Reprinted from Honest Reporting.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday sat down with the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, respectively, ahead of his speech before the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday.
It marked Bennett’s first face-to-face talks with senior ministers from the initial Arab countries that signed onto the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords, which established formal diplomatic ties between the Jewish state and Abu Dhabi and Manama.
Both Sudan and Morocco subsequently followed suit.
“I am so very happy to meet you,” the Israeli leader said, adding, “I felt it’s important that we meet after a year of the Abraham Accords, which, from our perspective, is very meaningful….
“I want to tell you,” Bennett continued, “that I met the king of Jordan and the president of Egypt and they are of course delighted with the relationship between our countries, and I want to assure you of continuity. We are stable and we believe in this relationship and we want to expand it as much as possible,” he insisted.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will use his United Nations General Assembly address to push for urgent action against Iran while highlighting Israel’s unique qualities as a nation of “innovation” and “optimism.”
According to a senior advisor in the prime minister’s office, Bennett’s speech will draw attention to “Israel’s place in the less sympathetic region we live in, and Israel’s place in the wider global context, where there is good news and there is bad news.”
A major part of the address will reportedly be dedicated to the threat of Tehran’s nuclear program, with the premier expected to warn that a “critical stage” has been reached in terms of the Islamic Republic’s enrichment program and the potential resumption of talks that would see the moribund 2015 nuclear deal revived.
His speech will come just 24 hours after UN inspectors were denied access to Iran’s Kraj centrifuge assembly site, which Tehran accused Israel of sabotaging several months ago.
The International Atomic Energy Agency officials were turned away despite a deal struck earlier this month that granted them access to the facility to replace and install cameras.
A major terror attack was foiled when five alleged members of a Hamas cell were killed by Israeli security forces during West Bank raids on Saturday.
In a plan reminiscent of the Second Intifada in the early-2000s, officials say Hamas wanted to carry out a series of kidnappings, murders and an attack on Jerusalem.
According to local reports, the counter-terrorism operation was sparked after Israel uncovered evidence that the perpetration of a terror plot was imminent.
The Israeli Defense Forces believe a number of members of the Hamas cell are still on the loose, even as some 20 Palestinians accused of being members of the US-designated terror group have recently been detained.
Officials say the arrested suspects maintained a direct line of communication to Hamas members in the Gaza Strip.
Arrest warrants have been issued for three prominent Iraqi leaders after they took part in a conference that called for peace with Israel.
Reports say the conference, which was organized by the US-based Center for Peace Communications and held in the northern city of Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), was attended by more than 300 people.
Sunni and Shiite leaders at the meeting are said to have supported the idea of Iraq normalizing relations with the Jewish state by joining the Abraham Accords, which have to date formalized diplomatic relations between Israel and four Arab nations.
However, when news of the confab reached officials in Baghdad it sparked fury, with the government describing it as “illegal.”
Arrest warrants were then issued for tribal leader Wissam al-Hardan, Culture Ministry official Sahar al-Tai, and ex-parliamentarian Mithal al-Alusi.
Tai made a speech at the gathering in which she was quoted as saying: “We demand our integration into the Abraham Accords.”
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