An advocacy group for Christians and other religious minorities living in the Middle East this week praised an agreement between Israel and Bahrain, which comes on the heels of a similar agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
“While there are many contentious issues left to be discussed in the Middle East Peace Process and many injustices that Christians in Bahrain, Israel and across the Middle East continue to face, today’s peace agreement is a positive step for Christians in the Middle East,” Toufic Baaklini, president of In Defence of Christians, said when the deal was announced.
“Politics should not stand in the way of any Christian being able to visit the sites of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
The foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain signed the deal to normalise relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a ceremony at the White House on September 15.
Jeremy Barker, Director of the Religious Freedom Institute’s Middle East Action Team, told CNA that agreements between governments are an important first step toward peace, but must be followed by concrete action.
“We hope the steps taken by these Gulf States will encourage others to follow suit in a way that promotes peace for everyone in the Middle East whether Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or otherwise,” he said.