ISTANBUL: Turkey and Iran have condemned the deal between Israel and Bahrain to normalise their relations.
Turkey described the US-brokered deal as a “fresh blow” to the Palestinian cause. For its part, Iran accused Bahrain of stirring instability in the region.
US President Donald Trump on Friday announced the “peace deal” between Israel and Bahrain, which became the second Arab country to normalise relations with its former rival in less than a month.
Turkey’s foreign ministry on Friday night said Ankara was “concerned” by the move and “strongly condemned” the deal.
“The step will be a fresh blow to efforts to defend the Palestinian cause and will further embolden Israel to continue its illegal practices towards Palestine and its attempts to make the occupation of Palestinian territories permanent,” the ministry said in a statement.
It said the move was contrary to the commitments made by countries under the Arab Peace Initiative — which calls for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied after 1967 — and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
UAE sends congratulations to Manama and Tel Aviv
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a strong advocate of Palestinian rights and has frequently criticised Israeli policies in the West Bank.
After last month’s deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, Erdogan had warned Turkey could suspend diplomatic relations with the Gulf state in response.
In a statement, Iran’s foreign ministry said that it would hold the governments of Bahrain and its allies responsible for any insecurity caused by Israel in the Gulf region.
“Bahrain’s shameful move sacrifices the Palestinian cause and decades of struggle ... at the expense of the US election,” Iranian TV quoted the statement as saying.
Bahrainis opposed to the agreement vented their frustration on social media, using the hashtags “Bahrainis against normalisation” and “normalisation is betrayal”.
“A black day in the history of Bahrain,” wrote former lawmaker Ali Alaswad.
Bahrain relies heavily on the United States, which stations its Fifth Fleet in the tiny but strategic Gulf archipelago.
The Palestinians, who see Arab support as crucial to their limited power in resisting Israeli occupation, also condemned the Israel-Bahrain deal.
The agreement was “a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people,” Ahmad Majdalani, social affairs minister in the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, said.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said it was an “aggression” that dealt “serious prejudice” to the Palestinian cause.
Until recently, Israel had been able to strike just two peace accords with Arab countries — Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 — and Trump is hoping the latest deals will give him badly needed momentum going into the November 3 presidential election.
The UAE sent congratulations to Bahrain and Israel. “Today marks another significant and historic achievement which will contribute enormously to the stability and prosperity of the region,” said Hend al-Otaiba, director of strategic communications at the foreign ministry.
Trump said more Arab nations could open their doors to Israel. “I am very hopeful that there will be more to follow,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2020