On his first visit to Bahrain, Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu emphasises business relations

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On his first visit to Bahrain, Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu emphasises business relations

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa visited Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Sunday (Dec 4), the first visit by an Israeli head of state to the Gulf state since the nations’ ties were established two years ago, and as Israel’s right-wing coalition government takes shape.

“I have come here with a brilliant group of people who head the economic sector in Israel, and who are ready to interact and conduct business with the people of Bahrain,” Herzog said in a statement released by his office.

Herzog, whose position is essentially ceremonial, will then travel to the United Arab Emirates, which has likewise normalised relations with Israel under US-brokered agreements known as the Abraham Accords and has previously hosted the Israeli president.

According to state news agency BNA, King Hamad expressed hope that the visit will deepen bilateral relations while emphasising Manama’s support for “a just, comprehensive, and permanent peace that guarantees the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.”

It includes ultra-nationalist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was among Israeli officials, including Netanyahu, at the Emirati embassy in Tel Aviv on Thursday to celebrate the UAE’s national day.

Following an election last month, the upcoming Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu appears to include far-right politicians who oppose Palestinian independence and want the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank, dissolved.

Sunni Muslim-ruled UAE and Bahrain defied decades of Arab policy by establishing links with Israel in 2020 in the absence of Palestinian statehood, in arrangements fueled in part by similar fears over Shi’ite Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes, as well as expanding regional clout.

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  • On his first visit to Bahrain, Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu emphasises business relations
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