Israel Attends Bahrain Anti-Iran Maritime Conference amid Increasing Normalization

Iran and Hamas have condemned Israel’s participation in a US-led maritime security meeting which was held on Sunday in Bahrain, amid increasing normalization between the Jewish state and Gulf countries.

The head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s counter-terrorism department, Dana Benvenisti, attended the Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group in Manama, in a rare case of an Israeli official visiting Bahrain.

Bahrain and Israel do not have formal diplomatic relations, but Gulf Arab states and Israel are increasingly normalizing relations cooperating against a perceived threat from Iran.

The Manama conference is a follow-up to the February 2019 US-led Middle East Conference in Warsaw, which focused on Iranian influence and alleged sponsorship of terrorism in the region.

The US is trying to form a maritime coalition to secure sea trade routes after a series of attacks on tankers in the Gulf which were blamed on Iran.

Iran denies any involvement. An Iranian tanker was also hit by a missile strike in the Red Sea off the Saudi port of Jeddah earlier this month.

However, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi took issue with the participation of a Zionist delegation at the conference, saying,

It’s unfortunate that a country which calls itself Islamic is normalizing relations with the Zionist entity [Israel]. Iran condemns this act.

Hamas also condemned Israel’s participation, saying that parties who normalize relations with the [Israeli] occupation are responsible for Israeli acts of aggression against Palestinians.

Over 60 countries are participating in the maritime security conference. Iran was not invited.

Source: Palestine Chronicle