Netanyahu: Arabs will join us against Iran


The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has claimed that shifting alliances in the Middle East are drawing Arab countries closer to the Jewish state in confronting the common enemies of Iran and Islamic State.

In a lengthy speech to the UN general assembly, punctuated by long pauses in which he glared at delegates after denouncing them as “obsessively hostile” to Israel, Netanyahu said he hoped the shared threat posed by Tehran and Islamic State would remake the politics of the region.

“Common dangers are clearly bringing Israel and its Arab neighbours closer and as we work together to thwart those dangers, I hope we’ll build lasting partnerships,” he said.

But Netanyahu spent much of his speech re-fighting the lost battle over the US-led nuclear deal with Iran.

He attempted to tie the agreement, which sees the lifting of sanctions in return for Iran committing to peaceful use of nuclear power and UN monitoring, to the west’s conflict with Isis by saying that easing the embargo on Tehran will only lead to more terrorism.

“Many in our region know that both Iran and Isis are our common enemies and when your enemies are fighting one another, don’t strengthen either one, weaken both,” he said.

He accused Iran of setting up new terror cells in cities around the world.

“This deal doesn’t make peace more likely. By fuelling Iran’s aggressions with billions of dollars in sanctions relief, it makes war likely,” Netanyahu said.

“Unleashed and unmuzzled, Iran will go on the prowl, devouring more and more prey … You think hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and fat contracts will turn this rapacious tiger into a kitten?”

Netanyahu said Israel will not allow Iran “to break in, to sneak in, or to walk into the nuclear weapons club”.

“Make sure Iran’s violations are not swept under the Persian rug. One thing I can assure you: Israel will be watching closely,” he said.

The Israeli prime minister painted much the same apocalyptic vision to the US Congress this year and in earlier addresses to the UN.

But with the Iran agreement sealed, his lengthy denunciation came across more as venting frustration than a serous shot at changing minds.

“It’s not easy to oppose something that is embraced by the greatest powers in the world,” he acknowledged. But he added: “I refuse to be silent.”

After his lengthy criticism of President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement, Netanyahu sought to smooth the waters with the Americans.

“Our differences about the nuclear deal are a disagreement within the family,” he said. But the US delegation sat silently during applause, most of which came from Netanyahu’s supporters who packed the gallery and clapped with unusual vigour.

The Israeli prime minister only got around to speaking about the Palestinians more than half an hour into his speech. Agencies

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