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Omani, Kuwaiti firms withdraw from Bahrain International Airshow over Israeli companies' participation

In this file picture, Bahrain Defense Forces parachute with the Bahrain flag above a US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon at Sakhir Air Base during the Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) 2018, Bahrain, on November 14, 2018. (Photo via Twitter)

An Omani low-cost airline and a Kuwaiti Islamic bank have decided to pull out of the forthcoming Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) after finding out delegates from Israeli companies will participate in the event, in a show of support for Palestine.

SalamAir, in a post published on its Twitter page, announced its withdrawal from the sixth edition of the exhibition, which is scheduled to take place on November 9- 11, and the closure of its pavilion there.

Kuwait Finance House, which was established in 1977 as Kuwait's first Islamic bank, also stated that it had taken a similar decision.

The Omanis Against Normalization group tweeted that the name of Oman has been removed from the BIAS website.

Other anti-normalization groups in the Persian Gulf region also denounced the participation of Israeli military and security companies in the biennial airshow.

The Persian Gulf Coalition against Normalization group confirmed the participation of several Israeli companies in the exhibition, including Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elbit Systems Ltd. – the developer of MPR-500 bunker buster missiles, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

ISDEF – Israel’s largest annual defense, security and cyber exhibition and a member of the Avnon Group – is coordinating and organizing the first-ever Israeli pavilion at the BIAS.

The group highlighted that the Israeli companies manufactured warplanes and various weapons of mass destruction for the Israeli military to demolish Palestinian homes and kill dozens of civilians during the devastating 11-day military offensive on the blockaded Gaza Strip in May 2021.

It also hailed the Kuwait Finance House for the quick removal of its logo from the list of sponsors of the Bahrain International Airshow.

Additionally, the Bahraini National Initiative against Normalization denounced hosting the aviation exhibition in Sakhir desert area, calling on the rest of Arab companies to withdraw.

Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Albusaidi said in a statement last May that his country will not sign a normalization agreement and forge diplomatic relations with the occupying Israeli regime, demanding a just settlement of the Palestinian issue.

Last August, the Israeli Ynet news website revealed that Oman refuses to open its airspace to Israeli commercial flights.

Kuwait is also staunchly opposed to normalizing ties with Israel. In May last year, Kuwait’s National Assembly unanimously approved bills that outlaw any deals or normalization of ties with the Tel Aviv regime.

On August 18, 2020, 37 Kuwaiti lawmakers called on their government to reject a normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Anti-Israeli sentiments run high in Kuwait. A poll conducted in 2019 by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an American think tank, showed that 85 percent of Kuwaitis oppose normalizing ties with Israel.

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