Bahraini MPs call for withdrawal from Arab Peace Initiative as activists are given rapturous welcome

June 3, 2010

An Islamist society has urged Bahrain to pull out of the Arab Peace Initiative, saying that the Israelis were not interested in peaceful co-existence.

“We call upon Bahrain and all the other Arab countries that have endorsed the Arab peace Initiative to withdraw their support and not to engage in any movement to promote peace with the Israelis,” the Islamic Tribune (Al Menbar) said. “Unfortunately, Israel is not interested in peace and is keen only on murders and destruction. The latest instance of savage attacks on the Freedom flotilla heroes who included women and children is another blatant indication of a dark, blood-stained Zionist history,” the society said.

Al Menbar, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has seven of the 40 lower chamber seats in the bicameral parliament and is the third largest bloc.

The statement was issued as Bahrain gave a heroes welcome to four citizens who were briefly detained by Israel for taking part in the Gaza-bound convoy carrying humanitarian aid to Palestinians under siege.

“While we hail Turkey and its leaders for their courage and support for the flotilla, we call for the re-opening of all passages to Gaza,” Al Menbar said. “We also stress our full rejection of any form of normalization and for an end to direct and indirect contacts with the murderers. We want an end to the drive that promotes the Israelis as angels of mercy and call for the expulsion of all Zionist ambassadors from Arab and Muslim countries,” the society said.

Economic boycott of the Zionist entity and its political, economic and military supporters and financial backers should be revived, Al Menbar said.

In their testimonies following their return, the four Bahraini activists said that they had been physically and mentally mistreated by the Israelis. However, they pledged to continue their drive to assist Palestinians in Gaza.

The four were feted at the airport by families and friends amid chants for Palestine.

But while Israel was being cursed, Turkey was winning the hearts and minds of Bahrainis and Arab residents.

A delegation of religious leaders representing Sunnis, Shiites and Christians visited

Haltun Osman, Turkey’s ambassador to Bahrain, to express their “full appreciation” of the Turkish leaders for their pro-Palestine stances.

“We will press for compensation for all the activists who were on the ships and we will launch the legal procedures once the investigation is over,” the ambassador reportedly said. “This incident is very dangerous and cannot be just ignored. There is huge popular and official anger and people’s rights must be preserved. There is no state above or outside the law, including Israel,” he said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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