2023 Portfolios: Al-Aqsa Flood Sparks Divide: People Stand with Palestine, Government with Israel

The people commend the Al-Aqsa flood operation, while the government condemns it
The people commend the Al-Aqsa flood operation, while the government condemns it

2024-02-12 - 1:49 م

Bahrain Mirror (2023 Portfolios): On October 7, 2023, a surprise operation against Israeli settlements was launched by the Palestinian resistance movement, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of military personnel and settlers, the complete destruction of the Gaza division in the occupying army, and the capture of dozens of soldiers and settlers.

In Bahrain, the Al-Aqsa Flood operation marked a significant rift between the regime and the majority of the Bahraini people, as the ruling regime aligned itself with its ally, the Israeli entity. On October 10, the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement criticizing the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, expressing "the kingdom's regret over some reports of civilians being kidnapped from their homes as hostages."

While the popular party completely sided with the Palestinian people, Shiite and Sunni religious scholars shared similar positions in terms of welcoming the operation launched by the Palestinian resistance, emphasizing the right of the Palestinian people to liberation. This sentiment was echoed by opposition political societies and very loyalist political groups.

Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas political bureau, strongly criticized the official stance of Bahrain and the UAE on the "Al-Aqsa Flood" operation.

"We did not expect anything more from the foreign minister of this country (Bahraini Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani) and the foreign minister of another Gulf country (Emirati Abdullah bin Zayed)," Haniyeh stated in a post  on the "X" platform. "We would not be surprised if these two countries also supported the occupation forces with equipment and weapons."

Bahrain witnessed demonstrations and solidarity vigils in which thousands of people from different sects and movements participated, Sunnis and Shiites alike, in areas across the country, ranging from Muharraq to Dar Kulaib and Shahrakan. This reflected their firm stance regarding Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Al-Aqsa. Throughout the days of aggression, they expressed their ultimate support for the Palestinian resistance in confronting the Zionist army and its killing machine.

For his part, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim issued a number of statements regarding the ongoing events and crimes, meeting with representatives from the "Hamas" and "Islamic Jihad" movements, and outlining the main lines of the Bahraini movement supporting Palestine: no respect for normalization or tolerance of its supporters' stance. He also reiterated the primary demand, which has become a collective demand in Bahrain: canceling normalization and expelling the Israeli ambassador from Bahrain.

After increasing popular pressure on the government, the Bahraini Parliament released a statement on November 2, 2023, claiming that the Israeli ambassador in Manama had left the country, and that a decision had been made to recall the Bahraini ambassador from Tel Aviv. In a similar context, the House of Representatives statement said, "Manama suspended economic relations with Tel Aviv." However, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs promptly responded, stating that the decision to "withdraw" the Israeli ambassador from Manama and "return" the Bahraini ambassador from Tel Aviv was not issued by the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs added in a statement that "relations remain stable" and that neither the Bahraini nor Israeli government had issued any notification or decision to recall their respective ambassadors.

On November 18, Bahrain hosted the annual Manama Dialogue conference, with the Crown Prince of Bahrain and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, delivering the keynote speech. He explicitly condemned the "Al-Aqsa Flood" operation carried out by the Islamic resistance "Hamas" on October 7, labeling it "barbaric".

Diverging stances emerged when the Bahraini authorities decided to join a maritime coalition against the Yemeni position taken by the Ansar Allah group in Sanaa, who attacked Israeli ships passing through the Bab Al-Mandab strait or ships carrying Israeli goods. Criticism against the government intensified after this decision, which was seen as a public alignment with Israel and its Western alliance led by the United States of America.

On December 20, 2023, prominent opposition figure Ibrahim Sharif was arrested by Bahraini authorities for criticizing Bahrain's participation in the maritime coalition, aimed at ensuring the arrival of naval shipments to Israel.

Sharif questioned on the "X" platform why "the unelected government of Bahrain positioned itself as a legitimate 'analyst' for the US coalition to lift the blockade imposed by Yemen on the ports of the usurping Zionist entity?"

Arabic Version