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Israel, Middle East update and analysis – Ehud Yaari on Sky News

Mar 3, 2023

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Veteran Israeli journalist and AIJAC guest Ehud Yaari discussed the current situation with Iran, the Middle East and Israel-Australia relations with Sharri Markson on Sky News Australia, 2 March 2023.

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Sharri Markson: Joining me now is prominent Israeli journalist and political commentator Ehud Yaari, who’s in Sydney today for 24 hours. Ehud, thank you for your time and welcome to us.

Ehud Yaari: My pleasure, my pleasure.

Sharri Markson: I want to start with what we’re seeing in Iran at the moment. We have seen senior Iranian military leaders come out and say that they’ve developed missiles with a reach of 1600 kilometres. How concerning is this? I mean, for all of us, but particularly for Israeli citizens?

Ehud Yaari: Well, the Iranians have already developed missiles long range, which can hit Israel and quite a number of places in Europe and Asia as well. What they are saying now that they have a cruise missile of 1650 kilometres, which is more of a danger than a regular ballistic missile. But our experience is that much of what the Iranians announce is not necessarily reflecting where they are. They are certainly working on developing their arsenal of missiles, of being able to cover more countries in order to deter whatever somebody may have in mind as an operation to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

Sharri Markson: They’ve also been concerns about Russia’s use of Iranian drones in Ukraine. I mean, we’re really seeing this connection, this relationship, the sharing of weapons between Russia, Iran and China.

Ehud Yaari: Well, if I may, China has indicated to the Iranians quite clearly that they prefer their relations with the Arabs, mainly the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, etc., over developing their, let’s call it alliance with Iran. The Iranians are unhappy about it. So were the Iranians are heading now is towards closer cooperation with Russia. They are providing them with the drones, the different types of Shahed attack drones. They are building now, beginning to build a plant in Russia to manufacture those drones and in return, something which may alter the military scene in the Middle East, they are about to start receiving Russian Sukhoi 35, the best that the Russians have now, planes, in order again to make it clear to the Americans, to Israelis, to the Arabs and others that an attack on Iran to stop its nuclear program is not going to be very simple.

Sharri Markson: Yeah, look, we saw last year under the new Labor Australian Government that it withdrew the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Biden hasn’t done the same thing in the US. It was Trump and Scott Morrison who as leaders recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. What do you think of this and how concerned are you or is Benjamin Netanyahu, about the relationship between Australia and Israel under the new Labor government here?

Ehud Yaari: Honestly, we did not understand the Australian move about west Jerusalem. For a very simple reason. Even the Palestinians have no problem with recognising west Jerusalem as Israel, as part of Israel. So Australia withdrawing recognition of west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was something of a surprise to the Palestinians too. I think it’s a different type of relationship that is probably emerging between the current government in Israel and the Labor government in Australia. But it’s workable. What they don’t understand in Israel is, for example, articles like the one published recently by Bob Carr calling for recognition of a Palestinian state where the urgent task now is to rebuild, upgrade and make the Palestinian Authority most effective, more effective before it collapses. That’s the priority, now.

Sharri Markson: Well, I have to tell you, Ehud Yaari, that most of us in Australia don’t understand Bob Carr, either. Thank you very much for your time and enjoy your lightning visit to Australia.

Ehud Yaari: Thank you. I always do.

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