Bahrainis voice strong opposition over normalization deal with Israel

Unlike the relatively positive public response that was seen in the United Arab Emirates, the responses in Bahrain were harsher.

A Palestinian man holds a crossed out poster depicting Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa during a protest against Bahrain's move to normalize relations with Israel, in the central Gaza Strip September 12, 2020.  (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)
A Palestinian man holds a crossed out poster depicting Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa during a protest against Bahrain's move to normalize relations with Israel, in the central Gaza Strip September 12, 2020.
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)
Bahraini citizens took to social media throughout the weekend to voice strong opposition to the normalization deal with Israel, which many called an "act of treason."
Unlike the relatively positive public response that was seen in the United Arab Emirates, the responses in Bahrain were harsher, including heavy criticism directed towards the government for reaching the deal with Israel.
Ruled by the Sunni al-Khalifa royal family and composed of a majority Shia Muslim population, Bahrain has a relatively tolerate approach toward freedom of speech, which allows its strong opposition to voice its concerns.
Officially, Manama has said that the deal is a historic step towards peace in the Middle East. But the Palestinians have called it "treason" – and many in Bahrain seem to agree.

 Palestinians burn pictures depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest against Bahrain's move to normalize relations with Israel, in the central Gaza Strip September 12, 2020. (Credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa) Palestinians burn pictures depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest against Bahrain's move to normalize relations with Israel, in the central Gaza Strip September 12, 2020. (Credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
"This is a disaster; a black day in our history," said Halil Bukhaza, a local activist. "None of us will visit Palestine until it's free and independent."
Prominent journalist Razi al-Musawi added that the deal was made in order to serve the interests of Israel and the US, not those of Bahrain and the Gulf states, which are being criticized for abandoning the Palestinian issue.
"Our stance is clear: We oppose normalization, and we believe that the deal was reached without consulting all relevant entities," Musawi said.

The Bahraini opposition reached social media platforms as well, with a Twitter campaign launched titled "Bahrainis against normalization," which became the top trending tweet on Friday.
The online campaign also grew to include criticism and a general sense of frustration against the American administration.
Others, however, expressed a positive attitude toward the deal. Ahadia Ahmad, head of Bahrain's journalists association, said that "this is an amazing step, and a positive step towards the peace process," adding that "we need practical solutions, not emotional ones. Through a peace agreement with another country, more opportunities are opened for more negotiations."