Bahrain Signed Normalization Agreement without Learning Details
2020-09-18 - 4:35 am
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Bahrain signed the agreement of normalization of relations with Israel under the auspices of the United States, despite the vast popular rejection. The authorities decided to proceed with their decision without their people's consent as they have done in a number of cases.
The UAE and Bahrain agreed to be represented by their Foreign Ministers, Abdulla Al-Zayed and Abdullatif Al-Zayani, to officially sign the agreement in Washington.
Al-Zayani (who is considered new to the post which was monopolized by ruling family members) was accompanied by the Undersecretary of International Affairs Abdulla bin Ahmed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and a limited number of the ministry's officials left to Washington one day before the date of signing the agreement, whose details haven't been known yet. It was surprising that the Bahraini government had no idea about the agreement it was going to sign in the White House.
As Al-Zayani's flight took off, Israeli officials at the Israeli Embassy in Washington announced that Bahrain will sign a "declaration of support for peace", while the United Arab Emirates will sign a "peace agreement", explaining that "the details of the agreements with the UAE and Bahrain will be revealed tomorrow (Tuesday) at the ceremony to be held at the White House". In the evening (at 6 p.m. on September 14, 2020) the Israeli Haaretz newspaper quoted a White House official as saying that everyone will sign the "Abraham Accord", and then sign separate agreements (one with the UAE and another with Bahrain).
Al-Zayani arrived in Washington one day before the signing of the agreement, and was heading to the White House to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning (10:00 a.m. for 20 minutes, the White House said). The surprise was the next day, an hour before Al-Zayani's meeting with Trump, when Haaretz Washington correspondent Noa Landau reported that the Bahraini mission was trying to learn from U.S. officials what the contents of the agreement are, to be signed by Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani.
"At the hotel now, members of the Bahraini mission, some of whom live with us here (she means they are from the Bahraini Embassy in Washington) are discussing with a representative of the U.S. government the copy the (Bahraini) Foreign Minister will sign at the White House. Let's say all the details are vague," she said.
No one knows whether the Bahraini delegation was able to acquire any details before heading to the White House to meet the U.S. President. Television channels showed that the Emirati and Bahraini ministers were tense and confused.
Trump spoke from the designated podium. Netanyahu, Abdullah bin Zayed and Abdullatif Al-Zayani were on his left. Trump ended his speech and was followed by Netanyahu and then bin Zayed, who preferred to speak in his Arabic language, albeit poorly. He was followed by Al-Zayani, who insisted on speaking in weak English. The speeches ended and it was time to get off the White House balcony to sign the agreement.
Trump stepped forward and Netanyahu walked behind him as he chatted with Abdullah bin Zayed, while Al-Zayani walked behind them alone and distributed smiles. Trump noticed that one of his guests was walking alone, so he suddenly stopped and told him some complimentary words, and the four walked together to the table where the agreement would be signed.
Abdullah bin Zayed sat at the far right, followed by Trump, Netanyahu, and Al-Zayani. The UAE agreement was brought in to be signed by the three parties in three copies (Arabic, English and Hebrew), Abdullah bin Zayed was given the Hebrew version and did not know where to sign, and asked Trump, who also did not know Hebrew, then asked Netanyahu, who pointed at his name and where he should sign. Netanyahu was then given the Arabic copy of the agreement with the UAE, and directly asked Al-Zayani where he should sign. Al-Zayani rushed to help him with pleasure.
Three copies of the Bahrain Agreement were also signed in the three languages, and the Abraham Peace Accord, which was signed by the four countries, was brought in four copies (two in Arabic, one in English and one in Hebrew). The ceremony ended with an applause from the audience, after which the President of the United States led his guests to the White House balcony. Netanyahu rushed to walk by his side, as the two Gulf ministers walked alone. The day ended with Trump hosting a luncheon for his three guests, in celebration of the agreement, whose content the Gulf states have yet to learn.