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Majority of Israel lawmakers vote in favour for normalisation with Bahrain

A general overview of a meeting held in Knesset, Israel on October 3, 2019 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]
A general overview of a meeting held in the Israeli Knesset on 3 October 2019 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images]

Israel's parliament voted yesterday for the normalisation of ties with Bahrain with an overwhelming majority of lawmakers in favour.

Sixty-two Knesset members voted in favour of normalisation, while 14 from the Arab dominated Joint List opposed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "A strong Israel brings other Arabs states closer to it. There will be more countries that will join the peace circle."

"Peace deals with the United Arab EmiratesBahrain and normalisation with Sudan have not fallen on us from the sky," the prime minister added. "It has come from a change in policy. In the last decade, Israeli governments have systematically nurtured our power when it comes to security, economy, cyber, foreign relations and other spheres."

Last September, Bahrain signed a normalisation agreement with the occupation state of Israel along with the UAE.

The deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.

READ: Israeli minister says normalisation deals need US president tough on Iran

The head of the Arab Joint List Ayman Odeh deplored that Israelis were celebrating a deal with the Gulf states despite the Palestinians remaining stateless. He said: "There will not be peace without an end to the cursed occupation."

The Joint List also voted against the accord with the UAE last month, although it passed with an overwhelming majority.

Minister of defense Benny Gantz addressed the Knesset ahead of the vote to express his confidence that US President-elect Joe Biden will continue to advance the peace processes in the region.

"Under Biden's leadership, the US administration will continue to spearhead additional agreements," Gantz said, claiming that Israel will continue to play a key role in any processes to bring stability to the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi thanked the US administration, Bahrain's King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa and the crown prince. He also thanked the Bahraini Foreign Minister, Abdullatif Al-Zayani, "who will be visiting Israel soon."

Netanyahu added that there are more Arab states that are fostering ties with Israel quietly and expressed hope that more will become public over time.

"The circle of peace will broaden, with stability and growth, creating a force facing off against radical Islam led by Iran," he stated.

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