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October 18, 2020 7:04 pm

Israel Formally Signs Peace Agreement With Bahrain, as Netanyahu Hints More Countries May Follow

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin arrive in Muharraq, Bahrain, October 18, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed.

A formal peace agreement between Israel and Bahrain was signed on Sunday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinting that further such agreements may be in the offing.

The signing took place after a joint Israeli-American delegation, led by Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, arrived in Manama Sunday morning, marking the first time an Israeli plane officially landed in the Gulf country.

Shortly after, the accords were formally signed by Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani and Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz.

Mnuchin called the signing a “remarkable accomplishment.”

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According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu spoke with Al-Zayani and Mnuchin shortly before the signing of the agreement, which is part of the Abraham Accords signed by Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain at a White House ceremony last month.

Netanyahu, the statement said, asserted that Israel and Bahrain were “making giant steps toward peace.”

Earlier in the day, Netanyahu hinted at the weekly cabinet meeting that further agreements were in the works, saying, “This is a very moving day. I hope that we will be able to tell you soon about additional countries.”

Further developments in the Abraham Accords process also took place on Sunday, with the Israeli Transportation Ministry announcing that it had reached an agreement with the UAE for 28 Israeli passenger flights per week from Ben-Gurion Airport to the Gulf kingdom.

In addition, Emirati planes will be granted access to Ramon Airport in the southern city of Eilat, and 10 cargo planes per week will be flown between the two countries.

The agreement will be formally signed by Netanyahu at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday. Aviation officials said that the flights may begin within weeks.

Transportation Minister Miri Regev called the agreement “a historic and emotional day for the State of Israel” and expressed hope that a similar accord will soon be reached with other Gulf states.

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