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Netanyahu: Sunni Arab states more realistic about Israeli-Palestinian conflict than EU

January 21, 2016 17:45

"Obviously Israel and the Sunni Arab states are not on opposite sides," PM says at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Netanyahu speaks with CNN's Fareed Zakaria

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested Thursday that many countries in the Arab world now view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a more realistic light than many countries of the European Union do.

Speaking in an onstage interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Netanyahu said that "Saudi Arabia recognizes that Israel is an ally rather than an enemy because of the two principle threats that threaten them, Iran and Daesh," he said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

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"Who can help us? they ask. Obviously Israel and the Sunni Arab states are not on opposite sides," he said.

He jested that he had met with some EU officials the previous day and asked that they show Israel the same understanding as Israel's Arab neighbors, who are the Jewish state's traditional enemies.

"I have one request, that the EU policy vis a vis Israel and the Palestinians merely reflect now the prevailing Arab policy to Israel and the Palestinians."

"There is a great shift taking place...we used to think that if we solved the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it would solve the larger Israeli Arab conflict. The more I look at it, the more I think it may be the other way around. That by nurturing these relationships that are taking place now with the Arab world, that could actually help us resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we're actually working towards that end," he said.

Netanyahu earlier met with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the conference.

Netanyahu's office reported that part of the meeting was held privately between the two leaders and that it was a "very good" meeting.

Kerry and Netanyahu discussed Syria, Iran, Islamic State, and the Palestinian issue.  

Before the meeting with Kerry, Netanyahu met with US Vice President Joe Biden in what was described by the Prime Minister's Office as a "warm and friendly" meeting. The two leaders discussed security, energy, and Middle East strategy issues.

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  • Israel
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