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Netanyahu hails “historic achievement” in Warsaw

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the US-led Warsaw summit as a “historic achievement” for Israel as Washington seeks a new coalition to confront the threat of Iran.

Netanyahu told a group of Israeli journalists after the event that: “Four out of five Arab foreign ministers who addressed the conference spoke strongly and clearly against Iran, saying exactly what I’ve been saying for years. They were as clear as possible about the issue, and Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian aggression.”

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa hinted of diplomatic relations between his country and Israel in the future. In a video released after the conference by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, but subsequently deleted, al-Khalifa said: “We got used to treating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the most important thing. But we saw that there is a greater challenge, a more toxic one, the most toxic in modern history — Iran. If it were not for Iran’s toxic money, its weapons and troops on the ground, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could have been solved already.”

UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was asked about Israel’s military campaign against Iranian forces in Syria. He said: “Every nation has the right to defend itself, when it’s challenged by another nation, yes.”

The Warsaw meeting was attended by more than 60 countries, including 11 from the Middle East, but Germany and France only sent junior ministers. US Vice President Mike Pence criticised Washington’s EU allies over their efforts to shield their businesses from US sanctions on Iran. He said the scheme the EU has set up to facilitate trade with Iran was: “An effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime”.

Writing in Haaretz, Nabil Shaath, senior adviser to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said: “By fully siding with the Israeli government, (the Americans) have tried to normalise the Israeli occupation and the systematic denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination.”