King of Bahrain Congratulates the UAE on Deal With Israel, Iran daily says the deal makes UAE ‘legitimate target’

Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has "congratulated" the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) de-facto ruler, Mohammed bin Zayed, on his deal to normalize ties with Israel, calling it "historic," Bahrain's state news agency said on Saturday.

In a sharp contrast, an ultraconservative Iranian newspaper said today that the UAE’ decision to normalise ties with Israel has made it a “legitimate target” for pro-Tehran forces. The Kayhan daily, considered to be the mouthpiece of ultraconservatives in Iran, said the agreement was a “betrayal” of the Palestinian cause.

According to the daily: “The UAE’s great betrayal of the Palestinian people and its signing of an agreement to normalise relations with the Zionist regime, if it has only one result, it will be to turn this small, rich country heavily dependent on security into a legitimate and easy target for the resistance,” Kayhan said in a front-page commentary.

Iran’s government has strongly condemned the agreement. The move was an act of “strategic stupidity from Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv which will undoubtedly strengthen the resistance axis in the region,” the foreign ministry said yesterday.

The UAE and Israel announced on Thursday a US-brokered agreement to establish full diplomatic ties in return for Israel suspending a controversial plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

The deal makes the UAE the third Arab country after Egypt and Jordan and the first Arab Gulf state to have diplomatic links with Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed and US President Donald Trump hailed the agreement as "historic," while the Palestinians and some countries including Iran and Turkey decried it as a "betrayal."

In a telephone call, the Bahraini monarch described the UAE-Israeli pact as a "historic step for peace," saying it will boost peace efforts and stability in the Middle East, according to the agency.
King Hamad also said the deal preserves a two-state formula that envisages a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

On Thursday, Bahrain was the first in a six-nation energy-rich Gulf bloc allied with the US to hail the deal. Bahrain is home to the US 5th Fleet.

At a White House press briefing on Thursday, officials said that Oman and Bahrain would be the next countries to normalize relations with Israel.

Sources: Malaymail, Haaretz

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