DUBAI: Several Israeli speakers are to appear at a business conference in Bahrain next month, a move condemned by MPs in the tiny Gulf state yesterday. At least three Israeli speakers, including the Israel Innovation Authority’s deputy chief Anya Eldan, are scheduled to speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Manama, according to the forum’s website. Members of parliament said Sunday they were against hosting Israeli speakers in Bahrain, which – like most Arab states – does not recognize the Jewish state.

“Parliament stresses its support for the just cause of the brotherly Palestinian people, and it will remain a priority for the Bahraini and Arab people,” it said in a statement published on its official Facebook page. “The end of the Israeli occupation and the withdrawal from all Arab land is an absolute necessity for the stability and security of the region and for a fair and comprehensive peace.”

Officially, Israel only has diplomatic relations with two Arab states, neighboring Egypt and Jordan. The Jewish state has long faced resistance to its efforts to improve ties with Arab nations because of its 50-year occupation of Arab territories. It has, however, recently seen increased behind-the-scenes cooperation with some Arab countries, particularly in tackling their shared enemy, Iran.in

Bahrain’s foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid Al-Khalifa, last year backed Israel’s right to “defend itself” after its military said it struck dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria. He said Iran had “breached the status quo in the region and invaded countries with its forces and missiles”. “Any state in the region, including Israel, is entitled to defend itself by destroying sources of danger,” he wrote on Twitter. Also in 2018, Bahrain hosted a UNESCO conference attended by an Israeli delegation. – AFP