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Gulf diplomatic crises: Israel says tensions may open up possibilities of anti-terror coalition

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.

Israel has long faced resistance to its efforts to improve ties with Arab nations in the region because of its 50-year occupation of Palestinian territory.

File image of Israel's foreign minister Avigdor LiebermanReuters

File image of Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.Reuters

It has, however, recently seen increased behind-the-scenes cooperation with some Arab countries, particularly in their opposition to Iran and in the fight against jihadists in the region.

"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.

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, Islamic State and Al-Qaeda".

Updated Date: Jun 05, 2017 21:47 PM

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