Bahrainis express outrage over normalisation deal with Israel
Freedom of expression is rigorously controlled in Bahrain, but, unlike the UAE, its majority Shia population has a tense relationship with the country's Sunni minority royal family.
Bahrainis have reacted with agony at their government’s move to formalize ties with Israel, quickly turning the hashtag “Bahrainis against normalization” into the most popular hashtag and social media topic.
The hashtag #Bahrainis_against_normalisation #بحرينيون_ضد_التطبيع is trending , opposing the normalisation announcement. Let Trump and Netanyahu have their short electioneering & illusionary moment. The future is in the hands of the dignified Arab people of Bahrain and the region
— Husam Zomlot (@hzomlot) September 11, 2020
US President Donald Trump celebrated the US-brokered normalization deal on Friday but has enraged many Bahrainis, who have been more outspoken than Emiratis were to their own government’s current agreement with Israel.
Maryam al-Khawaja, the daughter of imprisoned human rights activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, said: “The majority of Bahraini people, however, have always stood against the occupation, oppression, and apartheid against the people of #Palestine.”
I see a lot of tweeps in #Bahrain writing they’re ashamed to be Bahraini today. I’ll never be ashamed to be Bahraini, I’m proud of the people who fight injustice locally and have always stood with justice #Palestine. Bahrain is it’s people, the regimes only represent themselves
— Maryam Alkhawaja (@MARYAMALKHAWAJA) September 11, 2020
The Former MP Ali al-Aswad called it a “black day in the history of Bahrain.”
“You’ll be reminded by history for your support of colonialism and colonization,” he expressed.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, said the deal represented a ‘historic step towards achieving peace’ in the Middle East. However, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas both criticized it as “another stab in the back” by an Islamic government.
Freedom of expression is rigorously controlled in Bahrain, but, unlike the UAE, its population has a tense relationship with the country’s minority royal family, whose rule was backed with Saudi military force in the face of demonstrations in 2011.
صور متداولة لمسيرات ومظاهرات غاضبة مساء أمس في أماكن متفرقة بالبحرين، منها العاصمة المنامة، احتجاجاً على إعلان اتفاق التطبيع بين البحرين وإسرائيل.
المتظاهرون رفعوا شعارات مثل #بحرينيون_ضد_التطبيع وهتافات مناهضة للتطبيع ومؤكدة على أنه لا يمثل الموقف الشعبي من القضية الفلسطينية. pic.twitter.com/6rute82nyi
— AJ+ عربي (@ajplusarabi) September 13, 2020
The oppositional al-Wefaq party decried the deal “a total betrayal of Islam and Arabism and a departure from the Arab, Islamic, and national consensus.”
As a Bahraini citizen I was, still and will ALWAYS stand by our Palestinian citizens.
This agreement doesn’t represent us. We are ashamed!!
My sincere solidarity to Palestine
— Light Knight ⚔️ (@EmooOoo87) September 11, 2020
Hanan Ashrawi, a ranking member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said she was “overwhelmed and heartened” by Bahrainis’s support.
To the incredible, honourable people of Bahrain: we are overwhelmed & heartened by your support & solidarity. We never doubted your genuine commitment to Palestine. We love you. ????#بحرينيون_ضد_التطبيع #Bahrainis_against_normalisation.
— Hanan Ashrawi (@DrHananAshrawi) September 11, 2020
Palestinians in Gaza rallied against the decision on Saturday, burning pictures of Israeli, Bahraini, and Emirati leaders.
Hamas official Maher al-Holy said: “We have to fight the virus of normalization and block all its paths before it succeeds, to stop it from spreading.”
Both Turkey and Iran also criticized Bahrain for the deal, calling it a betrayal of the Palestinians.
“The Bahraini rulers will from now on be partners to the Zionist regime’s crimes as a constant risk to the security of the Islamic world,” Iran’s foreign ministry said on a statement broadcast by state TV. “Bahrain’s disgraceful move sacrifices the Palestinian cause and decades of struggle at the cost of the US election.”
وزارت امور خارجه جمهوری اسلامی ایران ضمن محکومیت شدید اعلام برقراری روابط دیپلماتیک میان بحرین و رژیم صهیونیستی، آن را اقدامی ننگین و خفت بار از سوی بحرین دانست که آرمان فلسطین و چندین دهه مبارزات و تحمل رنج و مصیبت مردم فلسطین را در قربانگاه انتخابات آمریکا ذبح میکند. pic.twitter.com/fXrErPTmbE
— ?? وزارت امور خارجه (@IRIMFA) September 12, 2020
Turkey’s foreign ministry called the deal “a fresh blow to efforts to defend the Palestinian cause that will further embolden Israel to continue its illegal practices towards Palestine.”
İsrail ile Bahreyn Arasında Diplomatik İlişki Tesis Edilmesi Kararı hk. https://t.co/zMf8iHFWG6
— T.C. Dışişleri Bakanlığı (@TC_Disisleri) September 11, 2020
In a joint statement, Bahrain had agreed to formalize the deal at the same ceremony for the UAE’s agreement at the White House on Tuesday.
A more vital message was sent by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, who claimed Bahrain would face “harsh revenge” from its people.
Bahrain and Israel’s foreign ministers spoke by phone on Saturday to discuss the new relations, the Bahraini foreign ministry announced.
Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah also criticized the move.
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