Bahrain doesn’t accept any goods from the Israeli settlements, according to the state-run news agency BNA. Thus, the comments made by the trade minister Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani earlier this week were disavowed on Saturday.
Bahrain, one of the Persian Gulf state, will not allow the import from settlements located on illegally occupied Palestinian territory. Trade al-Zayani’s words that there no problem with goods produced in settlements caused a stir in media.
According to al-Zayani, Manama would make no distinction between goods produced in Israel or in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Al-Zayani said that Bahrain “will treat Israeli products as Israeli products … so we have no issue with labelling or origin”, Reuters said.
“The minister’s statement was misinterpreted and that the ministry is committed to the Bahraini government’s unwavering stance regarding adherence to the resolutions of the United Nations,” BNA reported late on Friday.
According to the Trump administration’s move, the US customs have removed the distinctions between goods made within Israel and in settlements in November.
For the Arab world, Israel is a hedge against the declining role of the United States in the region, as well as a rich trading partner with a high-tech economy. For Israel, ties to the gulf ease its isolation and are a way to counter pressure from the Palestinians to negotiate a new state, since the backing of fellow Arabs is a linchpin of that long campaign.
In fact, Bahrain and the UAE have formalised ties with Israel on September 15. The US-backed deal billed by the Gulf states made possible a plan to annex West Bank settlements. Most world states deem the plan, which was approved without Palestine, illegal.