Cabinet approves Bahrain peace deal ahead of Knesset vote

The cabinet voted unanimously on Sunday to approve Israel’s normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

While the Bahrain declaration underwent a first cabinet vote to move the agreement to the Knesset for debate and a vote before being returned for final ratification by the cabinet, the same process concerning the UAE treaty was completed on Sunday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agreements, together with the plan to establish diplomatic relations with Sudan announced over the weekend, mark a major shift.

“After a quarter-century without peace agreements, we brought three peace agreements,” he said. “This is not a coincidence… It is the result of the clear policy I led in recent years with great intensive efforts that were open and covert.”

“It’s totally clear that there is a change in the conception that says the only way to reach normalization and peace agreements with the Arab world is to do things that endanger Israel’s security… I always believed there’s another way,” he added.

Netanyahu said he hoped that the changes in the Middle East will lead the Palestinians to agree to a “realistic peace,” as opposed to one that threatens Israel’s existence.

Israel and Bahrain signed a “joint communiqué on establishing peaceful and diplomatic relations” last week during the visit of an Israeli delegation to Manama led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat.

Netanyahu and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani signed a previous agreement at the White House on September 15. Bahrain’s cabinet approved the agreement on October 19.

The date for a Knesset vote on the Bahrain agreement has yet to be determined.

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