Bahrain’s trade minister, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani, has announced that his country will no longer distinguish between Israeli products and those made in the occupied territories, drawing anger from Palestinians.
Along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain formalized relations with Israel on September 15 in a US-backed deal, and Bahraini ministerial delegations have been meeting with the Israeli government in recent weeks. On Tuesday, al-Zayani landed at Ben Gurion Airport alongside 40 businesspeople to personally meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
During his trip, al-Zayani discussed accepting imports from Israeli settlements and rejecting international guidelines that state they should be clearly labeled as such.
“We will treat Israeli products as Israeli products, so we have no issue with labelling or origin,” the minister said.
Israel has estimated that, following the move, trade with Bahrain could top around $220 million in 2021, excluding any potential defense or tourism deals that are agreed.
Palestine has condemned the move, with the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Wasel Abu Yousef accusing Bahrain of “contradicting international and UN resolutions,” and urging Arab countries to boycott all products from within Israel.
The PLO is concerned that the recent developments, paired with US President Donald Trump’s support for Israel, will allow the continued annexation of lands captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Although, most countries currently view Israel’s settlements as an illegal occupation.
Bahrain’s decision comes just weeks after the Trump administration took a similar step and announced it would remove US customs distinctions between goods made in Israel and in the occupied territories.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!