The Palestinians tried this week to persuade the Arab League to condemn the United Arab Emirates, only to receive a scolding from the group — traditionally at least a reliable rhetorical backer of the Palestinian cause — for meddling in the “sovereign foreign policy decisions” of its member states.
One Arab government official said the diplomatic steps by Bahrain and the Emirates reflected no loss of sympathy among Gulf leaders for the Palestinian cause itself, but they did signal a deepening impatience with what they saw as a dysfunctional and intransigent Palestinian leadership.
In a statement, the Palestinian leadership declared its “strong rejection and condemnation” of the announcement, which it called “a betrayal of Jerusalem, the Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause, as well as support for legitimizing the Israeli occupation’s crimes against the Palestinian people.” A Palestinian Authority official also announced that the Palestinian ambassador to Bahrain was being recalled.
Israel and Bahrain have had unofficial ties on and off since the 1990s and enjoyed warm relations for several years. In 2019, Bahrain played host to a Trump administration conference promoting the economic aspects of its proposal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, during which Sheikh Khalid, a member of the Bahraini royal family who is now a diplomatic adviser to the king, gave friendly interviews to visiting Israeli journalists. “Israel is part of this heritage of this whole region, historically,” he said, adding that “the Jewish people have a place amongst us.”
Mr. Netanyahu announced the deal to his people as an event on par with Israel’s 1994 peace treaty with Jordan.
“It took us 26 years to reach the second peace agreement with an Arab country for the third peace agreement, 26 years,” he said. “But 29 days to reach a peace agreement between the third Arab state and the fourth Arab state, and there will be more.”
Acknowledging that the agreements did not come from out of the blue, Mr. Netanyahu said they “were made through hard work behind the scenes for years” but credited Mr. Trump for providing “important help.”
Michael Crowley reported from Washington, and David M. Halbfinger from Jerusalem. Adam Rasgon contributed reporting from Tel Aviv, Edward Wong from Washington, and Declan Walsh from Cairo.