A delegation from Bahrain has reportedly arrived in Israel on a four-day visit for talks with Israeli officials, days after US President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, according to Israeli media.
The delegation is comprised of faith leaders from a number of religions and religious committees who will visit Jerusalem and its holy sites bringing with them a message of peace and tolerance in the midst of Trump's highly divisive declaration.
Palestinians kicked out a Bahraini interfaith delegation from Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday, according to Palestinian news agencies.
Bahrain has sent a group of political and religious figures to Israel to demonstrate the Gulf kingdom's commitment to religious pluralism and its intention to deepen ties with the Jewish state, an Israeli cabinet member said.
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Documents released by WikiLeaks in 2011 highlighted Bahrain's contacts with Israel "at the intelligence/security level" and indicated that the Gulf country was "willing to move forward in other areas".
The visit of the Bahraini delegation was announced in September, when King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa denounced Arab states' boycotts of Israel at a multi-national religious tolerance event in Los Angeles, hosted by the city's Simon Wiesenthal Center, and declared that his subjects would be free to visit Israel.
"The scale of our cooperation with Arab countries has yet to be set, but it is better than ever". He said he expects a regional conference to be held in 2018 to advance peaceful ties between Arab countries and Israel.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - now occupied by Israel - might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
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