A post by the official Israeli Prime Minister’s Twitter account — quoting a statement made Wednesday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the Associated Press — appeared to say that Israel planned to go to “war with Iran.” But the post was quickly deleted and replaced with a tweet displaying the same quote, but substituting the word “combating” for “war.”
Netanyahu made the statement during meetings in Warsaw, Poland, with envoys from what he said were countries from around the world that all stand opposed to Iran, the Twitter account quoted him saying and immediately following a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Oman.
The original, now-deleted version of the quote was captured and posted by journalist Liam O’Hare on his Twitter account, and read, “what is important about this meeting — and it is not in secret, because there are many of those — is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”
According to the Hill, the original tweet was “widely believed” to be a “mistranslation.” But according to the AP report, Netanyahu in his statement to reporters, speaking in Hebrew, used the word מלחמה, or “milchama,” which according to the Glosbe.com Hebrew-English online dictionary translates simply as “war.”
In a subsequent statement, quoted on his official Twitter account, Netanyahu appeared to say that he was referring specifically to Iran’s activities in Syria.
“What we are doing is pushing and driving Iran from Syria,” he said. “It is cold in Warsaw right now but Israel’s foreign relations are warming up, warming up for the better.”
Nonetheless, the AP characterized Netanyahu’s comments as “belligerent,” saying that the Israeli PM’s remarks exceeded his standard anti-Iran rhetoric.
In the United States, Donald Trump’s statements toward Iran appear to line up with Netanyahu’s allegedly belligerent posture. According to a Washington Post analysis published last week, Trump’s public statements have pushed the U.S. in the direction of war with Iran, and Trump’s “words and actions have created greater risk that we could wind up in direct military conflict with our four-decade rival.”
Last July, Trump posted an all-capitalized Twitter message aimed at Iranian leadership in which he warned, “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”