Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Arab countries view Israel as an “indispensable ally” fighting Iran and the Islamic State group.
That evaluation, he told Brazil’s Globo TV during a visit to Rio de Janeiro, has caused “a revolution in relations with the Arab world.”
The comments came as Israel has reportedly been stepping up airstrikes on Iranian positions in neighboring Syria, and digesting an abrupt decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw US troops from Syria.
Netanyahu has repeatedly warned that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons to destroy his country.
Israel, he said, had shown itself to be active in battling “radical Islam, violent Islam — either the one led by radical Shiites led by Iran, or the one led by the radical Sunnis led by Daesh (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda.”
“Unfortunately we have not made any advance with the Palestinians. Half of them are already under the gun of Iran and of radical Islam,” Netanyahu added, referring to Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Asked if he could ever contemplate sitting down with an Iranian leader to talk peace, Netanyahu replied: “If Iran remains committed to our destruction the answer is no.”
The only way, he said, would be “if Iran undergoes a total transformation.”
Netanyahu was in Brazil to attend Tuesday’s inauguration of the Latin American country’s new pro-Israel president, Jair Bolsonaro.
On the sidelines of the ceremony, Netanyahu was to hold talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is also among the visiting dignitaries.
They were expected to discuss the US troop pullout from Syria and Iranian activities in the Middle East.