Diplomacy

In Unprecedented Move, Bahrain Approves Permits for Israeli Journalists to Cover Economic Conference

Israeli journalists from six media outlets have been approved by Bahrain to cover the U.S.-led economic workshop that will take place in the country on June 25-26, in what is seen as an unprecedented move by a country with no formal ties to the Jewish State.

The Kingdom reportedly granted the permission at the request of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. The event marks the first time that Israeli journalists will be reporting from Bahrain.

U.S. special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt confirmed the report in a tweet: “There are those working to improve the lives of Israelis, Palestinians & others in the region, and to see if peace can be achieved. Bahrain is one such country. The USA very much appreciates Bahrain’s efforts.”

Arab countries with no ties to Israel don’t usually allow Israeli citizens to enter the country unless they have a foreign passport. While Israeli journalists have traveled in the past to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, no Israeli press delegation has ever been granted access to Bahrain.

On Tuesday, Greenblatt blasted the Palestinian Authority for “boycott[ing] what will be an exciting workshop, I think much to the detriment of the Palestinian people.”

Asked on Israeli television if he was disappointed by the PA’s refusal to participate in the event, Greenblatt replied: “I’m not surprised, unfortunately, by the Palestinian side. I think that they make decisions that sometimes aren’t helpful not only for peace but for their people.

“So disappointed? No. If I’m not surprised, I guess I can’t be disappointed. On the Israeli side there’s no reason to be disappointed. The Israeli government has been very helpful to us over the last two and a quarter years.”

As previously reported, Greenblatt confirmed that neither Israeli nor Palestinian political leaders will be attending the workshop.