Israel and the Gulf state of Bahrain have reached a landmark deal to fully normalise their relations.
US President Donald Trump announced on Friday, hailing the deal as “a historic breakthrough”.
In a joint statement, the United States, Bahrain and Israel said the agreement was reached after Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Friday.
“This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East,” the statement reads.
The deal comes after Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced a similar agreement last month.
Bahrain will join Israel and the UAE for a signing ceremony at the White House on September 15, Trump told reporters on Friday.
“It’s unthinkable that this could happen and so fast,” he said about the Israel-Bahrain deal.
Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, hailed the agreements as “the culmination of four years of great work” by the Trump administration.
“We’re seeing the beginning of a new Middle East, and the president has really secured alliances and partners in trying to pursue that,” Kushner said.
In a Hebrew-language statement, Netanyahu said he was “moved” to announce the agreement with Bahrain, which he said “adds to the historic peace with the United Arab Emirates”.
“Treacherous stab from Bahrain”
Palestinian leaders have criticised Arab states for normalising ties with Israel while it continues its military occupation of Palestinian lands, saying such deals threaten to cement the status quo.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization said Friday that the Bahrain-Israel deal was “another treacherous stab to [the] Palestinian cause”.
Palestinians have unequivocally condemned Friday’s announcement.
A Palestinian official close to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who said that peace between Arab countries and Israel “will not happen without the Palestinian issue being resolved”.
She said the official also said they did not believe Israel’s deals with Bahrain and the UAE would have happened “without regional backing”.
Kushner, speaking to reporters in a call from the White House soon after the announcement, said the UAE and Bahrain agreements “will help reduce tension in the Muslim world and allow people to separate the Palestinian issue from their own national interests and from their foreign policy, which should be focused on their domestic priorities”.