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Netanyahu: Conflict with Palestinians Obstructs Building Ties with Arab World

Netanyahu: Conflict with Palestinians Obstructs Building Ties with Arab World

Tuesday, 12 November, 2019 - 08:45
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office December 2, 2018. Gali Tibbon/Pool via REUTERS

While opinion polling showed that a majority of Israelis are not interested in settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted on Monday that the continuation of this conflict is an obstacle to establishing relations or developing existing relations with the Arab world.

Netanyahu’s remarks came during a speech he gave at a conference marking 25 years since the peace agreement with Jordan was signed.

He also noted that his government maintains relations with six Arab countries, and has a strong desire to establish relations with more, but it often clashes with the barrier of the Palestinian cause.

Arab states, even Egypt and Jordan, demand a settlement of the Palestinian issue first.

The conference was put together by Israeli lawmaker Merav Michaeli and included members of Knesset and Netanyahu.

The Israeli prime minister claimed that his country is providing aid to Jordan both publicly and covertly.

Israel had sought to stage a joint event to commemorate the current 25th anniversary of its peace agreement with Jordan, but Amman refused, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Monday.

This conference coincided with the publication of the results of a poll on Israeli attitudes towards foreign relations, which indicated that the majority of Israelis are not interested in the peace process with the Palestinians.

The 2019 Israeli Foreign Policy Index by the Mitvim Institute showed that if Blue and White leader Benny Gantz were to become prime minister, 25% of the respondents said that Israel’s foreign relations would improve, 30% that they would deteriorate and 27% that there would be no change.

However, 71% of the respondents stated that the peace with Amman was and still is a strategic asset for Israel. Moreover, 68% of the respondents answered that cooperation with other Middle Eastern countries was possible.

When asked which country in the world is the most important for Israel after the US, almost half of the respondents (48%) said Russia, representing a six point increase since 2018.

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