Bahrain FM Defends Australia’s Decision on Jerusalem

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa. (Photo: File)

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa has defended Australia’s decision to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying the move would not affect the establishment of a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, becoming one the few governments around the world to follow US President Donald Trump‘s lead.

Morrison said in a speech in Sydney:

“Australia now recognizes West Jerusalem – being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government – is the capital of Israel.”

The Arab League issued a statement criticizing the Australian decision as “blatantly biased towards the positions and policies of the Israeli occupation”, but Bahrain’s FM disagreed.

He tweeted on Saturday:

“Australia’s stance does not impact the legitimate Palestinian demands, first among them being East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, and it does not contradict the Arab Peace Initiative.”

Bahrain’s foreign minister has issued a number of statements supportive of Israel recently.

Earlier this month, after Israel launched a military operation to destroy cross-border tunnels built by Hezbollah from Lebanon into Israel, the foreign minister issued a statement calling the tunnels a “flagrant threat,” to Lebanon’s stability.

He has previously also said Israel has the right to defend itself against Iran, which Bahrain blames for stoking unrest within its borders.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has for years boasted about warming ties with key Arab states that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. But those ties were rarely visible.

This changed in October when Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to Oman, where he met longtime ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

It marked the first visit by an Israeli leader in more than 20 years to the tiny Gulf state, a US ally that has in the past facilitated negotiations between the United States and Iran.

Netanyahu told his cabinet:

“These were important talks, both for the state of Israel and very important talks for Israel’s security, there will be more.”

In the same month, Miri Regev, the Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport of Israel, traveled to the United Arab Emirates with an Israeli delegation at a judo tournament, and Netanyahu’s communications minister headed to the UAE for a security conference.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

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