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Knesset to vote on normalization agreement with Bahrain

Peace treaty with UAE will be brought to ministers for final ratification during weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday

The head of the Israeli delegation, National Security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat (L), and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, sign the Israel-Bahrain accord formalizing diplomatic relations, in the Bahraini capital Manama, on October 18, 2020. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (C) looks on. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool/AFP)
The head of the Israeli delegation, National Security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat (L), and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, sign the Israel-Bahrain accord formalizing diplomatic relations, in the Bahraini capital Manama, on October 18, 2020. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (C) looks on. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool/AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will bring the newly signed normalization agreement with Bahrain for Knesset approval, his office said Thursday.

He will also present the peace treaty with the United Arab Emirates for final ratification at Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

At a ceremony this week in Manama, Israeli and Bahraini officials signed eight bilateral agreements, including a “Joint Communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic, peaceful, and friendly relations.”

The Joint Communiqué — the centerpiece of the budding Israeli-Bahraini friendship — was not legally a treaty, but rather a “framework agreement,” Israeli officials said, stressing, however, that with the signing Israel and Bahrain formally established diplomatic relations.

However, as the agreements contain several obligations on Israel’s part, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit was expected to require they be officially ratified.

In this September 15, 2020 file photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, US President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan pose for a photo on the Blue Room Balcony after signing the Abraham Accords during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Last week, the Knesset approved Israel’s normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates with an overwhelming majority, after nearly nine hours of an at times stormy debate, during which more than 100 ministers and MKs spoke.

After Knesset approval, the so-called Abraham Accords are required to return to ministers, who will vote on them once more. Once ratified, the agreement enters into force for Israel, but full diplomatic relations between the two countries will not be established until the UAE ratifies the agreement as well.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are respectively the third and fourth Arab nations to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, following the peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.

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