Bahrain Approves Israeli Journalists' Attendance at Mideast Conference Despite No Diplomatic Ties

White House team in charge of Mideast peace plan worked to ensure that Bahrain would allow six Israeli reporters access to cover the conference

FILE Photo: Bahrain's King Hamed bin Isa Al Khalifa smiles during a palace ceremony in Sakhir, Bahrain, March 20, 2012.

Israeli journalists have been approved by Bahrain to cover next week's conference on the Palestinian economy in Manama, despite not having official diplomatic relations with Israel.

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The White House team in charge of the Middle East peace plan worked to ensure that Bahrain would allow six Israeli reporters, including one from Haaretz, access to cover the conference. 

Arab countries that don't have official diplomatic relations with Israel, including Bahrain, don't usually allow Israelis to enter unless they have foreign passports.

In the past, Israeli journalists have visited Qatar and the UAE before, but there has never been an Israeli press delegation in Bahrain. The fact that Bahrain will allow Israeli journalists to cover the conference is an achievement for the White House, after several weeks of difficult news regarding its peace plan. 

On Tuesday, Haaretz reported that journalists from Israel and other countries were facing difficulties in getting accreditation to the conference. The Bahraini government and the White House finalized a list of reporters who will be able to attend the conference on Wednesday evening, including the Israeli group. Some parts of the conference will also be broadcast live online. 

The conference will not include official Israeli representatives, and it is being boycotted by the Palestinian Authority. The countries that will send representatives include Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The United States is expected to be represented by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and by Jared Kushner, President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law.