Gaza protests against Bahrain delegation in Jerusalem [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Bahrain Delegation’s Visit to Israel: Why Now and For What Purpose?

At a time when the world is reacting to President Trump’s shocking announcement on Jerusalem and many around the world are calling for boycott of Israel a Bahraini delegation elected to visit the country. This goes against the will of the all Arab and Muslim nations. It also confirms that what was once occurring behind closed doors is no longer being hidden and concealed. There is no longer anything to be ashamed of, even in the most critical moments in the history of the Islamic and Arab nation.

The Palestinian’s have been left with few options, both on a popular level and on the level of the current movements and leaderships. Trump hammered the last nail in the so-called peace process coffin.

The visit of a Bahraini delegation to Israel and Jerusalem unfortunately raises a number of questions and criticisms at the same time: Why is this visit happening now, at this particular time? What is the purpose behind it? Is it possible that Bahrain took this step of its own free will?

Why is this visit happening now, at this particular time?

In terms of timing, I see this visit as confirmation of statements made by the Israeli Minister of Intelligence, Yisrael Katz, that the Trump administration reached prior understandings with several Arab leaders to contain the Palestinian reaction. It also confirms the statement made by an American official that America is satisfied with the restrained Arab reaction. The Bahraini delegation is acting as the proxy directed by the Arab governments to support this direction.

The visit came at this particular time as a quick and deliberate response to the Islamic and Arab uprising against Trump’s decision and to serve the purpose of passing the decision and prove the Arab restraint regarding Trump’s decision, it is a stab in the heart of the popular uprising and confirmation of Bahrain’s, or rather, the its Gulf supporters’, support for Israel. It also emphasises a departure from the nation’s constants and sanctities regarding Jerusalem.

What is the real purpose behind this visit?

Although Bahrain is not a country of influence in the Gulf and its Arab surroundings and therefore is not influential on an international level (as Bahrain lives on foreign aid, specifically from Saudi Arabia, its main and historic supporter, in addition to the United Arab Emirates), this public visit from a Bahraini delegation, at this particular time when the issue of Jerusalem has been revived in the hearts of the Muslim and Arab masses, represents a pre-emptive attempt to dismantle any possible isolation imposed by the people towards the occupation.

Is it possible that Bahrain has taken this step of its own free will?

Based on all the above, there is an important point to emphasise, i.e. that Bahrain cannot sent a delegation to make such a visit of its absolute own will. I believe that Bahrain initiated this visit with the support of its allies (Saudi Arabia, UAE, and others), to confirm its openness to Israel and the Arab governments moving forward on the path of not only normalisation, but also alliance and complete recognition, even if at the expense of the strategic, historical, and religious constants.

In my opinion, this is shortsighted and a serious strategic mistake that the Arab and Muslim nations will pay dearly for, unless the people commit to their constants and the governments respond to them and rectify their major strategic errors.

The state of some Arab governments at the present stage is an actually similar to Henry Kissinger’s statement in his interview with London’s The Economist magazine, in November 1982, when he said that the recognition of the state of Israel by the PLO and Arab countries will only be the beginning of a process to rectify and arrange the regional situation based on Israel’s will. He arrogantly added that the real danger in the region would lie in the lack of acceptance of Israel’s will.

Before the establishment of Israel, the Zionist movement had relations with some Arab countries. Golda Meir even visited some Arab countries before becoming prime minister of Israel. Furthermore, Netanyahu constantly stresses that there has been security coordination between Israel and several major Arab countries for many years.

The relationship between a number of Arab countries and Israel goes far beyond security coordination, reaching the level of guaranteeing their existence. The survival of several Arab governments and their continued existence is linked to the US and Israeli security affairs. Therefore, if the Arab and Muslim world’s issues were put on one side of the scale and the issues of the governments in the other, these governments would choose their interests over the interests of the Arab and Muslim nations.

There is no doubt that the Bahraini delegation’s visit to Israel and Jerusalem, at this particular moment in time, occurred without realising the dangers and implications of Trump’s decision. It occurred with complete disregard of the positions required towards this decision. More importantly, it neglected the constants and sanctities of the nation, which indicates the state of strategic coma experienced by several Arab governments during the nations’ most sensitive moments. Therefore, relying on the governments is a losing bet. However, the nations must continue to take initiative and the Palestinians should only rely on God and themselves.

By Mohamed Elshabrawy
Source: Middle East Monitor

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