Update: Bahrain does not view Israel as an enemy, a Bahraini official said Tuesday in an interview with the i24News website. The unnamed official spoke to i24News days before an Israeli delegation is scheduled to visit the islands nation for a meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee. He also said that it was important for Israel to take part in the meeting.
An article attempting to embarass the Bahraini ruler by claiming he is 'normalising' relations with Israel has appeared in Middle East Eye. Bahrain responds that Israel is just one of the countries attending a UNESCO meeting on the island next week. (With thanks: Lily)
Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Bahrain will host an Israeli delegation this month for meetings of the World Heritage Committee, organised by Unesco and the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, local newspaper Akhbar al-Khaleej reports.
The meetings, scheduled to be held on 24 June, will be sponsored by Bahraini ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Like most Arab countries, Bahrain does not officially recognise Israel, though it has signalled over the past year that it could be on the cusp of normalising relations.
Last year, Bahrain hosted its first ever visit of an Israeli official at FIFA's 67th congress which was hosted in Manama.
Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities' world heritage advisor Mounir Bouchenaki told Akhbar al-Khaleej that Bahrain will avoid politicising the meetings, despite Israel's participation.
"The meeting is international, and any country in the United Nations has the right to participate, including Israel," he said, adding that the Palestinians will also attend.
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