JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Israel recently signed a peace treaty with the tiny gulf state of Bahrain, but the process which proceeded the treaty was less known until recently. An Israeli politician recently revealed that the catalyst for the warming of relations between Israel and Bahrain was a life-saving operation performed in secret on a Bahraini princess who visited Israel in 2010. The successful operation opened the door to future cooperation between Israel and Bahrain which culminated in the normalization of relations between the countries last month.
In 2016, Israeli Likud Knesset member Ayoub Kara, who served as Deputy Minister for Regiona Cooperation, revealed that Israel had secretly provided treatment for a member of the Bahraini royal family, Princess Fatima Bint Khalifa and last week he added that the treatment had been a factor which enabled the eventual establishment of good relations with the gulf states.
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“I believed in 2010 that we had an opportunity to [have] good relations with the Gulf states,” Kara said at a panel discussion during the Israeli-Palestinian Economic Forum last week.
Kara, a veteran politician and a member of Israel’s Druze community, said he helped arrange the princess’ treatment at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, knowing that it would create a basis for solidifying ties with the Gulf Arab nation.
The princess flew from Bahrain to Cyprus and then to Israel, where she was transferred in top secrecy to an Israeli hospital for treatment. Kara said that only he and Prime Minister Netanyahu had been notified of the princess’s arrival.
Following her surgery, the princess and her husband stayed in Israel for another month of rehabilitation, Kara said, but before returning home to Bahrain they asked how they could return the favor. Kara seized the opportunity and asked the Bahrainis to consider a new policy in dealing with Israel due to the stalemate in the peace process with the Palestinians. He also asked them to help the tiny Jewish community in Bahrain. At the time, a representative of the community, Houda Nonoo, served as Bahraini Ambassador to the United States.