Netanyahu has ‘outstanding’ phone call with Bahraini crown prince

The one-page declaration of intent to normalize ties signed in Washington last week will soon be supplemented with serious content, the prime minister says.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had an “outstanding” first-ever phone call with Bahrain’s heir apparent Tuesday, discussing several arenas in which the two countries could cooperate once last week’s nascent agreement to formalize the countries’ relations is realized.

“I had an outstanding, very friendly conversation with Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa,” said Netanyahu in a statement. “We reiterated the principles of the Abraham Accords and we discussed how we might quickly add content to the agreements between Bahrain and Israel and turn this peace into economic peace, technological peace, tourist peace, peace in all of these fields. You will hear about the practical steps very soon.”

Israel Hayom reported that the two also talked of the Iranian threat. This seemingly fell under the rubric of “a number of developments in the regional and international arenas” that the Bahrain News Agency said were discussed.

While Israel has long been a public enemy of the Islamic Republic, it is perhaps less known that border-sharing Bahrain, a Shiite-majority country ruled by a Sunni royal house, is also a longtime target.

During the Arab Spring protests in the early 2010s, Iran allegedly incited massive demonstrations by its co-religionists in Bahrain, leading its government to call for help from Saudi Arabia in putting down what it called an incipient rebellion.

As soon as Washington announced that the tiny Gulf country would follow the UAE in normalizing ties with Israel, Iran’s media went into overdrive in accusing its neighbor of betraying the Arab cause.

On Sunday, Bahraini state TV reported that its security forces had thwarted “a huge terrorist plot in the Kingdom of Bahrain that received support and funding from Iran and members of the terrorist Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

More than a dozen terrorists were arrested for planning and attempting bombings in various areas of the country, including the capital and an oil pipeline, all in the last year.

Netanyahu’s statement following the phone call was widely reported in the Arab press.