U.S. President Donald Trump, right, holds a bilateral meeting with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Back in May, President Trump visited Saudi Arabia. Other than causing aneurysms because Toby Keith played to an all-male concert audience while he was there, Trump did a couple of interesting things. He encouraged the formation of a Sunni Arab “NATO” to counterbalance the resurgent Iran Obama had created and he highlighted the responsibility Muslim nations had to resist and fight terrorism.
One of the interesting things that came out of the discussion of a pan-Arab military alliance was the fact that Israel was floated as being an ex-officio member. This is something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.
Right now, Israel has diplomatic relations with with only three Muslim nations: Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey.
This lack of diplomatic relations is accompanied, in most circumstances, with an economic boycott and with a ban on travel to Israel.
Now this monolithic opposition to Israel’s existing is cracking.
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa has denounced the Arab boycott of Israel and said his subjects are free to visit the Jewish state. The statement by the head of the Persian Gulf country, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, was revealed at a multi-national event last week in Los Angeles, hosted by the city’s Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The Bahraini king has made good relations between the various religions in his country a centerpiece of his reign. In December, he attended a Menorah-lighting ceremony in the small Jewish community in Bahrain. In February, it was revealed that a Bahraini princess had received life saving surgery in an Israeli hospital after the main hospital in Bahrain had given her up for dead.
This is just one small step forward, but it is significant. As the Arab boycott against Israel breaks in the face of the threat of Iranian domination, more pressure will be placed on the Palestinians to agree to a final settlement which recognizes Israel as a state.