This week, in what is being called a historic first, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett undertakes a two-day official visit to Bahrain, one of the seven Gulf countries whose relations with Israel have been sour on account of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
- The visit signals the growing ties that are developing between Israel and the Gulf countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates).
- It comes a couple of years after another the UAE — a key ally of the US — normalised relations with Israel in 2020 after signing the ‘Abraham Accords’.
- Abraham Accords deal, sponsored by the US, was part of the country’s regional security agenda to counter Iran.
- As part of this security agenda — signed during the Trump administration — the US prioritised improving relations between Israel and the Gulf countries, something that the latter nations have been wary of because of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
- As part of the Abraham Accords, Israel agreed to stop further annexation of Palestinian territory.
- The accords were signed by the leaders of Bahrain, Israel and the UAE in September 2020. Bennett visited the UAE in December 2021, becoming the first leader from Israel to visit the federation of seven emirates.