Israeli military chief wants closer Saudi ties as Iran tensions rise

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir Riyadh

Eisenkot said in the interview that "we have no intention of initiating a conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon and reaching a war, but we can not accept strategic threats to Israel there".

"With President Donald Trump, there is a chance for a new worldwide alliance in the region and a major strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat", Eisenkot said.

Saudi Arabia asked Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Sunday to condemn what Riyadh and its allies see as Iran's meddling in Arab affairs and its alleged support for militias in the region, according to Arab diplomats.

In a resolution long on criticism but short on concrete steps, Arab foreign ministers who met in Cairo Sunday delivered a tirade of criticism against Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, saying Tehran was destabilizing the region. Sadat was "a courageous leader who went against the stream and paved the way for other Arab leaders to recognize the importance of strategic ties with Israel", Liberman wrote.

Israel's military chief has given an "unprecedented" interview to a Saudi newspaper underlining the ways in which the two countries could unite to counter Iran's influence in the region.

Gadi Eisenkot gave a rare interview with the London-based Saudi-owned newspaper Elaph.

The Arab League meeting in Cairo

That plan makes those relations contingent on a full withdrawal by Israel from territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war, including East Jerusalem.

And earlier this month, Lebanese premier Saad Hariri appeared on Saudi television from Riyadh to resign, reportedly on the orders of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been promoting the idea that his country's ties with Arab nations are improving, and some experts have said there are signs that shared concerns over Iran are indeed nudging them closer.

"The ballistic missile launched on my country's capital reflects the repeated Iranian attacks against the kingdom, which witnessed the launch of 80 Iranian ballistic missiles through its Houthi agent in Yemen, which was exposed to various cities in the Kingdom, and did not care about the Muslims' Qiblah by launching three ballistic missiles in a blatant attack on Islamic sanctity and a provocation to the feelings of Muslims around the world". "We have said it publicly that we will not accept the Iranian position in Syria in general, and especially their position west of the Damascus-Suwayda Road".

At the same time, the chief of the General Staff of the Israeli Armed Forces noted the readiness of Tel Aviv to exchange intelligence with Riyadh to neutralize threats from Tehran.

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