Befriending Israel Detrimental to Arabs

Befriending Israel Detrimental to ArabsBefriending Israel Detrimental to Arabs

Establishing relations with the Israeli regime and forming an alliance to oppose Iran would be against the interests of Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states, a parliamentarian warned.

Ali Bakhtiar made the statement in a Friday interview with ICANA, reacting to reports that the US administration is contacting some Arab states, namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan and Egypt, with proposals to form a US-backed defense pact that would share intelligence with Israel and counter Iran's influence in the region.

Under the plan, the Arab states would normalize relations with Israel and push Palestinians to compromise with the Zionist regime.

On February 15, US President Donald Trump met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House and during a press conference, both hinted at forging Arab-Israeli cooperation. The lawmaker said the Israeli regime, which has been occupying Palestinian lands for about seven decades, is the root cause of regional crises.

"The Zionist regime seeks to exploit [divisions] in the Muslim world to damage Muslim states. Iran is a pretext for attacking Islam," he said.

Bakhtiar said leaders of Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states should not play into the hands of Israel and its western supporters.

"Such an approach would cause nothing but destruction in the region and weaken Muslim states," he said. Bakhtiar called on the government to use its diplomatic capacity to settle misunderstandings with some regional countries.

Iran's relations with some Persian Gulf Arab neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia, have declined to unprecedented lows in recent years over various conflicts, including those in Syria and Yemen.  

At the 53rd Munich Security Conference last month, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Israel's minister for military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, directed separate but notably similar tirades against the Islamic Republic. They claimed Iran is a supporter of "terrorism" and poses the "main threat" to the region.

"Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world," Jubeir told delegates at the Munich conference, adding that the "international community" needed to set clear "redlines" to halt Iran's actions.

Lieberman claimed Iran's ultimate objective was to undermine Saudi Arabia. "The real division is not Jews, Muslims ... but moderate people versus radical people."

Their comments came after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated Iran's previous proposal to establish a regional platform for dialogue between the Islamic Republic and its Persian Gulf neighbors. Zarif said Persian Gulf states should surmount "the current state of division and tension" and move to form a "realistic regional security arrangement".

"The forum can promote understanding under a broad spectrum of issues, including confidence- and security-building measures, and combating terrorism, extremism and sectarianism," Zarif said.

Before the conference, in mid-February, President Hassan Rouhani paid a visit to the Persian Gulf states of Oman and Kuwait, his first since becoming president in 2013. It was in connection with a late January message by the six-member (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council relayed to Tehran through Kuwait on settling all differences through dialogue.


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