Israeli Military Affairs Minister Benny Gantz (right) and Bahraini Minister of Defense Affairs Abdullah Bin Hassan Al Nuaimi shake hands after signing a memorandum of understanding at the Bahraini defense headquarters, on 3 February, 2022. (Photo Credit: Ariel Hermoni/Israel Military Affairs Ministry)
On 12 February, the Foreign Ministry of Bahrain confirmed that the government had given the green light for an Israeli naval officer to be posted to the country as part of an international alliance to “secure freedom of navigation in territorial waters, protect international trade, and confront acts of piracy and terrorism in the region.”
In a statement released through a state-controlled Bahrain news agency, the ministry said the coalition is made up of 34 countries, including the United States and Israel. However, it did not give details on the role of the Israeli naval officer.
On 11 February, Israeli media outlets reported that the officer, who is expected to arrive in the Gulf nation in a few weeks’ time, will be in charge of handling communication between the Bahrain’s armed forces and the US Navy 5th fleet.
The deal was reportedly signed during the recent visit to Manama by Benny Gantz, the minister in charge of the military affairs of Israel, and the commander of US 5th fleet, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper.
During his visit, Gantz signed a military deal with the ruler of Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, to establish a framework for the cooperation of the armed forces of the two states.
The agreement covers several areas that include intelligence sharing, military-to-military training, and cooperation between defense industries.
Speaking after signing the agreement, Gantz said “deepening cooperation will help defend against the common enemy of Israel, the United States and Bahrain.”
Bahrain is one of four Arab countries that normalized ties with the Israeli occupation in 2020 under the so-called Abraham Accords brokered by the administration of then US president Donald Trump.
The rulers of the four countries claim that normalization with Israeli was taken in the interest of their citizens.
However, the citizens of those countries have widely rejected normalization, and massive demonstrations have taken place in protest against the normalization deals.
The citizens say any form of normalization with Israel is a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.