Israel and the Gulf state of Bahrain have reached a landmark deal to fully normalise their relations, US President Donald Trump has announced.
“The second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days,” he tweeted.
For decades, most Arab states have boycotted Israel, insisting they would only establish ties after the Palestinian dispute was settled.But last month the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to normalise its relationship with Israel. There had been much speculation that Bahrain might follow suit.
Mr Trump, who presented his Middle East peace plan in January aimed at resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, helped broker both accords.
What have the two sides and Mr Trump said?
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “excited” that “another peace agreement” had been reached with another Arab country on Friday. “This is a new era of peace. Peace for peace. Economy for economy. We have invested in peace for many years and now peace will invest in us,” he said.
This is a diplomatic achievement for President Trump and for his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who largely brokered the agreements with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. On returning from a recent trip to the Middle East, Mr Kushner told journalists the Trump administration had “unleashed an energy positivity” in the region that was “quite overwhelming.”
White House bullet points suggest how Mr Trump will be framing his international dealmaker credentials for his election campaign: as a harbinger of Middle East peace and prosperity, with more Arab and Muslim countries likely coming on board to normalise relations with Israel.
This will allow Mr Trump to deflect attention from the “Deal of the Century” that he failed to achieve: Israeli-Palestinian peace. That project was widely criticised as heavily slanted in Israel’s favour and rejected by the Palestinians.
Focusing outward is the Trump administration’s way of telling the Palestinians they can no longer dictate the region’s relations with Israel.
“Another historic breakthrough today!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter, adding: “Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal.”
The president also posted on Twitter a copy of a joint statement between the three leaders – Mr Trump, Mr Netanyahu and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa.
“This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East” that will “increase stability, security, and prosperity in the region”, the statement reads.