Netanyahu’s War Talk
While attending the Warsaw conference that is ostensibly committed to promoting “peace and stability” in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu let loose with this statement:
“What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister’s official Twitter account used the exact same wording:
What is important about this meeting. and it is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) February 13, 2019
This isn’t a case of Netanyahu’s words being taken out of context or misinterpreted. The prime minister’s own official account used this wording because this is the message that Netanyahu wanted to convey. It should come as no surprise that someone who has railed against Iran throughout his career would use language like this. The prime minister has talked up the idea of bombing Iran for years, and his government has obviously been attacking Iranian targets inside Syria for quite a while. Netanyahu said this in the context of talking about attacking Iranian forces in Syria and forcing them out of the country:
“What we are doing is pushing and driving Iran from Syria. We are committed to doing this,” he said.
Netanyahu seems to be trying to create the illusion of broader regional support for possible escalation against Iran in Syria and Lebanon. He may be interested in war with Iran, but most Arab states don’t actually have any interest in war with Iran if they are the ones that have to fight it. The Omani government whose foreign minister Netanyahu just met at the conference certainly has no desire for such a war. In any case, the prime minister has helped to confirm that the Warsaw conference is a poorly-disguised anti-Iran gathering.