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Bahrain’s disruption of anti-Israel event ‘unlawful’, in line with normalization policy: Wefaq

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)
Angry Palestinian protesters set portraits of the Bahraini King, the ruler of Dubai (c), as well as Israeli prime minister during a protest against the so-called US peace plan in the center of the Palestinian city of al-Khalil in the occupied West Bank on January 30, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Bahrain's main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, has strongly condemned as “unlawful” the disruption of an online event organized against normalization of ties with Israel, saying the move falls within Manama’s policy to forge all-out relations with the Tel Aviv regime. 

Al-Wefaq said in a statement released on Monday that the Bahraini Ministry of Labor and Social Development stopped the broadcast of a symposium dubbed ‘Normalization in the [Persian] Gulf’, which was jointly organized by Bahraini Society against Normalization with Zionist Enemy and Bahrain Democratic Youth Society.

“This is yet another measure within the policy of normalization with the Zionist regime,” the group said.

The movement further noted that the decision to prevent the virtual debate constituted an act that violates “Bahrain’s constitution, and runs counter to the religious and national commitments to the Palestinian cause.”

Wefaq stressed that “the Palestinian issue is a subject of national consensus and is considered the number-one issue for all people of Bahrain.”

“The ban represents an effort to suppress opposing voices, confiscate the role of civil society institutions, and infringe upon Muslims’ religious and national rights as regards their most significant issue,” it added.

Separately, the Bahraini Society against Normalization with Zionist Enemy expressed its deep regret over disruption of the anti-Israel event, emphasizing that the measure is in contradiction with Bahrain’s constitution and tarnishes the image of the country.

“The Bahraini constitution obligates citizens to protect their country's borders. Awareness-raising is one of the frontiers, which must be safeguarded in the face of the fierce Zionist attack that is aimed at shaping Arabs’ thoughts and cultural front to accept normalization and foster a sense of surrender and defeat,” it said in a statement.

“Such decisions instill fear into the vast majority of Arabs, who reject normalization. They are against the official statements of the Bahraini government, which assert that it adheres to its principled position on the Palestinian issue,” the statement noted.

On Saturday evening, authorities in Bahrain cut off an online event against normalization of ties with the Israeli regime. Several anti-normalization activists had planned to speak during the debate.

The presenter of the session surprised the viewership by informing them of the decision, saying, “We received a call from authorities a few minutes ago, asking us to cancel this dialogue. We apologize to you all.”

Bahrain is seen as an epicenter for the normalization of ties with Israel in the Persian Gulf region. 

On June 26 last year, Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah recognized Israel’s “right to existence” in an interview with the English-language The Times of Israel daily newspaper on the sidelines of a US-led economic workshop in Manama, saying the regime was “there to stay, of course.”

The top Bahraini diplomat also encouraged Israel to approach Arab leaders about issues of concern regarding the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, which was proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and calls on Israel to agree to a “two-state solution” along the 1967 lines and a “just” solution to the Palestinian refugee issue.

“Come and talk to us. Talk to us about it. Say, guys, you have a good initiative, but we have one thing that worries us,” he said.

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