The Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, held the first meeting with journalists in the Gulf, in which he praised the peace efforts of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
At the start of a videoconference with journalists and representatives of civil society in the Gulf, organized by the Arab Council for Regional Integration, Gantz said that bin Salman and bin Zayed had a “march in fighting terrorism and supporting peace in the region”.
Gantz added that “this distinguished session in light of the challenges that the world faces and that we share together represented in extremism, and what the world suffers from the repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic, so it is very distinctive and constructive”.
“There aren’t as many generals in favor of peace as I do… Let’s remember that there are people on the other side,” Gantz added.
Gantz considered peace as a better strategic response to confront Iran and similar regimes, adding: “I believe that we are stronger than them”.
The Israeli Defense Minister stated, “We have to think, discuss and propose what we can confront the radical forces in the region by reaching peace and stability while we are together, and as long as there is a vision, dialogue and proposals, we will be stronger together in the confrontation”.
And he went on to say: “I see that peace will be strong, distinctive and broader through dialogue and discussions between us, including this Council and through its distinguished channels, and I believe that this current peace with the UAE and Bahrain will lead, as the countries proceed in joint cooperation, to positive strategic developments for the whole region.
He explained, “In Israel, we have distinguished and advanced capabilities in science and medicine in all fields, and they faced challenges that were adventures until they became able to develop and move towards the future”.
“The thing that I hope is that we have some patience, this will take some time,” Gantz said “I think the first thing is education, if we succeed in teaching our children to accept the other, and what is the culture of the other… I have many entrepreneurs returning recently from Abu Dhabi… I told them: Calm down, do not rush, let us do it right, but always, do not try to rush so that we do not end up disappointed.
On Sunday, the Israeli Minister of War accused Turkey of destabilizing the region and working against peacemaking efforts, and called for international pressure to change the behavior of the NATO member state.
Israel avoids publicly blaming Turkey, in light of the continuation of trade and diplomatic relations between the two countries despite the position of the Ankara government in support of the Palestinians for more than a decade.
Gantz described Turkey and Iran as “standing in the way of promoting peace and supporting regional aggression”.
This came in a testimony by a group of journalists from the Arab Gulf states, after establishing relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Iran, the main enemy of Israel, and Turkey have criticized the normalization agreement brokered by the United States on September 15 between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, and considered it a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.
“All of this is pushing away from stability,” Gantz said, referring to the steps that Turkey has taken in northern Syria and the eastern Mediterranean, as well as interference in Libya and contacts with Palestinian Hamas militants.
“Certainly, the issue of Turkey is very complex, because Turkey is part of NATO,” Gantz said in a video conference organized by the Arab Council for Regional Integration, an initiative that encourages Israeli-Arab rapprochement.
Israel, like the United States, says deals with the UAE and Bahrain could be a precursor to an agreement with the Palestinians as well.
This interview came after the UAE and Bahrain signed, on September 15th at the White House, a historic peace agreement with Israel providing for the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with it, in a move that sparked strong condemnation by the Palestinian side.
The list of Arab countries that formally normalized relations with Israel thus includes 4 names, which are Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994, the UAE and Bahrain in 2020.