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After Netanyahu’s win, Bahrain pledges to ‘continue building’ Israel partnership

Diplomatic adviser to Gulf nation’s king says former premier’s election victory is ‘normal and always expected’; Netanyahu’s previous government inked normalization deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani in Jerusalem, November 18, 2020. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani in Jerusalem, November 18, 2020. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Bahrain said Saturday that it would continue to advance growing ties with Israel, as former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was expected to form a new government.

Following this past week’s election, Israel looks set to usher in its most right-wing government ever, including extreme-right elements.

A normalization agreement between Israel and Bahrain was signed under Netanyahu’s previous government in 2020.

According to the Reuters news agency, the diplomatic adviser to Bahrain’s king said Netanyahu’s win was “normal and always expected.”

“We have an agreement with Israel, part of the Abraham Accords, and we will stick to our agreement and we expect it to continue in the same line and continue building our partnership together,” said Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.

“We will want to make an example and succeed together and face all the threats,” he added.

Answering questions about plans for a unified security approach against Iran that includes Israel, the US and moderate Arab countries, he said: “We would like to make sure that we don’t have to reach a day that we will face some deterioration of security in the region of any sort.

“We do want to have the region come to terms between all the countries and agree against any belligerency from any side to any other.”

Israel and Bahrain normalized ties in 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, which also established diplomatic relations between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates. The accord paved the way for normalization with Morocco months later.

Bahrain and Israel have been working to strengthen bilateral ties. In February, Israel signed a tech and science cooperation deal with Bahrain, though details were scarce, followed by an agreement to cooperate on health and medical innovations, and medical research. In August, Israeli and Bahraini organizations inked an agreement for cooperation on fintech.

The two countries are believed to have maintained covert ties on security and defense over the years. They are reported to be in advanced talks for a free trade agreement.

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