The Arab nation of Bahrain took a giant step toward supporting Israel on Tuesday, as its Foreign Minister tweeted an attack on the terror tunnels the terrorist group Hezbollah is attempting to build into Israel as Israel mounts its efforts to destroy them.
Foreign Minister Khalida Khalifa tweeted, “Is it not for the terrorist Hezbollah to dig tunnels across Lebanon's borders a clear threat to Lebanon's stability and its governing partner? Who bears responsibility when neighboring countries take the task of getting rid of this threat?”
Recent reports have surfaced that Israel is seeking diplomatic ties with Bahrain; The Jerusalem Post reported in late November that Israeli government sources confirmed that Israel and Bahrain were communicating in an attempt to establish official diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Post noted, “Bahrain, which has 1.4 million residents in the Persian Gulf, has no diplomatic relations with Israel. The country has a small Jewish community of about 40 people and is the only country in the Gulf that has a synagogue.
This week, Israel launched an effort to find and destroy tunnels Hezbollah has built from Lebanon to infiltrate Israel. Touring the area with various ambassadors, on Thursday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Hezbollah for the tunnels; at the same time, Israel's northern commander, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strik, showed the head of the U.N.'s peacekeeping force in Lebanon a tunnel that entered Israel. As Fox News reported, “Strik also presented UNIFIL a map with the location of a second tunnel, along with houses in Lebanon that Israel says are connected to the tunnel. He said Israel demanded that UNIFIL investigate and ‘neutralize’ the shaft of the tunnel."
Netanyahu urged the international community to impose additional sanctions on Hezbollah, stating, "I told the ambassadors that they need to unequivocally condemn this aggression against us by Iran, by Hezbollah and by Hamas, and of course, to also strengthen the sanctions against these elements. He confidently asserted that when Israel is done with the tunnels, they "will no longer exist and will no longer be effective."
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said three areas have been discovered that harbor tunnels.
Israel also showed its humanitarian side; a message ostensibly from Israel in Arabic on Lebanon’s LBC TV posted an audio message to the cellphones of residents of a village in the area to steer clear of tunnels, stating, "Hezbollah is putting your lives in danger because of digging tunnels. These tunnels could explode. Anyone who is close to the tunnels is putting his or her life in danger."
The United States established diplomatic relations with Bahrain in 1971 after the country became independent from the United Kingdom. But even before that, Bahrain provided a base for U.S. naval activity in the Persian Gulf; that started in 1947. Bahrain has very good relations with the Trump administration; the Crown Prince cemented agreements including an extension of the Bahrain - US Defense Cooperation Agreement, the purchase of F-16 fighter aircraft, and deals with American companies to modernize the BAPCO refinery and expand the ALBA aluminum smelter.