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Arabic press review: Israeli delegation set to visit Bahrain - again

Despite no formal relations between the two countries, an Israeli delegation is set to visit Bahrain on 24 June for a Unesco meeting
Bahrain's King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa delivers a speech in Manama (AFP)

(Another) Israel delegation to visit Bahrain

Bahrain will host an Israeli delegation this month for meetings of the World Heritage Committee, organised by Unesco and the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, local newspaper Akhbar al-Khaleej reports.

The meetings, scheduled to be held on 24 June, will be sponsored by Bahraini ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

Like most Arab countries, Bahrain does not officially recognise Israel, though it has signalled over the past year that it could be on the cusp of normalising relations.

Last year, Bahrain hosted its first ever visit of an Israeli official at FIFA's 67th congress which was hosted in Manama.

Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities' world heritage advisor Mounir Bouchenaki told Akhbar al-Khaleej that Bahrain will avoid politicising the meetings, despite Israel's participation.

"The meeting is international, and any country in the United Nations has the right to participate, including Israel," he said, adding that the Palestinians will also attend.

Jordanian-Qatari relationship to resume soon

Political sources in Amman have suggested that Qatari-Jordanian relations will be resumed in the near future, according to online news site Arabi21.

Sources in Jordan told Arabi21 that "an imminent sovereign decision, which will be issued soon, requires the return of diplomatic representation between Jordan and Qatar".

Last week, Qatar's deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, came to the Jordanian capital to announce that Qatar would provide $500m in aid and thousands of job opportunities for the kingdom.

"Jordan's hosting of the Qatari foreign minister and the announcement of the acceptance of Qatari aid mean that there is a will to resume relationships between both countries," a Jordanian politician told Arabi21.

A Jordanian official, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: "Qatari aid was clear, straightforward and much better than the Saudi and UAE aid, which were approved at the recent Mecca summit."

Jordan expelled Qatar's ambassador to the kingdom last June as the blockade enforced by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt against the emirate began. 

Bin Laden's driver arrested in Libya

Libyan forces have arrested Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a former driver for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

Sources stated that bin Qumu will be interrogated at the headquarters of General Khalifa Haftar in the Ar Rajmah area outside the city of Benghazi.

Bin Qumu drove for Bin Laden while he was living in Sudan, and participated in recent fighting in Libya, according to the paper.

According to Asharq al-Awsat, bin Qumu had been living in Derna where he established the militant group Ansar al-Sharia. He was considered one of the most wanted militants in Libya.

France blocks Gaza flotilla

French police prevented two boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists - who were heading to the Gaza Strip - from docking at the banks of the Seine River in the capital Paris on Sunday, according to the Algerian newspaper, al-Khabar.

Dozens of supporters, waving Palestinian flags and chanting "stop the massacre committed against Palestinians," gathered next to the river to greet the two boats as they passed through Paris, escorted by police boats.

Tawfiq Tahani, honorary president of the France-Palestine Solidarity Association, said that the two boats had been subjected to a thorough police inspection the previous day and had been prevented from docking in Paris.

*Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

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