In a statement released on Friday, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) praised the government of Bahrain for “breaking ranks with the position espoused by Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority to isolate the United States over President Trump’s announcement this month recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
The ZOA approvingly cites a tweet from Bahraini Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, in which he argued: “It’s not helpful to pick a fight with the U.S. over side issues while we together fight the clear and present danger of the theo-fascist Islamic Republic [of Iran].”
ZOA President Morton Klein saw Khalifa’s statement as an encouraging sign that Bahrain will not play along with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ strategy to diplomatically isolate the United States:
We applaud the Bahraini declaration, which rightly focuses on the tremendous, existential threat posed in the region by an Iran seeking to obtain nuclear weapons. And, this declaration serves as an admission that major efforts are being made on behalf of a predictable and outrageous Mahmoud Abbas to censure the US for merely acknowledging, at long last, what is merely a fact – that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that not saying so, in deference to Palestinian Arab and wider Arab opinion, has not and will not produce peace or moderation.
As the ZOA argued in January in a New York Daily News op-ed advocating the move on Jerusalem, which President Trump took this month, important, indeed, vital common interests, such as preventing Iran going nuclear, unite Israel and a number of Sunni Arab states. Regional relations will not, therefore, be imperiled by President Trump’s declaration.
Whatever the current disturbances and the hue and cry, much of it orchestrated, on the Arab street against President Trump, his Jerusalem move is ultimately a service to truth and even to peace-making, as it serves to notice the world that its nations will not forever support this fiction that Jerusalem is apart from Israel, a lie which the PA seeks to foist upon it.
The day after he sent this tweet, Khalifa clarified that Bahrain still supports the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“We need to protect our homeland, first and foremost, from the Iranian theo-fascist agenda, so we can play our part in solving the Arab-Israel dispute by achieving the two-state solution with east Jerusalem as the capital of an independent, fully sovereign Palestine,” he explained.
A delegation from a Bahraini interfaith group visited Israel as part of a tour of holy sites across the region soon after President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, prompting the Palestinians to block the group from entering Gaza.
There have recently been rumors that Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa might be ready to establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel, or at least ameliorate the longstanding boycott against Israel. On the other hand, Bahrain did vote in favor of the U.N. resolution against the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem on Thursday.