Netanyahu and Arab leaders agree confronting Iran is key to Middle East peace 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with representatives of more than 60 countries last week at a summit co-sponsored by the U.S. and Poland. It was the first time an Israeli leader and senior Arab officials attended an international gathering centered on the Middle East since the 1991 Madrid peace conference, reported The Times of Israel

Speaking to reporters in Warsaw, Netanyahu called the meetings – officially called the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East – a historic turning point in Israel’s relations with Arab states.  

“In a room of some 60 foreign ministers and representatives of dozens of governments, an Israeli prime minister and the foreign ministers of leading Arab countries stood together and spoke – with unusual force, clarity and unity – against the common threat of the Iranian regime,” Netanyahu said.  

“This marks a change and an important understanding of what threatens our future and what we need to do to secure it,” he said, as well as “the possibility of cooperation that extends beyond security in every realm of life or peoples in the Middle East.”  

Mideast Peace Requires Confronting Iran 

Several closed-door meetings left reporters scrambling to determine what the summit accomplished. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, in response to a reporter’s question, “You can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran. It’s just not possible.”  

Pompeo elaborated that Iran is “a malign influence in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, the three H’s - the Houthis, Hamas, and Hezbollah. There are others as well, but you can’t get peace in the Middle East without pushing back against Iran.” 

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz posted a leaked video from a closed-door session on their website but later removed it. Aljazeera reported contents of a video of Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, calling Bahrain “the staunchest Gulf supporter of Saudi Arabia’s tough line against Iran.” 

Aljazeera reported that, “Bahrain’s foreign minister was heard saying Iran poses a ‘more toxic challenge’ to the region than Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.’” The foreign minister was talking to fellow delegates, according to the report.  

“We grew up talking about the Palestine-Israel dispute as the most important issue,” al-Khalifa said. “But then … we saw a bigger challenge, more toxic – in fact the most toxic in our modern history – which came from the Islamic Republic. If it wasn’t for the toxic money, guns and foot soldiers of the Islamic Republic, I think that we would (be) much closer today in solving this issue with Israel.” 

Countries Stayed Away 

While it was encouraging to see so many countries in attendance, several were noticeably absent from the event. 

The Los Angeles Times named Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Tunisia as Arab attendees and noted that the Palestinian Authority (PA) declined.  

Despite the declarations of the historic nature of the larger event by Netanyahu and others, Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, former Saudi intelligence chief and ex-ambassador to the US and UK, told Israeli Channel 13, “Israeli public opinion should not be deceived into believing that the Palestinian issue is a dead issue. Mr. Netanyahu would like us to have a relationship, and then we can fix the Palestinian issue. From the Saudi point of view, it’s the other way around.”  

Russia, Turkey and China also declined the meeting, and Iran wasn’t invited. 

Russia held a simultaneous conference. UPI reported, saying. “Russian President Vladimir Putin held a summit of his own in Sochi, Russia, that included Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.  
 
Please pray with us that constructive talks with Arab nations about Middle East peace will continue. Also pray for protection of Jewish people experiencing anti-Semitism, terrorism and the potential of war with Iran and its proxies. 
 
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