Source: Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel can normalize ties with Arab states if ‘we act wisely’ – Israel News – Jerusalem Post
March 8, 2017 10:58
PM points to the ad hoc regional coalition that is being consolidated against Iran and could open doors for normalizing Israel’s relations with regional countries.
Netanyahu and Dichter at the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee . (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel is the strongest country in the Middle East and should use its stance as leverage, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Netanyahu stressed that both diplomatically and militarily, Israel is strong and only getting stronger. Netanyahu added that by understanding regional interests, Israel could achieve diplomatic ties with regional Arab countries.
In his address, the prime minister mentioning the ad hoc regional coalition that is being consolidated against Iran and could open doors for normalizing Israel’s relations with its neighboring countries.
“I believe in nurturing these interests,” he said. “In my opinion, if we act wisely, it could assist us normalizing ties with countries in the region and opening new diplomatic streams – that could be more efficient – between us and the Palestinians.”
Turning to Israel’s military prowess, he stated: “Our military power is stronger than ever – not only in absolute terms but also in relative terms.”
Netanyahu then mentioned the NIS 38 billion military aid agreement that was signed with the US in 2016 as a factor in boosting Israel’s capabilities.
“This stable aid will allow the IDF and other military services to use the most recent and sophisticated technology in the world,” he said.
Netanyahu also stated that in the diplomatic sphere, Israel is widening its influence.
“Three weeks ago I met with US President Donald Trump,” he said. “Tomorrow I will arrive to Moscow to meet [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, in about 10 days I am scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi [Jinping] after receiving an invitation from him, and in several months Indian President [Narendra] Modi will come here to visit.”
“The biggest world powers are tightening their ties with us – and they are not the only ones.” Netanyahu added that in 2016 he met with some 250 senior world leaders from all five continents.
“Israel is being sought after, it is a wanted country – first of all because of our cyber technology knowledge – both civilian and military,” he said.
MK Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Union) interrupted Netanyahu and asked where all of the international community’s said desire to be close to Israel was when the controversial United Nations Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements passed last December.
“We can see support for Israel in the different international bodies, but not always, as we saw in the UNSC when the Obama administration ended,” Netanyahu replied. “But everyone can see the positive changes in the diplomatic arena, that are opening new markets for us and bares with it new opportunities.”
When it comes to threats on Israel’s security, the reiterated that Iran ranks above all.
“Iran and its satellite forces such as Hezbollah, the Islamic Movement and Hamas are accumulating weapons, and their aggression can be felt all over the region,” he said. “This challenge is always in front of us and we are prepared.”
Netanyahu added that the change of power in the US is being viewed as positive change when it comes to dealing with Iran. “One of our ways of dealing with Iran is encouraging this change of approach in the US that assists us to stand strong against the Iranian threat.”
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