As Hananya Naftali righty said, Israel has been waiting for these words for 70 years. Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Foreign Minister of Bahrain openly declared,
“Israel is a country in the Middle East. It is part of the heritage of this region. The Jewish people has a place amongst us.”
Israel has been waiting for these words for 70 years.
— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) June 27, 2019
Against the backdrop of UN statements denying Jewish connections to Jerusalem, many in the Middle East are now declaring their acknowledgement of Israel – the only democracy in the region. Bahrain, which does not have official diplomatic relations with Israel, nonetheless affirmed the Jewish State during the US-led “Peace to Prosperity” conference in its capital, Manama. The conference was discussing radical economic proposals made by the White House, which would be rolled out once a diplomatic agreement had been reached.
Strong words of peace from Bahrain
During the interview with Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 13, the Bahraini foreign minister said in reference to Israel,
“You do have a peace agreement with Egypt, you do have a peace agreement with Jordan, you did have some kind of understandings with the Palestinians through their Authority in the last period… But this is not the limit of the scope of where you belong. Israel is a country in the Middle East. Israel is historically part of the heritage of this whole region. So the Jewish people have a place amongst us.”
The US political peace plan will likely be revealed after the Israeli elections in September have taken place. The conference in Bahrain was unveiling the economic aspect of the plan, which is contingent on an agreement. Still unaware of the details of the peace plan, the Bahraini foreign minister expressed confidence that it was possible:
“We do trust that the US will be able to reach an agreement. But it requires more than the US, it requires the parties of the region to work together.”
While relations between Israel and several Middle Eastern countries have been warming, most notably with the Gulf States, and to some extent with Egypt and Jordan, the Palestinian leadership was appalled at what it sees as “normalization” with Israel. There was an official Palestinian boycott of the conference and many frustrated Palestinians protested against the White House plan in the streets, but nonetheless, some Palestinian businessmen defied the ban and were in attendance, including Ashraf Ja’abri from Hebron. In a separate interview with CBN in the past, Ja’abri said,
“We want peace, really peace. Thirty years ago we were working together, doing business together.”
Ja’abri told the Jerusalem Post that some 15 Palestinian business people had attended the conference in Bahrain, but that the Palestinian Authority was now searching the homes of attendees in order to arrest them, and that so far they had only managed to arrest one man.
“The blood conflict has lasted too long”
Haaretz newspaper noted that the Bahrain conference was the biggest display yet of Israeli-Arab normalization, and reported these words from Mohamed Alabbar, a businessman from UAE:
“We all live in a very small planet called earth, and I think we have a duty to our families, we have a duty to the societies we live in, to our neighbors, and to the world – to our children, they want to live a life that has hope, optimism, and a better future.”
Similarly, along with expressing his commitment to the Palestinian people, a high-ranking Saudi diplomat at the conference said that,
“The blood conflict has lasted too long. Us Saudis and all Gulf States plus Egypt and Jordan realize that the age of going to war with Israel is over… Israeli technology is very advanced and the Arab world, including those who hate you, looks at Israel in admiration due to this success and hopes to copy it.”
Could this be a new era for Israel? It’s hard to predict what will happen in the coming years – as outside observers, we only see the tip of the iceberg of what’s really going on. Only God sees all the details, the plans, the private conversations and intentions of politicians and world players. Although we may keep our eyes on current events, our hope remains in the Prince of Peace, not in politics. We can rest assured that God’s own peace plan will ultimately prevail.
Photo by Paula May on Unsplash