Haaretz newspaper revealed that Israel and Bahrain are discussing cooperation in the issue of responding to the Iranian drone attacks, which are seen as an increasing threat to the region.
The newspaper reported that Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited the headquarters of the Fifth Fleet in Manama on the sidelines of his historic trip to Bahrain, in which the headquarters of his country’s embassy in the Gulf state was inaugurated.
The Israeli newspaper indicates that Lapid’s visit to the headquarters of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, comes to send what Israeli officials described as a clear signal to Iran.
The newspaper quoted an Israeli source as saying that “Iran is developing drones, and this is something that bothers everyone.”
A diplomatic source said that the Bahraini reception of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the series of high-level meetings in Manama testify to the Kingdom’s desire to announce its close relations with Israel.
Lapid, accompanied by his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif Al-Zayani, took a souvenir photo in front of the battleship “USS Pearl Harbor” along with a senior US Navy official and Chargé d’Affairs, the US ambassador to Manama, Maguy Nardi. An Israeli official described it as an “important strategic event.”
The Israeli foreign minister visited Bahrain on Thursday and held a series of high-level meetings with the Bahraini king, the crown prince and the foreign minister, in addition to the opening of the Israeli embassy in Manama.
Lapid’s visit coincided with the launch of the first commercial flight of Gulf Air – the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain – to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
The two countries also signed a series of joint cooperation agreements in various fields, including energy, health, environment and technology.
In a joint press conference, Al-Zayani said, “The visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel to the Kingdom of Bahrain builds on the significant progress we have already made during that time, and reaffirms our shared desire to spread peace, stability and cooperation throughout the Middle East and achieve real and lasting security and prosperity for all its peoples.” “, according to the Bahrain News Agency (BNA).
Haaretz says that Lapid discussed with the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, security issues, including Iran, as well as economic issues.
According to the Bahrain News Agency, King Hamad said on the sidelines of his meeting with the Israeli Foreign Minister that “peace is a strategic choice for the Kingdom of Bahrain, and that the Kingdom’s vision and approach are based on strengthening the values of understanding, dialogue, cooperation, peaceful coexistence, tolerance and rapprochement between peoples.”
In mid-September last year, the UAE and Bahrain signed agreements to normalize relations with Israel in an official ceremony hosted by the White House lawn, then Morocco and Sudan joined those agreements known as the “Ibrahim Treaty”.
Although Al-Zayani and Lapid did not publicly address Iran at the press conference, the Bahraini Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, publicly criticized Iran during his visit to Israel in August.
He said, “What we see from a Bahraini perspective and experience with Iran is a continuous interference in the internal affairs of my country,” adding: “If you look at crises throughout the Middle East, you will find one red thread that passes through all these crises. You will find an Iranian finger,” according to What was reported by the Israeli newspaper.
On the other hand, Iran condemned, on Friday, the visit of the Israeli Foreign Minister to Bahrain and the inauguration of his country’s embassy in Manama, speaking of an “indelible stain” on the forehead of the Gulf kingdom.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, condemned the visit in a statement carried by Agence France-Presse, and said that it was “against the will of the public opinion of the noble and free Bahraini people.”
In his statement, Khatibzadeh recalled the “humiliating position of the Bahraini authorities represented in announcing the normalization of relations” with Israel.
Bahrain cut ties with Iran in early 2016, accusing it of supporting the Shiite-dominated opposition in the kingdom.