Denver Newsroom, Sep 16, 2020 / 16:19 pm
An advocacy group for Christians and other religious minorities living in the Middle East this week praised an agreement between Israel and Bahrain, which comes on the heels of a similar agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
“While there are many contentious issues left to be discussed in the Middle East Peace Process and many injustices that Christians in Bahrain, Israel, and across the Middle East continue to face, today’s peace agreement is a positive step for Christians in the Middle East,” Toufic Baaklini, president of In Defense of Christians, said when the deal was announced.
“Politics should not stand in the way of any Christian being able to visit the sites of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
The foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain signed the deal to normalize relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a ceremony at the White House Sept. 15.
President Donald Trump had announced the diplomatic accord between Israel and UAE Aug.13, releasing a statement on the normalization of relations which included a provision that Israel will “suspend declaring sovereignty” over some areas of the West Bank.
On Sept. 11, it was announced that Bahrain, too, would normalize relations with Israel.
Jeremy Barker, Director of the Religious Freedom Institute’s Middle East Action Team, told CNA that agreements between governments are an important first step toward peace, but must be followed by concrete action.
“An agreement that commits to the pursuit of living together in peace, despite deep differences, is important and should be commended,” Barker told CNA.