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  • Jordanian protesters during a protest in Amman against a deal to buy Israeli natural gas, on October 7, 2016.

    Jordanian protesters during a protest in Amman against a deal to buy Israeli natural gas, on October 7, 2016. | Photo: AFP

Published 11 May 2020
Opinion

The pace of normalization between Arab countries and Israel has considerably gained momentum over the past months.

Authorities in Bahrain canceled Saturday an online event on the Gulf state's normalization of relations with Israel, shortly after its transmission began on YouTube.

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The event's organizer, the Bahraini Democratic Youth Society, said it had received a phone call from the security authorities ordering them to stop live-streaming the event "without discussions."

The president of Bahrain's chapter of the pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Ibrahim Kamal Eddin, said that Bahraini officials “insisted to stop the symposium, saying that we do not have a permit and that foreign and non-local people are participating in it.”

He added that BDS Bahrain, the co-organizer of the symposium, previously held several conferences and events on the same topics without permits.

Neither Bahrain nor the other Gulf countries have official relations with Israel so far. Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries that signed peace treaties and have public diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. 

In June 2019, however, Bahrain hosted the United States-promoted "Peace to Prosperity" meeting in its capital, Manama. 

The event was the initiative of U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and was focused on the economic side of a so-called “Deal of the Century,” a plan unveiled earlier this year by the White House to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

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The deal is widely seen as biased and unjust to the Palestinian national project.

The pace of normalization between Arab countries and Israel has considerably gained momentum over the past months on several fronts, including politically, economically, and militarily.

Main developments since the start of 2020 include the participation of UAE, Bahrain, and Oman ambassadors in the White House unveiling ceremony for the so-called "Deal of the Century;” the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and General Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan, the chairman of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council, in Entebbe, Uganda where both agreed to start cooperation; or the reported talks to hold a "historic meeting" in Egypt between Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, among many other steps.

The question of normalizing ties with Israel is generally taboo in the Arab world and seen as a betrayal to the Arab and Muslim position on Palestine.

Many commentators say that taking measures to end the Arab boycott of Israel, without reaching a fair solution to the Palestinian issue will be damaging to a cause considered one of the most important priorities for many Muslims and Arabs around the world. 

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