Yedioth Ahronoth predicted Wednesday that the Kingdom of Bahrain would sign a peace treaty with Israel next year.
The Israeli newspaper quoted Rabbi Marc Schneier saying: “The Gulf states are racing to establish diplomatic relations with Israel,” describing him as a well-known person for his close ties with some Arab countries.
Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, who has been repeatedly received during the past 15 years by monarchs in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, said that he expects Israel to establish diplomatic relations with Gulf countries by the end of next year.
He added: “We will soon witness the start of an era of official diplomatic exchange between Israel and Bahrain, then the rest of Gulf States will follow,” stressing that “every Gulf country is racing to be the first to establish relations with Tel Aviv.”
The rabbi considered that “the Iranian threat pushed the Gulf States to change their positions towards Israel in the face of the common enemy,” noting that “economic interests also played an important role in this process.”
He pointed out that the Gulf States retreated from their previous conditions regarding settling the Palestinian issue before establishing relations with Tel Aviv, and added that “these countries currently consider returning to the negotiating table with the State of Israel enough to establish mutual diplomatic relations.”
A few days ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he expected “big surprises” regarding the Israeli relations with Arab countries.
Last week, Israeli Minister of Communications, Ayoob Kara, participated in an international conference in Manama after receiving an official invitation from Bahraini authorities.
Yedioth Ahronoth confirmed at the time that Manama’s invitation to Israel was Saudi Arabia’s idea, to “observe the reaction of the Arab public opinion concerning the issue of normalisation.”
Earlier, Israeli media quoted unidentified American sources saying that Netanyahu intends to visit other Gulf countries, after concluding his official visit to Oman.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz described earlier the Kingdom of Bahrain as the wheel of an entire process of normalisation between the Gulf and Israel.
One of the salient indicators of Bahrain’s changing approach towards Israel took place last May when the Iranian forces in Syria fired more than a dozen rockets at Israeli targets in the Golan Heights. At the time, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa made a statement defending the Israeli side.
Al-Khalifa tweeted: “Like all other countries, Israel has the right to defend itself against the Iranian aggression.” Such a statement was an unusual expression of support for Israel coming from an Arab state.
According to observers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are using Bahrain, their smaller and less influential ally, to do experiments regarding foreign policy.