Trump Scores Second Diplomatic Coup in Middle East; Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

U.S. President Donald Trump scored another diplomatic coup in the Middle East with the announcement of a deal normalizing ties between Israel and Bahrain. A formal ceremony occurred at the White House on September 15, 2020, to ink the deal. “This is really something special, very, very special,” Trump said, saying the region “will become more secure and prosperous” as a result. A formal statement issued by all three nations said they agreed to “the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain.” Reported by Fox News. Read more… Reported by Fox News. Read more… Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Reported by the Associated Press. Read more… White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern told Fox News that the deal was “an extraordinary achievement. The president made the first major breakthrough like this in 26 years.” Reported by Fox News. Read more… In yet another blow for the Palestinians, the Arab League refused to condemn a similar deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was announced last month. The League failed to pass a resolution put forward by the Palestinian Authority. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner spoke about the two deals (UAE and Bahrain) normalizing ties with Israel, stating the deals would allow Muslim countries to prioritize their own national interests over those of the Palestinians. “This will reduce tension in the Muslim world and allow people to separate the Palestinian issue from their own national interests and from their own foreign policy, which should be focused on their own domestic priorities,” Kushner said in an interview shortly after the deal was announced. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Kushner also recently defended Trump’s Middle East peace plan, saying it was a bid to save the two-state solution. According to Kushner, the plan stops Israel from further expanding its presence in the West Bank, noting that the “reality today is that a lot of this land is inhabited with Israelis.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… In the wake of the latest announcement, Jared Kushner said he hopes other Arab nations will follow suit, telling one news outlet, “Let’s hope its months.” After flying to Bahrain, Kushner was scheduled to continue onward, visiting Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Reported by Fox News. Read more… Reported by The Guardian. Read more… Fox News reported that CNN and MSNBC all but ignored the peace deal in their prime-time broadcasts. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the deal, saying, “I am thrilled to announce to you, Israeli citizens, that we will reach a peace agreement tonight with another Arab country, Bahrain. An agreement that joins the historic agreement with the United Arab Emirates. It took us 26 years to go from the second peace agreement with an Arab state [with Jordan in 1994] to reach a third peace agreement [with the UAE]. And it took us not 26 years, but 29 days to go from a third peace agreement with an Arab country to a fourth one. And there will be more.’” Reported by the Al-Monitor. Read more… In Bahrain itself, the Jewish community welcomed the deal. Ebrahim Dahood, head of Bahrain’s Jewish community, called it an historic moment that Bahraini Jews did not expect to see in their lifetime. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

The Palestinian Authority condemned the deal, calling it another “stab in the back” and an act of “aggression” by an Arab country. In a statement, the Palestinian leadership said, “This step is a token of support for legitimizing the ugly crimes of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Iran and Hezbollah both blasted Bahrain for its decision to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps told Reuters, “The executioner ruler of Bahrain should await the harsh revenge of the Mujahideen [Islamic fighters] aiming to liberate Jerusalem and the proud Muslim nation of this country.” Hezbollah said, “All of the efforts to justify the Bahraini regime’s move can’t justify the betrayal and painful stabbing in the back of the Palestinian people.” The terror group also said, “We see Bahrain’s recognition of the Zionist entity and normalization of ties with it as another [step] in the public betrayal of the Palestinians. All of the Arab peoples and the Palestinians in the resistance axis in the region need to oppose these moves.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…  In the Gaza Strip, Gazans burned pictures of Bahrain’s king, along with posters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump. “We have to fight the virus of normalization and block all its paths before it succeeds, to prevent it from spreading,” Hamas official Maher al-Kholy reportedly told Reuters. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

The Israel-Bahrain deal wasn’t the only deal overseen by Trump. He also had a hand in a deal that saw the normalization of economic relations between Serbia and Kosovo. That deal also includes Kosovo recognizing Israel and Serbia relocating its embassy to Jerusalem. Reported by Fox News. Read more… Reported by The Guardian. Read more… While this deal calls upon Israel and Kosovo to establish diplomatic relations, it does not call full recognition of Kosovo as an independent country. Serbian sources have said that if Israel grants full recognition to Kosovo, it would destroy the Israel-Serbian relationship, with one source going so far as to say Serbia will not open a Jerusalem embassy as promised. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… [Ed. note—Kosovo, also known as the Republic of Kosovo, is a breakaway nation from Serbia. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008 and has achieved partial recognition as an independent nation].

As a direct result of the deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates struck last month, the first commercial flight between Israel and the UAE occurred on September 1, 2020, carrying a high-ranking American and Israeli delegation. The delegation included Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is also his chief advisor. National security advisor Robert O’Brien, Mideast envoy Avi Berkowitz, and envoy for Iran Brian Hook were also aboard. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Trump may be setting his eyes on Morocco next. Although Israel and Morocco have long had informal but close intelligence ties, there has been no normalization of diplomatic relations between the two nations. An attempt at a deal earlier failed, but Trump is hoping to open direct flights between the two countries, which would be a significant advance towards normalization. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Saudi Arabia won’t be so easy to convince, however. While King Salman praised Trump’s efforts in the region, he nonetheless reportedly stressed “the Kingdom’s keenness to reach a lasting and just solution to the Palestinian cause to bring peace,” which remains “the main starting point for the Kingdom’s efforts and the Arab Peace Initiative.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

President Trump has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in bringing about the peace deal between Israel and the UAE. The nomination came from Norwegian politician Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of Norway’s parliament. “For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees,” Tybring-Gjedde told Fox News. Although not a big Trump supporter, Tybring-Gjedde said, “The committee should look at the facts and judge him on the facts – not on the way he behaves sometimes.” Reported by Fox News. Read more… Reported by the BBC. Read more… Trump picked up a second nomination, this one from Magnus Jacobsson, a member of Sweden’s parliament, for his role in bringing about the deal normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo. Jacobsson stating he was nominating the Trump administration along with Serbia and Kosovo “for their joint work for peace and economic development, through the cooperation agreement signed in the White House.” Reported by Fox News. Read more… An editorial in the Atlantic magazine called for an end to the Nobel Peace Prize, saying, “peace had its chance, and blew it.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…