Israel and Bahrain: When great leaders stand together against Iran - opinion

These insignificant, exposed voices can no more trigger thousands to follow their demonstrations. Bahrainis have realized the agendas of these individuals and no longer follow them.

 ON SUNDAY, President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal are welcomed to the Al-Qudaibiya Palace in Manama by HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.  (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
ON SUNDAY, President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal are welcomed to the Al-Qudaibiya Palace in Manama by HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)

Not even the word historical can describe what happened this week in Bahrain when thousands of steps forward toward enhancing the unique relations built between my country and Israel.

Among the moments I personally view as another turning point in shaping the future relations between the two nations is the moment His Majesty warmly welcomed President Isaac Herzog and HRH Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim, wife of HM the king welcoming Israel’s first lady.

It wasn’t just the heads of both states meeting to discuss issues of mutual interest but the whole trip was unique as it involved the First Ladies, both very highly respected and appreciated by women and we all know the significant role women can play in achieving warm peace.

And while the visit of the 11th President of Israel was a source of pride to hundreds of thousands of people in Bahrain, some insisted on condemning and rejecting this visit, assuming that their voices can ever be heard again. These were the voices of some who unfortunately choose not to believe that times have changed and hate language is not acceptable anymore.

And most of the voices condemning the visit did as a matter of fact come from the same faces associated to dissolved political parties involved in the 2011 coup attempt in Bahrain backed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The same faces that carried the doomed yellow flags of Hezbollah prior to the incidents of 2011 seem to realize that their attempt to kidnap Bahrain has failed and would take advantage of any opportunity to burn the white and blue flag and praise former ayatollah regime representative Essa Qassim.

THE FLAGS of the US, United Arab Emirates, Israel and Bahrain are seen on the side of a road in Netanya, in September. (credit: FLASH90)THE FLAGS of the US, United Arab Emirates, Israel and Bahrain are seen on the side of a road in Netanya, in September. (credit: FLASH90)

They are the exact same faces that went to the streets protesting former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett’s visit and the official inauguration of the Israeli Embassy in Bahrain.

Small crowds basically want to be vocal, not because of the Palestinian issue but because their loyalty remains to be toward Khamenei. And let’s not forget Muslim Brotherhood and communist political societies who insist they aren’t Muslim Brotherhood nor communists, thinking that they can still hide their real faces.

But the reality is loud and clear.

These insignificant, exposed voices can no more trigger thousands to follow their demonstrations. Bahrainis have realized the agendas of these individuals and no longer follow them. The only attention they get is from international media that digs for bad news that creates attention-drawing content.

But Herzog’s visit was a visit that sent so many messages. The growth of Israeli Bahraini relations is unstoppable and people started talking positively about it. After all, the leader who welcomed the president is the same leader who succeeded in protecting our land and stood in the face of all threats that came from Iran and its proxies in the region.

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa took this extremely brave step and moved forward despite all the condemnations and threats Bahrain faced. Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah missed an opportunity to condemn a sovereign decision Bahrain took.

They try to undermine Bahrain’s significant and strategic role in the region and pretend its insignificant yet their leaders are so vocal about how agreements are treason. Had Bahrain been insignificant, you would have barely heard them condemn and threaten us.

After all, the Abraham Accords was as a matter of fact a slap on the face of the Iranian terrorist regime, Hezbollah and Hamas who have been classified as terrorist entities by the UK and some European countries although Hezbollah’s political arm seems not to fit the criteria of a terrorist entity by some European countries.

Pure hypocrisy when the military arms are classified as terrorists but the political arms get away with not being classified as terrorists. Pure hypocrisy when the excuse is not classifying Hezbollah’s political arms as terrorists is because these countries want to negotiate with Hezbollah. How do these countries that raise the slogan of human rights want to still negotiate with terrorists?

BUT HERZOG’S audience with our king specifically focused on the importance of fighting extremism and terrorism, and the two-states solution was also discussed. I personally believe that this issue cannot be resolved as long as Hezbollah, Hamas and their main funder, the ayatollah regime, exist.

And the weakness of the Palestinian Liberation Organization will not, anytime soon, contribute towards achieving the two-states solution. And there isn’t anyone who doesn’t want both the Palestinian and Israeli people to live in peace. There can never be anyone who doesn’t want the Palestinians to have an independent state and live a normal life. Humanity isn’t defined by borders. It is a basic human instinct to want for others what you want for yourself.

What many Arab countries that refuse to establish relations with Israel do not understand is that the region isn’t as it was before the doomed return of the terrorist Khomeini to Iran in 1979. And what I personally believe is that some Arab countries will follow the brave decisions of the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.

The discussions between Hamad and Herzog sent a message to countries harboring Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists. And no matter how they attempted to undermine Bahrain’s genuine stance towards the two-states solution, we, in simple words completely ignored these voices.

After all, our countries cannot pay for failure after failure to solve this issue during the past seven decades. While bigger issues were resolved among countries involved in the Second World War and despite of the loss of many lives, these countries came together and decided to move on and start a new page that can save many lives.

Japan and America wouldn’t have had these unique relations and economies had they decided to roam around in the same circle. The Japanese would have never gotten over Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Japan would have been isolated with a broken economy. Germany could have been doomed until this day if the Allies had decided to punish the Germans after Hitler’s massacres.

And despite all countries moving forward and leaders opening new pages, the Palestinian Israeli issue was not resolved because Palestinian leaders did not want it to be resolved as they truly enjoy the most luxurious lives abroad. But Israel is today more powerful too than it was and is expected to exert more effort to resolve this issue. Nothing is impossible and its allies in the region also expect Israel to exert more effort.

We all do understand that Hamas and terrorists continue to target Israel’s security, killing innocent people but strategy stems from power and I believe Israel is very serious about resolving this issue. It is challenging but not impossible and as a defender of the Abraham Accords, I have faith that a different approach could lead to a positive change in the region. The ayatollahs, Hamas and Hezbollah can be eliminated once and for all and if you remove evil from its roots, there is a slight chance it will never grow again.

Three of Israel’s highest-profile political figures visited the country next to Bushehr where the Iranian nuclear bomb dream is on hold: Benny Gantz, Bennett and now Herzog, during a time when the ayatollah regime is vulnerable and Iranians of different ethnicities are protesting to overthrow the regime. And no matter how much we focus on the importance of the economic relations between the two states, we all know that there is no economy without security and the two leaders emphasized regional security, a strong message to all those who target our country’s security.

A lot has been done during the past two years and warm peace is being achieved but I cannot end this column without owing a lot of what is happening to Israel’s Ambassador to Bahrain, Eitan Naeh. An ambassador who succeeded in making great friendships here and has been a great representative of his country must be appreciated. It is never easy to break the ice with people you do not know but this ambassador hasn’t just broken the ice but barriers that could have taken tens of years to be removed.

The writer is a former president of the Bahrain Journalists Association and a political analyst.