In Clip Leaked by Netanyahu, Bahraini FM Seen Attacking Iran & Defending Israel

2019-02-16 - 7:43 p

Bahrain Mirror: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office on Thursday leaked a video in which the foreign ministers of three Arab countries, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, can be seen harshly attacking Iran and defending Israel.

The Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said that confronting the Islamic Republic is more pressing than solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The 25-minute YouTube clip, a link that Netanyahu's office sent to several Israeli reporters, showed a segment from a panel discussion at the opening gala of the Warsaw Middle East conference, which was closed to the press.

Less than 30 minutes after reporters published the clip, the Israeli PM removed the video from his YouTube channel.

In the clip, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan indicated that Israel was justified in attacking Iranian targets in Syria. "Every nation has the right to defend itself, when it's challenged by another nation, yes," he answered in response to a question by the panel's moderator.

The Bahraini FM noted that the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians would have been at a much better place if not for Iran's malign behavior.

We grew up talking about the Israel-Palestine issue as the most important issue" that has to be "solved, one way or another." he said. "But then, at a later stage, we saw a bigger challenge, we saw a more toxic one - in fact the more toxic one in our history - that came from the Islamic Republic."

If it wasn't for Iran's regional aggression, "we would have been much closer today in solving this issue with Israel," Khalifa continued on.

"When we come to Israel-Palestine, we had the Camp David agreement [between Israel and Egypt in 1978]. There was [the 1991] Madrid [Conference]. There were many other ways of solving it, and had we stayed on the same path, and if it wasn't for the ... guns and foot soldiers of the Islamic Republic, I think we would have been much closer today in solving this issue with Israel. But this is a serious challenge that is preventing us now from moving forward anywhere, be it Syria, be it Yemen, be it Iraq, be it anywhere," he concluded.

For his part, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, who served as the country's foreign minister until December 2018, argued that Iran's belligerent activities destabilize the region, thus making Israeli-Palestinian peace impossible to achieve.

"Look at the Palestinians: Who is supporting Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and undercutting the Palestinian Authority? Iran," he said. "We cannot stabilize the region without peace between Israelis and Palestinians [but] wherever we go we find Iran's evil behavior."

He also had some harsh words for the Lebanese Hezbollah party. "One of the biggest jokes is when you say Hezbollah has a political wing and a military wing. There is no such thing," he said.

"Iran gives ballistic missiles to the Houthis [in Yemen] and Hezbollah. Who's going to suffer? We do, in the region. And so people have to be serious about how to deal with the problem of Iran," he further stated.

Jubeir added that he wished for Iran to change and become a "normal country."

"That would be the best for all of us," he said. "But they're not there yet. Any attempt to be nice to them, if anything, encourages them, rather than discourages them."

Ambassador Dennis Ross, a veteran US official, later tweeted of the event: "Same room, same views of Iran's aggressive, threatening posture in the Middle East, and unmistakable convergence of what should be done to counter it."

Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister, was critical of Netanyahu's office's leaking of the clip, saying Netanyahu was endangering relations with Arab states for political purposes.

"Relations between nations are based, among other things, on trust between leaders. The filming and leaking by [Netanyahu] of statements made in a closed room, for internal election politics, is unconscionable," she said.

"For years I have had quiet contact with Arab leaders with whom we do not share diplomatic relations, and I never publicized anything from those meetings."

 

Arabic Version

 



المصدر: Bahrain Mirror
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