Israeli delegation’s Bahrain visit canceled over national campaign
An Israeli delegation of businessmen and officials have cancelled their participation in Bahrain conference amid growing national outcry against expansion of ties between Manama and Tel Aviv regime.
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A spokeswoman for Israel’s Economy Ministry said a planned visit to Bahrain this week by Israel’s Economy Minister Eli Cohen had been “delayed because of political issues.”
A group of around 30 Israeli business executives and regime officials was scheduled to participate in the event, which is organized by the US- based Global Entrepreneurship Network and will run in Manama from April 15 to 18.
At least three Israeli speakers, including the Israel Innovation Authority’s deputy chief, Anya Eldan, were scheduled to speak at the event.
“While we advised the Israeli delegation they would be welcome, they decided this morning not to come due to security concerns and a wish not to cause disruption for the other 180 nations participating,” the organization’s president Jonathan Ortmans told Reuters.
Earlier this month, Bahrain's most prominent Shia cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim strongly denounced the Manama regime’s decision to host an Israeli delegation in the business conference.
“Hosting and greeting the Zionists at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, is a bold step on a dishonorable path; that of humiliation, capitulation and shamelessness,” he said in a statement carried by the Arabic-language Lua Lua television network.
Sheikh Qassim further underlined that the Israeli regime tops the list of Muslim world’s enemies, and that Manama’s plan to host Israeli delegates was in line with its attempts to compromise and normalize ties with the enemy.
This is a clear sign of the Manama regime’s disregard for Islam and the will of the nation, the top cleric pointed out.
Last month, members of the Bahrain parliament issued a statement, rejecting the visit.
“Parliament stresses its support for the just cause of the brotherly Palestinian people, and it will remain a priority for the Bahraini and Arab people,” the statement read.
It added, “The end of the Israeli occupation and the withdrawal from all Arab land is an absolute necessity for the stability and security of the region and for a fair and comprehensive peace.”
Some street protests were also held in Manama in condemnation of the planned visit.
Russia's RT Arabic television news network reported on March 4 that Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al ash-Sheikh, the speaker of Saudi Arabia's Consultative Assembly, together with his Emirati and Egyptian counterparts had opposed a paragraph in the final communiqué of the 29th Conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in the Jordanian capital city of Amman, which demanded an end to efforts aimed at normalizing ties with Israel and condemned all forms of rapprochement with the occupying regime.
The paragraph stated that “one of the most important steps to support Palestinian brethren requires the cessation of all forms of rapprochement and normalization with the Israeli occupiers.
Therefore, we call for resilience and steadfastness by blocking all the doors of normalization with Israel.”
On February 17, a report published by Israeli Channel 13 television network said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had held a “secret meeting” with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita last September.
Additionally, the Warsaw conference, a US-sponsored gathering that was held in the Polish capital on February 13-14, brought together Netanyahu and representatives from a number of Arab states, including Oman, Morocco, Saudi Arabic, the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt.
The Israeli regime also recently re-launched a “virtual embassy” in a bid to “promote dialogue” with the Persian Gulf Arab states.