Israel warns Iran that its missiles can travel 'very far'

Lamar Ellis
February 14, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent out a rallying cry to Arab nations at a US -sponsored Middle East conference in Poland on Wednesday, saying he planned to focus on the "common interest of combating Iran".

The Israeli prime minister's office later softened the statement to read "combatting Iran", but there's little doubt that Tehran remains a central focus of the ministerial meeting, even with a list of agenda items that include Syria and Yemen.

The conference opening on Wednesday evening was originally touted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as focusing on Iran's regional actions, but organizers have since dialed down the emphasis on Tehran.

"I think that holding this conference, in which Israel, the USA, various countries around the world and from the region sit down in one place. and discuss one topic-which, in my opinion, is the most important for our national security-is a very important achievement".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah Wednesday on the sidelines of Warsaw's Middle East conference, telling him that the recent rapprochement between the two countries was "changing the world".

Netanyahu's surprising October 26, 2018, visit to Oman marked the first time an Israeli leader publicly visited the Gulf state since 1996. Israel and Oman have unofficial economic relations but not formal diplomatic relations.

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Speaking to Netanyahu, bin Alawi said: "People in the Middle East have suffered a lot because they have stuck to the past. This is a new era for the future, and for prosperity for all the nations".

"The result of this conference ideally would be a demonstration of Iranian isolation and unity amongst American allies in Europe and the Middle East", said William Wechsler, senior adviser for Middle East programs at the Atlantic Council in Washington. "But Netanyahu and Gulf countries are eager to focus on Iran".

Netanyahu and bin Alawi are now in Warsaw to attend a so-called "Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East", which is being co-organized by the United States and Poland.

Hosting the meeting is a chance for Poland's conservative government to bolster ties with Washington at a time when it is increasingly isolated within the European Union amid a dispute over its adherence to rule-of-law standards.

Netanyahu says he doesn't think the Trump administration's "Deal of the Century" peace plan will be discussed.

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