MANAMA (Dispatches) – Bahrain informed the Zionist regime more than two years ago that it was interested in normalizing relations, Israel’s Channel 13 news network has reported.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa held a secret meeting with former Zionist foreign minister Tzipi Livni on the sidelines of the 2017 Munich Security Conference in Germany, the report said.
He told Livni that Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa had decided to move towards normalized relations with Tel Aviv, the television cited unnamed senior Israeli officials as saying.
The Bahraini foreign minister also asked her to pass the message to Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which she did, the report added.
Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti business delegation has reportedly paid a visit to the Israeli-occupied territories, amid moves by several monarchical regimes in the Persian Gulf region to better their relations with Tel Aviv following years of clandestine contacts.
Palestinian Arabic-language Safa news agency, citing a report published by Israel’s Kan public broadcaster, reported on Friday that the Kuwaiti businessmen arrived in Tel Aviv last week, and spent several days in the occupied lands.
The report added that the merchants had been granted visa issued by the office of Netanyahu.
The Kuwaiti nationals visited the Baha’i House of Worship and Mahmood Mosque in Haifa, the University of Haifa, the al-Aqsa Mosque as well as the Holocaust Museum in al-Quds.
Earlier this week, the Zionist regime’s foreign ministry has re-launched a virtual embassy in a bid to promote dialogue with Persian Gulf Arab nations.
"We are pleased to announce the re-launch of 'Israel in the [Persian] Gulf' page which aims to promote dialogue between Israel and the [Persian] Gulf nations.
"We hope this virtual embassy will contribute to deepen understanding between the peoples of the [Persian] Gulf and the people of Israel in various fields,” the ministry said in a post published on Twitter.
The regime has recently stepped up its push to make its clandestine ties with Arab governments public and establish formal relations with them. Only two Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, have open diplomatic relations with Israel.
Hani Marzouk, a spokesman for Netanyahu's office for Arab media, said in November that Bahrain would be the next Arab country without formal diplomatic relations with the regime to host Netanyahu.
In October, Netanyahu met with Oman’s Sultan Qaboos in Muscat, but the controversial visit was kept secret until after the Zionist premier returned to the occupied territories.