Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to Arab World: Let’s Form Coalition Against Iran

Avigdor Liberman
AP/Petros Karadjias

TEL AVIV – Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday called on Arab states to make peace with Israel in order to create a coalition against Iran.

Writing on his Facebook page, Liberman referred to late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem 40 years ago, which eventually led to a peace deal. He described Sadat as “a brave leader, who stood against the tide and paved the way for other Arab leaders to recognize the importance of strategic ties with Israel.”

“I call on leaders in the region to follow the path of President Sadat, come to Jerusalem and open a new chapter, not just in terms of Israel’s relations with the Arab world, but for the whole region,” Liberman wrote.

Sadat was the first Arab leader to embark on an official visit to Israel. He was later assassinated for making peace with the Jewish state.

“The Middle East needs, more than anything else, a coalition of moderate countries against Iran. The coalition against the Islamic State has run its course. After IS – Iran,” Liberman added.

While Liberman did not mention any country by name, the post seems to be in sync with recent reports regarding warming ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Last week Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported that the Saudi government is mulling rapprochement with Israel, citing a letter from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to Defense Minister and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, urging the latter to embrace the Trump administration’s push to normalize relations between the Gulf kingdom and Israel.

However, the report was dismissed by some Israeli sources who claimed the newspaper was biased towards Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah.

Jubeir was cited by London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat as calling Hezbollah a “first-class terrorist organization.”

Nevertheless, there have been several other indications of thawing relations, including a Saudi interview with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot – the first interview of its kind – in which Einsenkot said Israel is willing to share intelligence with the Gulf kingdom to combat Iran, “the largest threat to the region.”

The tension with Iran has seen the Jewish state find common ground with Saudi Arabia, which recently declared war on Tehran over a missile targeting Riyadh from the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel group in Yemen.

According to Israel’s Channel 10 news, Saudi Arabia also told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he must either accept a proposal being drafted by the Trump administration aimed at reaching a final status solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or resign, a report the PA denied.