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Israeli Defense Minister Supports Regional Alliance Replacing Washington | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Turkish flag flutters atop the Turkish embassy as an Israeli flag is seen nearby, in Tel Aviv, Israel June 26. Reuters

Tel Aviv- Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said he prefers to form a “regional alliance to fight terrorism including Israel and moderate Arab countries.”

His comments came after political and military Israeli and U.S. groups had posed on the table of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump the ratification of a joint defensive alliance agreement.

Although Lieberman did not clearly express his views concerning the issue, his comrades asserted that the defense minister fears that the proposed Israeli-U.S. alliance would upset Russia with which he has close ties.

Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper quoted Lieberman as saying that “forming a regional alliance to fight terrorism that would include moderate Arab countries will also help build confidence between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Previous Israeli governments are known for having all discussed a defense agreement with the U.S. on several occasions since the creation of their state in 1948. However, the idea was never transformed into reality because some figures in the Israeli camp fear such an agreement would upset Russia while others are concerned the U.S. might use it to provoke Arabs.

Separately, the political strategic negotiation between Israel and Turkey resumed on Thursday in Ankara at the level of director generals of the foreign ministries, after a more than six-year lull.

Israeli sources said the discussions are considered an upgrade in normalizing relations between the countries and the start of a new phase of friendship and cooperation.

Israel’s relations with Turkey deteriorated in 2010, after a “Free Gaza Flotilla” tried to break Israel’s naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The meetings on Thursday prepares for the visit of the acting director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Yuval Rotem, to Turkey in about two weeks to start the management of in-depth talks between the governments of both countries.

A high-ranking Israeli official said talks between Rotem and his Turkish counterpart is expected to solve political issues such as the civil war in Syria, relations with Russia, and the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Turkish newspapers published in the past couple of days carried reports about the Turkish government’s plan to upgrade relations with Israel.