Israel-Bahrain Agreement Accepted by Israel’s Knesset
Israel and Bahrain Sign Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic, Peaceful and Friendly Relations and Eight MOUs, October 18, 2020. Photo: Haim Zan/GPO Israel

On the same day Bahraini Prime Minister Khalifa died (a strong supporter of diplomacy with Israel), the Israeli Knesset approved the agreement to establish diplomatic ties with Bahrain. Coming on the heels of the historic September 2020 Abraham Accords, Israel’s October 23 diplomatic agreement with Sudan and her October 25 agreement with the UAE, 80 Israeli lawmakers argued their cases to a Knesset Plenum before the vote. The agreement passed with ease—only 14 votes against it, all members of the Arab-Israeli Joint List Party. Joint List head Ayman Odeh, explaining his party’s dissent, remarked that “…There will not be peace without an end to the cursed occupation,” a reference to the Joint List’s view that Palestinian issues, particularly Israel’s presence in the West Bank, are not being adequately addressed as part of Israel’s quickly evolving diplomatic moves in the region. Pushing back, Defense Minister and head of the Blue and White Party, Benny Gantz quipped that “Unfortunately, [the] Palestinian leadership has not internalized the fact that the time has come to put the excuses aside, to get back to the negotiating table…” As the Palestinian Authority continued to stonewall negotiations, Israel is forging new regional ties with a focus on its nemesis, Iran.