Israel’s Netanyahu warns Saudi Arabia of ‘misery’ with Iran after recent deal

The Israeli premier said peace with Saudi Arabia could end in “many ways” the conflict between Israel and the Arab states.

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Israel’s embattled prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in comments aired Wednesday that Saudi Arabia struck a deal with Iran in order to end the war in Yemen while warning that partners of Iran suffered “misery.”

“I think it has probably a lot more to do with the desire to de-escalate or even eliminate the long-standing conflict in Yemen,” Netanyahu said in an interview with CNBC. “I think that Saudi Arabia, the leadership there, has no illusions about who are their adversaries, and who are their friends in the Middle East,” he said.

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But he cautioned partnering with Iran. “Those who partner with Iran partner with misery. Look at Lebanon, look at Yemen, look at Syria, look at Iraq; these are countries that are almost on the failed states status,” Netanyahu commented. He added: “95 percent of the problems in the Middle East emanate from Iran.”

Netanyahu was referring to the recent China-backed deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic and economic ties.

He went on to repeat his hope for normalizing ties between Riyadh and Israel. “I think it would be another huge quantum leap for peace,” Netanyahu said, and voicing his belief that this could end the Arab-Israeli conflict. “I’m not saying it would end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Palestinians are about 2 percent of the Arab world, but it would end in many ways the conflict between Israel and the Arab states.”

Israel’s top diplomat on Wednesday said that a visit to Saudi Arabia was an option “on the table” and that at least one Arab country would normalize ties with Israel this year.

As for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Netanyahu played down recent reports from Beijing that they had a plan to resolve this.

“Look, we respect China and deal with China a great deal. But we also know we have an indispensable alliance with our great friend, the United States,” he said.

China’s foreign minister said this week that he relayed to his Palestinian and Israeli counterparts Beijing’s willingness to facilitate peace talks.

Read more: Ties between US, Saudi Arabia improving despite recent China-backed deal with Iran

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