Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Bahraini counterpart Abdul Latif al-Zayani during the Israeli official’s first visit to Bahrain in September 2021. (Photo credit: BBC)
Israeli Foreign Ministry Director, General Alon Ushpiz, traveled to Bahrain on 1 June for the second bilateral meeting between the two countries.
The first bilateral steering committee meeting took place in occupied Jerusalem in August 2021, following the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and Bahrain in 2020 after the signing of the so-called Abraham Accords.
“Relations with Bahrain are at the core of Israel’s diplomatic activity. The roadmap for developing relations between the countries is built step by step in practical terms that bear fruit for the benefit of both peoples,” Ushpiz declared.
The Israeli delegation will hold official meetings with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani as well as the Undersecretary for Political Affairs Sheikh Abdullah al-Khalifa.
Israel and Bahrain have continued to deepen bilateral relations since the signing of the Warm Peace agreement on the sidelines of the Negev Summit, which took place on 27 March. The agreement outlined a 10-year roadmap of increased bilateral cooperation in economics, trade, and politics between the two countries.
The agreement, first brokered by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during his historic first visit to Bahrain in February, was met by local protests against normalization with Israel.
On 12 February, the Foreign Ministry of Bahrain announced it will allow the permanent stationing of an Israeli military officer in the country.
Days later, Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al-Zayani disclosed that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency has been activated in Bahrain as part of the security and intelligence cooperation with Tel Aviv.
The chief of staff of the Israeli occupation forces, General Aviv Kochavi, made his first official visit to Bahrain on 9 March to discuss issues relating to neighboring Iran.
Exiled Bahraini spiritual leader Ayatollah Isa Qassem denounced the trend of normalization during a televised address for International Quds Day 2022, where he stated that support for Palestine must not stop until the full eradication of “the Zionist enterprise and the toppling of this malignant normalization.”
Ayatollah Qassem issued a statement on 25 May on the upcoming general elections in November, warning that if elections do not serve as a platform to reflect the popular will of all Bahraini citizens, regardless of sect, then such elections “reinforce dictatorship under the guise of democracy,” and should be boycotted by the people.
Former Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim gave an interview earlier this year, where he confirmed that Bahraini authorities intentionally lock up political dissidents under false pretexts.