Perhaps it was too good to be true for Israel. Or the Trade Minister didn’t get the memo about just how controversial his statement was.
But shortly after Zayed bin Rashid Alzayani made a groundbreaking announcement that Bahrain would receive settlement products as Israeli, the Gulf state quickly backtracked on that.
The Bahrain News Agency said that a source from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism said the minister’s statement was misinterpreted.
“The official source stressed that the minister’s statement was misinterpreted and that the ministry is committed to the Bahraini government’s unwavering stance regarding adherence to the resolutions of the United Nations, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation concerning the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Syrian Golan Heights,” BNA reported.
While in Jerusalem last week, Alzayani, Bahrain's minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, told Israel journalists that Israelis products would be considered “Made in Israel” no matter whether they came from the West Bank or Golan Heights.
According to a United Nations resolution, countries should “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”
The United State broke away from that position just over two weeks ago when U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a change in long-standing American policy.
“All producers within areas where Israel exercises the relevant authorities… will be required to mark goods as ‘Israel,’ ’Product of Israel,’ or ‘Made in Israel’ when exporting to the United States,” Pompeo said.
Though Bahrain is speeding ahead with normalization with Israel, it is still mindful of the Palestinian position and insists that, despite peace with Israel, a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a priority.
While in Israel last week, Alzayani headed a delegation of 40 businesspeople and officials from Bahrain in order to hammer out various agreements between the two nations.
“We are fully committed. The pace we’re moving with is quite the fast pace because we want to catch up on lost time. We believe there is huge, immense potential,” Alzayani said during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The two countries signed tourism deals and nonstop flights from Tel Aviv to Manama are expected to begin on Jan. 7.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.