Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Bahrain's Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, boasted at the Warsaw conference that the Palestinian cause was no longer his country's priority. "We grew up talking about the Israel-Palestine issue as the most important issue," he said. "But then, at a later stage, we saw a bigger challenge that came from the Islamic Republic." Thi is a sign of the inauguration of a new era based on ‘forgiveness' and forgetfulness. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was doing the exact opposite. He visited a museum adjacent to the conference hall on the Jewish Holocaust later that day and placed a wreath on a memorial honoring members of the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw in 1943.
The Israeli delegation feared that the move might provoke some kind of sensitivity. "It passed with no problems," says Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren, a reporter for The Times of Israel and a member of the Israeli delegation accompanying Netanyahu on his visit to the Polish capital. While the Arab delegates strived to establish total oblivion of the historic cause of the Palestinian people, who are still struggling under occupation, as a way into the future, the Israeli delegation was racing to restore distant history with its facts and myths, no matter what the sensitivities were. These are two significant positions that reflect the thoughts of both Arab leaders and Israeli leaders.
Raphael Ahren, who is the same reporter who managed to make the Bahraini FM say that his country would "eventually establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish state," went on to say that the three-day trip to Poland had its share of both pretty peculiar and potentially pivotal moments. He continues describing the scene of meeting the Bahraini FM, saying that he shook his hand and said: "My whole country is holding its breath for the moment when you'll establish formal relations with us," after delegates had gathered in a conference room to pose for a "family photo." He kept on shaking my hand, he added, but didn't respond at first. "Is it going to happen?" he pressed. "Eventually," he replied, now moving toward the exit. "Will it happen soon?" he called after him, but he was not interested in answering.
The Israeli journalist describes Bahrain as a country many Israelis think is ready to openly speak about ties with Israel.
It is no secret that the Gulf states have no love lost for Iran, he adds, and that some are warming relations with Israel. "But having three ministers say some of this relatively openly is unprecedented."
Netanyahu himself later gushed to the press about a taboo being broken, saying the Arab officials were acutely aware that it is being noticed that they publicly interact with him, but no longer care that much.
He further quotes Netanyahu saying the dinner was a "historic turning point" in Israeli-Arab relations.
The Israeli journalist also mentions another incident involving the Yemeni FM Khaled Alyemani. "When it was the Israeli leader's turn to address the conference, his microphone didn't work, so Alyemani gracefully let him use his. Another example of the creeping normalization between Israel and the Arab world?"
The fact is, apart from the normalization we saw on live broadcasts for the first time on satellite TV channels, none of the other subjects on the conference's agenda were successful. It was a failed conference in short or perhaps a conference on one thing only, normalization. Despite the hype raised by both Arab and Israeli officials about Iran's activities in the region, Raphael Ahren informs us transparently that nothing was tackled on this issue. "No joint statement was released at the end of the summit - mostly due to the fact that the US and some of the attending European nations do not see eye to eye vis-à-vis Iran - and the text that American and Polish co-organizers released did not actually refer to the Islamic Republic."
Tehran was mentioned frequently by delegates as a source of instability in the region, but the summit did not reach any concrete conclusions, he adds.