Manama: Bahrain’s foreign minister has come to the defence of the parliament Speaker after she was accused on social media of supporting the normalistion of relations with Israel.
At the Arab Inter-Parliamentary conference in the Jordanian capital Amman this month, Speaker Fawzia Zainal said that Bahrain insisted on a just and comprehensive solution for the Palestinian cause and on the Palestinians obtaining their legitimate rights and their fully independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
However, Mohammad Khalid, a former lawmaker who represented Al Menbar Islamist Society during the 2002-2006 and 2006- 2010 parliamentary terms before resigning from it in 2010, said he condemned her reference to East Jerusalem and not Jerusalem.
Many Arabs insist that Jerusalem must remain a united and indivisible city that will be the capital of Palestine. Any reference to parts of Jerusalem would mean readiness to share it with Israel and a recognition of Israeli rights in the city and of the State of Israel.
“I object and strongly condemn the statement by the Speaker as she addressed the Arab parliamentarians when she referred in her speech about Palestine to the Palestinian capital as ‘East Jerusalem’. This is a recognition of the Zionist enemy. Her reference to the Palestinian capital does not represent the people of Bahrain,” the former MP posted on his Twitter account.
However, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa rejected the claims and insisted that Zainal’s statements about Palestine were correct.
“The speech of the Speaker included the correct position that is committed to the Arab Peace Initiative, the decisions of the Arab summits and the resolutions of the United Nations that guarantee all the legitimate rights of the brotherly Palestinian people,” Shaikh Khalid posted.
“Other expressions are purely emotional, have no basis and are not distant from the logic of the Israeli occupier.”
The reference to East Jerusalem as a capital for Palestine has been mentioned by Arab politicians since the early 1970s.
The Arab peace Initiative, a Saudi-inspired peace plan adopted by the Arab summit in Beirut, 2002, called upon Israel to affirm “the acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Only Egypt and Jordan have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Zainal made history in Bahrain by becoming the first woman to be elected Speaker of the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament in December.