Israel and therefore the Gulf state of Bahrain has reached a landmark deal to completely normalize their relations, US President Donald Trump has announced.
“The second Arab country to form peace with Israel in 30 days,” he tweeted.
For decades, most Arab states have boycotted Israel, insisting they might only establish ties after the Palestinian dispute was settled.
But last month the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to normalize its relationship with Israel.
There had been much speculation that Bahrain might imitate.
Mr Trump, who presented his Middle East peace plan in January aimed at resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, helped broker both accords.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “excited” that “another peace agreement” had been reached with another Arab country on Friday.
“This is a new era of peace. Peace for peace. Economy for the economy. We have invested in peace for many years and now peace will invest in us,” he said.
Bahrain is only the fourth Arab country in the Middle East – after the UAE, Egypt and Jordan – to recognize Israel since its founding in 1948.
“Another historic breakthrough today!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter, adding: “Our two GREAT friends Israel and therefore the Kingdom of Bahrain comply with a Peace Deal.”
The president also posted on Twitter a copy of a joint statement between the three leaders – Mr Trump, Mr Netanyahu and Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa.
Joint Statement of the United States, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the State of Israel pic.twitter.com/xMquRkGtpM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2020
“This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East” that will “increase stability, security, and prosperity in the region”, the statement reads.
Prior to the announcement of the UAE agreement in August – which included the suspension of Israel’s controversial plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank – Israel had had no diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab countries.
More recently, shared worries over Iran have led to unofficial contacts between them.
Last month saw the first official flight from Israel to the UAE, which was seen as a major step in normalizing relations.
President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who was on the plane, described the UAE deal as having “the ability to change the whole course of the Middle East”.
Bahrain last week said it would allow flights between Israel and the UAE to use its airspace.
Mr Trump is due to host a ceremony in Washington next Tuesday for the official signing of the Israel-UAE agreement.
In 1999, Mauritania, a member of the Arab League in north-west Africa, established diplomatic relations with Israel – but severed ties in 2010.