Winds of Change: Israel's Bennett Meets Widespread Protests in Bahrain

Published February 15th, 2022 - 10:50 GMT
 Al Zayani (R), Bennett
Bahrain's Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Manama's airport, on 14 February 2021 (AFP)

ALBAWABA - While Israeli troops and Jewish settlers try to push out Palestinians out of their homes in the Sheikh Jarrar neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem Bahrain is welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to Manama. 

Its a travesty but this is how things work in today's mismatched Arab world. Bennett is on a "surprise" visit to Bahrain. But surprise as repeated by the media and reiterated by social platforms maybe a wrong terminology to use since the Israeli extreme rightwing minister is in Manama at the invitation of the Bahrain Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa to discuss cementing bilateral ties. 

This 24-hour Israeli visit is being covered at length by the media with all the razzmatazz included. Its a show, more like jubilation between the two states that signed a peace accord in September 2020 in Washington under the then pugnacious leadership of the now ex-US president Donald Trump who is trying to get back to the White House in 2024. 

But that's another story. Bennett who is quoted as saying “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that,” was welcomed with all smiles and no doubt friendship by the Bahrain Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani at the Manama's International Airport by the Bahraini Foreign Minister. 

It is a new regional era. Of course beyond the government Bahainis are not happy. They are loathed to see Bennett welcomed on their soil with pomp and ceremony. They have been out demonstrating against the visit  which comes on 14 February, the 11th anniversary of the Arab Spring protests that begun in Bahrain in 2011. 

Protests in different parts of the country against the visit of the Israeli prime minister show people burning the Israeli flag and stepping on it according to different posts. 

Meanwhile two other visits have taken place which actually show the region is being turned upside down in terms of re-aligning relations. One is the visit of the Israeli Energy Minister Karine Alharrar to an international conference in Cairo. The Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi walked up to her and personally greeted her after welcoming the guests. That got people talking on the social media.

The other development is the visit of the Turkish president President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Abu Dhabi and his meeting Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. According to Anadolu news agency Erdogan is in the UAE for a two-day visit at the invitation Sheikh Mohammad.

Regardless of the fact the had signed the Abraham Accords with Israel in 2020 - together with Bahrain as well - the Erdogan's presence in the UAE is seen as a  “significant visit would create further momentum to strengthening cooperation and building a new prosperous phase of partnerships for the higher good of the two countries, their peoples and all the nations of the region," the state-run Emirates News Agency quoted Al Nahyan as saying.

Israel as well is improving relations with Turkey. The Israel president Isaac Herzog is set to visit Turkey this month ending years of tense relations between the two countries. 

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