has "a clear position on the importance of regional stability and the role of Saudi Arabia".

November: Israeli Economy Minister Eli Cohen says he received an official invitation from Bahrain to participate in a conference on modern technology to be held during the first quarter of 2019 in Manama.


April: A delegation from the Israeli Foreign Ministry participates in a conference on entrepreneurship organized by Tamkeen in Manama.

June: Bahrain hosts the economic part of the Deal of the Century, Israeli media broadcast live from Manama, and Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa makes an exclusive interview with Israeli Channel 13.

June: Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni posts photos of herself on Instagram at a pastry shop in Manama and near Bab Al-Bahrain, saying she was in Manama to participate in a conference on the Middle East.

July: Al-Osra supermarket withdraws potatoes produced in Israeli settlements, says they were sold by mistake.

July: Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa meets his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz in Washington and U.S. Special Envoy for the Peace Process, Jason Greenblatt, posts a photo of them on Twitter.

October: Israeli Foreign Ministry Counterterrorism Chief Dana Benvenisti arrives in Bahrain for a security conference on Iran.

December: Former Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar meets the King of Bahrain in Manama and participates in a normalization conference entitled "Interfaith Dialogue".


January: Bahraini ambassador Abdullah bin Rashid Al Khalifa meets his Emirati and Omani counterparts in the ceremony held by the US President Donald Trump in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce the Deal of the Century.

August: Bahrain congratulates UAE on signing a historic agreement to normalize relations with Israel.

Arabic Version