The flags of the US, UAE, Israel and Bahrain screened on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, Sept. 15, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
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Life-saving treatment in Israel of an unnamed princess from Bahrain was key in building up to peace treaty.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

The top secret visit by a Bahraini princess who received a life-saving operation in Israel in 2010 opened the door for future cooperation between Israel and Bahrain and culminated in the recent normalization of relations between the two countries.

In 2016 Knesset member Ayoub Kara of the Likud Party revealed that Israel had secretly treated a member of Bahrain’s royal family, who chose to go to Israel for treatment instead of the United States.

On Tuesday, Kara revealed that Israel’s treatment of Bahraini princess Fatima bint Khalifa was a key step in the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“I believed in 2010 that we had an opportunity to [have] good relations with the Gulf states,” Kara said at a panel discussion during the Israeli-Palestinian Economic Forum.

Several news sites reported on the princess’s medical treatment in the Jewish state several years ago, but The Jerusalem Post brought it to light again Thursday, following Kara’s comments at the conference.

Kara, a veteran politician and a member of Israel’s Druze community, said he helped arrange the princess’ treatment at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, knowing that it would create a basis for solidifying ties with the Gulf Arab nation.

Because at the time there were no direct flights to Israel from any Gulf country, the princess, who was apparently 50 at the time, flew first to Cyprus, where she transferred to a flight to Israel. Upon landing, she was whisked in secret to the hospital in a mission known only to Kara and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Following the surgery, the princess and her husband stayed in Israel for another month of rehabilitation, Kara said, but before returning home to Bahrain they asked how they could return the favor.

Kara says he planted the suggestion that the royal family help the tiny Jewish community in Bahrain’s capital city of Manama as well as to consider establishing a new policy of dealing with Israel given the stalemate in the peace process with the Palestinians.

“No way that we will find a solution with them. We need a new policy,” Kara said he told the Bahrainis.

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