Israeli PM seeks support from Arab neighbors
Published: May 11, 2009 08:25 AM Updated: May 25, 2011 12:45 PM

By Zhang Wen

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Sharm el-Sheikh today to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, seeking Egypt's support in opposing Iran's nuclear efforts.

“It is important for the international community to understand the danger of Iran, not only for Israel,” Guy Kivetz, a spokesman of the Israeli embassy to China, told the Global Times. “Netanyahu will tell Mubarak that Israel and the moderate Arab states should act together in the face of the common threat posed by Iran.”

“On their precaution of Iran, Israel and other Arabic countries share similar interests. Because of the conflict between Shia Islam and Sunni Islam, lots of Arabic countries are suspicious of Iran, where the Shia Islam is the official religion,” said Yin Gang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Netanyahu is also expected to meet Jordanian King Abdullah II before he taking off for Washington on May 18 to meet with Obama, who has vowed to pursue peacemaking in the Middle East, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

“Egypt and Jordan are the two main partners of Israel in the region,” Kivetz said. “We have common goals in strengthening regional stability and moving forward in the peace progress.”

“What we are discussing today is a combined approach of bringing together Arabs, Europeans and the US as a team to create circumstances over the next several months that allow Israelis and Palestinians to sit at the table, ” King Abdullah II said at an earlier news conference in Berlin.

However, US news magazine Time argues that although Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama are not so far apart on the Iran issue, they differ on their reading of Iran's nuclear development timetable.

Haaretz pointed out that Netanyahu's series of trips will test his leadership. He needs immediate action to present a vision of peaceful coexistence between Israel and the Arabs, Haaretz said.

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