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Israel welcomes Arab states decision to cut ties with Qatar

JERUSALEM: Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday that Arab states’ decision to cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing extremism, could herald a broad anti-terror alliance including Israel.

“There is no doubt that this opens very many possibilities of cooperation in the struggle against terror,” Lieberman told the Israeli parliament in a televised question-and-answer session.

“We saw the United States president visit Saudi Arabia and he spoke first and foremost about a coalition against terror,” he said in a reference to Donald Trump’s trip last month.

“The state of Israel is really open to cooperation. The ball at the moment is with the other side,” he added.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Yemen, Bahrain and the Maldives all severed diplomatic ties with Doha. Some also cut transport links.

Riyadh accused Qatar of supporting groups, including some backed by Israel’s arch-foe Iran, “that aim to destabilise the region”.

“It is clear to everybody that this morning’s occurrence is just another illustration that even in the Arab states they understand that the real danger to the whole region is not Israel, not the Jews, not Zionism but terrorism,” Lieberman said.

Saudi Arabia said in a statement its measures were the result of “gross violations committed by authorities in Qatar”, accusing Doha of harbouring “terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to destabilise the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh (IS) and Al-Qaeda”.

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