Bahrain activists slam Manama’s planned hosting of Israelis

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Bahraini president of the Asian Football Conference (AFC), Bahraini Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa (seen), has hailed the FIFA Council’s decision to have Bahrain host the 67th FIFA Congress in May, 2017. (File photo)

Rights organizations in Bahrain have strongly condemned the rulers of the Arab country for planning to host an Israeli delegation in an upcoming FIFA conference.

The Bahraini regime is set to host the Israeli delegation as part of a cooperation bid during FIFA’s 67th Congress, due to be held in the Bahraini capital of Manama on May 11.

In a joint statement issued on Monday, 12 Bahraini-based human rights institutions censured the planned visit.

They said that the Bahraini rulers were hosting an Israeli delegation at a time when the Tel Aviv regime is persistently trampling upon the rights, integrity, and the lives of the Palestinian people, Bahrain Mirror news outlet reported Tuesday.

They further censured the abusive treatment of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli regime authorities. They said Tel Aviv was also violating international laws and human rights by attempting to break the resolve of the Palestinian inmates by force-feeding them.

In their statement, the Bahraini-based rights groups also called on the leadership of regional countries not to forget or undermine the Palestinian issue.

Barring Jordan and Egypt, which have open, diplomatic relations with the Tel Aviv regime, Arab governments claim that they do not recognize Israel. They say they would normalize relations with the Tel Aviv regime only when it reaches a deal with the Palestinians, whose lands the Israeli regime has occupied.

However, there have been numerous reports and public statements indicating that there are covert ties between the Arab governments and Israel.

In mid-March last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his regime’s relations with regional Arab countries was “dramatically warming.” Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s minister of military affairs, also in February 2016 pointed to open channels between the regime and Arab states.

Bahrain’s official stance of not recognizing Israel means that Israeli individuals cannot normally obtain visas to the Arab country.

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