Ayoub Kara: Israeli treatment of Bahraini princess opened door to deal

October 21, 2020

“I believed in 2010 that we had an opportunity to [have] good relations with the Gulf states,” Kara said.


Israel’s treatment of Bahraini princess Fatima bint Khalifa in 2010 helped pave the way for the normalization deal between the two countries a decade later, former communications minister Ayoub Kara said on Tuesday.

“I believed in 2010 that we had an opportunity to [have] good relations with the Gulf states,” Kara said.

He spoke at the second annual Israeli-Palestinian Economic Forum, which was held last year in Jerusalem and was transformed this year into a virtual event.

Kara recalled how ten years ago he had helped facilitate the Bahraini princess’ treatment at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital, with an eye to creating an opening for formalized Israeli-Bahraini ties.

“This was the beginning of the process,” he said.

The entire incident was “very discreet” known only to the princess, her husband, himself and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kara said.

“She was very sick” and believed that she could be treated in Israel, Kara said.

Then upon her release from the hospital Kara helped the couple settle in an Israeli hotel for a month.

Prior to their return to Bahrain, they asked how they could help Israel.

Kara suggested they improve the treatment of the Jewish community in Bahrain. He also asked them to support a new vision of expanded Israeli relations with the Gulf, given that it was impossible to come to a resolution with the Palestinian Authority, Kara recalled. “No way that we will find a solution with them. We need a new policy,” Kara told them.

The forum, was initially created as part of a grassroots initiative to focus on ways to improve Israeli-Palestinian economic ties.

The event was hosted by the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce and the US Israel Education Association. It’s lead sponsor was the Integrated Business Roundtable community.

In light of the signing of US sponsored Israeli normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, known as the Abraham Accords, the forum focused on regional cooperation among all parties.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, “There is no greater cause than peace and it hopefully will be contagious. Peace comes from mutual understanding, common purpose, shared values and cooperative engagement in business and enterprise.”

It was this understanding that “helped bring us the Abraham Accords, that approach will bring us all to a more just and humane world,” Friedman said.

“The Israeli Palestinian Economic Forum is exactly on the right track to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he added.

USAID deputy administrator Bonnie Glick said that the Abraham Accords would “unleash the full potential of millions of people who have previously not been able to share ideas, visit each other or build a more hopeful world. The participating nations will be able to prosper together through trade and innovation.

“Nations once sworn to Israel’s destruction now accept her as a neighbor and a friend,” Glick said.

“We at USAID are eager to help Israel and its new diplomatic partners bring the fruits of peace to new emerging markets,” she said.

Hebron businessman Ashraf Jabari, who is a co-founder of the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce, has been one of the few Palestinians to support US President Donald Trump’s peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was also one of the few Palestinians to attend the US sponsored economic workshop in Bahrain in June 2019.

“We must look for every opportunity to strengthen the Palestinian economy,” Jabari said. Palestinians should have the same options as Arabs in the UAE and Bahrain who seek Israeli technology, he added.

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