JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel is due to send delegates to Bahrain on Sunday to formalise nascent relations and broaden Gulf cooperation that Washington has promoted as an anti-Iran bulwark and potential economic bonanza.
Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates in agreeing last month to normalise ties with Israel, stunning Palestinians who had demanded statehood before any such regional rapprochement.
The breakthrough, overseen by U.S. President Donald Trump, is a foreign policy flourish ahead of his reelection bid next month. For the U.S. allies, it is a chance to close ranks more overtly on Iran.
Sunday’s delegation, led by Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, will be accompanied by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, whose office said the mission seeks “expanded economic cooperation” among Israel, Bahrain and UAE.
An official involved in the visit said Israel and Bahrain would sign a communique upgrading their relationship: from the declaration of intent delivered at a White House ceremony on Sept. 15 to a formal establishment of ties.