Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Many important issues arose from the television interview given by Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa to Israeli Channel 13, including the minister's acceptance to speak to the correspondent of an Israeli channel.
The ruling regime, which has been cracking down on the country's political opposition since crushing the protests in 2011, wants its foreign minister to engage with the Israelis describing this as the only way to settle disputes.
He wants to talk directly to the Israeli public, said the FM in an interview, the first of its kind by a Gulf official with Israel's Channel 13. "Talking to people who you disagree with is always a step that will ease tensions," he added.
We have the right to be surprised, since the same minister stayed up until dawn to lie and attack a statement issued by the French president. French President Emmanuel Macron had called on Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to hold a comprehensive political dialogue when they met in Paris on April 30, 2019.
Regardless of the intention behind the French president's call, why does the Bahraini foreign minister deplore the idea of dialogue with the opposition if he believes that direct dialogue is the only way to ease tensions? Or are there no tensions in Bahrain?
For more than eight years, the country has been suffering from a major political crisis. More than 4,000 political prisoners are behind bars. All opposition parties have been dissolved. And yet the ruling family has seen no importance in dialogue to end the crisis and the subsequent economic crises.
The Minister, who did not stop at hosting the so-called deal of the century conference, went as far as to paint the Palestinians in the interview as the ones obstructing the peace process by boycotting the conference attended by Israel who's supposedly interested in peace.
"The Bahraini government has tried to convince the Palestinians not to boycott the conference [...] It is always wrong to miss an opportunity to achieve peace," the minister said. "This was an opportunity. We wanted to see them here, but they chose not to come," he highlighted.
What did the Palestinians miss? Did they miss the chance of receiving 25 billion dollars? If the Minister believes that everything in Bahrain is up for sale in return for the survival of his family's rule, it does not mean that others should believe in this notion too.
It does not mean that Palestinians should believe, today, that the United States is an intermediary playing a neutral role in settling the conflict, as the Minister says in his interview, while criticizing Palestinians: "It would not be a good idea to avoid the role of the United States in the peace process."
The United States' role was as clear as day to Palestinians when it moved its embassy to "Jerusalem" deeming it the capital of Israel, also stopping its support for UNRWA, and declaring the Syrian Golan Heights as Israeli territory.
The Minister has no other position when it comes to the US, which is one of the political sponsors of his regime. The television interview revealed this clearly. The FM, whose country is encouraging military strikes against Iran, believes that "America was very wise in its self restraint" following Iran's downing of a US spy drone.