Israel and Bahrain agreed to establish full diplomatic relations on Friday in a second breakthrough between Israel and its Arab neighbours after it normalised ties with the United Arab Emirates last month.

Palestinians burn pictures depicting US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in the central Gaza Strip September 12, 2020.
Palestinians burn pictures depicting US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in the central Gaza Strip September 12, 2020. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)

Palestinians in Gaza have burnt pictures of Israeli, US, Bahraini and United Arab Emirates leaders in protest over the two Gulf countries' moves to normalise ties with Israel.

Bahrain on Friday joined the UAE in agreeing to normalise relations with Israel, a move forged partly through shared fears of Iran but one that could leave the Palestinians further isolated.

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The Gaza protest was organised on Saturday by the ruling group Hamas.

Palestinians burn pictures depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump during a protest against Bahrain's move to normalise relations with Israel, in the central Gaza Strip September 12, 2020.
Palestinians burn pictures depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump during a protest against Bahrain's move to normalise relations with Israel, in the central Gaza Strip September 12, 2020. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)

"We have to fight the virus of normalisation and block all its paths before it succeeds, to prevent it from spreading," said Hamas official Maher al Holy.

Demonstrators set fire to pictures of US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the UAE's Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nayhan.

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While the United States, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain hail the diplomatic moves as a major step toward Middle East peace and stability, the Palestinians see it as a betrayal.

They fear a weakening of a longstanding pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.

Despite a deep political rift going back to 2007, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority has limited rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and his Hamas rivals have been united against the Gulf states' move.

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In the West Bank, the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, said the diplomatic push will not achieve peace if the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved first.

"The Bahraini, Israeli, American agreement to normalize relations is now part of a bigger package in the region, it isn't about peace, it is not about relations between countries. We are witnessing an alliance, a military alliance being created in the region," Erekat told Reuters.

Iran, meanwhile, said on Saturday that Bahrain's move meant it would be complicit in Israeli policies that threatened regional security, Iranian state TV reported.

Source: Reuters