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Bahrain reportedly recalls ambassador, suspends economic ties

Khaled Yousef al-Jalamah, Bahrain Ambassador to Israel at ceremony for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Rosh haShana (Jewish New Year) at the president's house. September 20, 2022. Photo by Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90

Bahrain, one of the first countries to sign the Abraham Accords normalization agreements with Israel in 2020, has reportedly cut diplomatic and economic ties with Israel on Thursday. The country has recalled its ambassador and Israel’s ambassador to Bahrain has left the country according to a statement by Bahrain’s lower house of parliament.

“The House of Representatives confirms that the Israeli ambassador to the kingdom of Bahrain has left Bahrain, and the kingdom of Bahrain decided to recall the Bahraini ambassador from Israel to the country. Economic relations with Israel have also been halted,” the parliament statement said.

The Bahraini parliament said the final decision was made to support Palestinians. Hamas launched the war on Oct. 7 with its brutal massacre of civilians in southern Israel, barrages of missile attacks on Israeli cities and the kidnapping of more than 240 hostages to Gaza.

“[The decision] comes to confirm the historic stance of Bahrain in supporting the Palestinian cause and the legitimate rights of the brotherly Palestinian people,” the statement said.

Bahrain’s state media later said the Israeli ambassador to Bahrain had left the country “some time ago.” However, according to The National, the government of Bahrain has not officially confirmed that ties have been severed or downgraded.

In addition, Israel has stated it has received no information on the severance of ties between the countries.

“We would like to clarify that no notification or decision has been received from the Bahraini government or the Israeli government to recall the countries' ambassadors,” read a press release from Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat.

“The relations between Israel and Bahrain are stable.”

Bahrain has called for a ceasefire in Gaza. On Monday, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani met with Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas leader in Ramallah, expressing “solidarity and support.”

Several members of the upper house of Bahrain’s parliament, the Shura Council, had reportedly not been made aware of the lower house statement regarding Israel.  

“To my understanding, all the Israeli ambassadors from many countries were called back by their government over the past several weeks. To my understanding, both leadership and government have made no such announcements yet on halting trade relations,” one Shura Council member told The National.

Bahrain is considered a moderate Arab state interested in ties with Israel and the West. However, a Sunni minority governs the Shiite majority in the country, which has a natural affinity with Iran. Severing ties with Israel would placate the majority to avoid unrest in the country, as protestors have marched to the Israeli embassy with calls to abandon the Abraham Accords since the Israel-Hamas war with Gaza began.

On Wednesday, Chile, Colombia and Jordan each declared that they are recalling their ambassadors to Israel.

“With the unacceptable violations of international humanitarian law that Israel has incurred in the Gaza Strip, as the government of Chile, we have decided to call back to Santiago for consultations our ambassador in Israel, Jorge Carvajal,” Chilean President Gabriel Boric Font stated

“I have decided to recall our ambassador to Israel for consultations. If Israel does not stop the massacre of the Palestinian people, we cannot be there,” said Colombian President Gustavo Petro.

Jordan said that the return of the ambassador would only happen when Israel stops the war. 

“The return of the ambassador will be linked to halting Israel’s war on Gaza and ending the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the Israeli measures that deprive the Palestinians of their right to food, water, medicine, and their right to live … on their land,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a statement.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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