Media, political opponents and critics scoffed at President Donald J. Trump when he and Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced bold ambitions for peace in the Middle East.
The media and critics were wrong again.
Israel and Bahrain on Sunday formally declared that they have made peace and established formal diplomatic relations, only the fourth such agreement between the Jewish state and an Arab country, and the second in weeks.
A joint US-Israeli delegation arrived in the tiny Gulf kingdom earlier Sunday to work out the last details of the bilateral agreements. El Al Flight 973 — a nod to Bahrain’s country code — landed in Manama after taking off from Ben Gurion Airport in the first-ever nonstop passenger flight from Israel to the Gulf kingdom.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, representing the administration of President Donald Trump — which helped broker the deal — briefly spoke about the opportunities for both countries that could now be realized.
“This is truly a remarkable accomplishment,” Mnuchin said. He mentioned the first-ever nonstop El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Manama that he had been on earlier on Sunday. “I look forward to this being the first of many commercial flights going back and forth between the countries,” he said.
On the plane, Mnuchin told reporters that the White House and Israel’s Foreign Ministry were working on normalization agreements with more Arab countries.
“We hope we will be able to announce that soon,” he said.
The formal agreement, signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, indicate the two countries agreed to “recognize and respect each other’s sovereignty and right to live in peace and security, promote lasting security and eschew the threat and use of force… and settle all disputes by agreed peaceful means.”