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The New Arab

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu praised these Arab Gulf states for condemning Hezbollah

Israel has grown closer with several Gulf states in recent years [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 September, 2019

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Israel and Hezbollah traded fire over the weekend after Israeli allegedly killed two of the Lebanese militants in an airstrike in Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday praised Bahrain and the UAE for "standing with Israel" against Hezbollah, in the latest outreach to Gulf states.

A week of rising tensions between the Lebanese militant group and Israel culminated with Hezbollah firing two or three anti-tank missiles at a military vehicle over the border on Sunday.

The Israeli military soon responded by shooting around 100 artillery shells into Lebanon. 

While the Lebanese militant group claimed its missile strike had killed and injured Israeli troops, the military said none of its soldiers were injured.

"The aggression of one state against another is prohibited by international law," Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa said on Sunday in a tweet.

"A state standing by, watching battles taking place on its borders and putting its people at in danger is a state that greatly neglects its responsibilities."

Al-Khalifa's Emirati counterpart Anwar Gargash appeared to hit back at Hezbollah directly over the attack.

"The decision to make war, peace or stability should be the decision of the state," he said in a tweet.

Netanyahu - who is vying for the premiership once more on 17 September - praised Bahrain and the UAE for condemning the Hezbollah attack.

"They condemned the helplessness of Lebanon, which allows the Hezbollah terrorist organisation to operate from its territory against Israel," the prime minister said according to Arutz Sheva. "This sounds like the Messianic times, but it shows the fundamental change taking place in the Middle East."

Israel has pursued increasingly warm relations with the Gulf states over the past few years.

While many Arab citizens have decried the countries' normalisation of ties with Israel, states including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have hosted visits by Israeli officials and reported backroom discussions with the country, which does not have formal ties with any of the Gulf states.

However, the Gulf states share with Israel their all-important enmity with regional rival Iran.

"The Arab world also understands that the Iranian aggression endangers not only Israel, but the entire region as well," Netanyahu said.

"I call on additional countries to come out against the aggression of Iran and its proxies."

 

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