Netanyahu meets Omani FM, hints other Arab states warming to Israel


Although it is absent from the stage, Iran is nevertheless taking the spotlight at a Middle East security conference co-hosted by the United States and Poland that has highlighted deep divisions between the USA and some of its traditional allies.

Netanyahu, who met with the Omani foreign minister on the sidelines on Wednesday, called the conference a "historical turning point" in tackling the threat from Iran.

The phrase "war with Iran" stunned many observers, given that Israel and its allies are not now at war with Iran.

Speaking during a visit to a naval base in the northern port of Haifa, Netanyahu said: "The missiles you see behind me can go very far, against any enemy, including Iran's proxies in our region" - an apparent reference to Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement.

He clearly uses the word WAR (מלחמה), but his statement could be interpreted as "in order to advance the shared interest in war vs. Iran" OR "in order to advance the shared interest in fighting/combating Iran". Iran was not invited, nor will the Palestinians have any representation at the summit.

He also confirmed Israel carried out a strike against Iran in Syria a day before.

Around 60 delegations from around the world were expected to be received by Polish President Andrzej Duda at the Royal Castle in Warsaw for the two-day event, but key participants have chose to skip the conference.

Netanyahu - who has been trying to play up his diplomatic gains ahead of Israel's April election - has frequently hinted at warmer ties with Gulf Arab states. The meeting occurred a conference in Poland, The Hill reported. Nevertheless, the fact that a minor translation error can change so much about how we view the USA and Israeli stance toward Iran shows how perilous the devolving relations have become.

Oman hosted the Israeli leader in October and several high-ranking Israeli ministers have also made visits to countries in the Gulf over the past year. Israel lacks both formal diplomatic and economic relations with the United Arab Emirates.

The meeting prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to call his own summit with representatives from Iran and Turkey, which is set to take place in Sochi on Thursday.