Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to Twitter to blast a now-removed tweet posted on the official account of the Israeli Prime Minister's office the other day that appeared to mention a "common interest of war with Iran" that Tel Aviv and a handful of Arab nations could share as "Netanyahu's illusions":
Some of Zarif's followers shared his stance, suggesting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was trying to "gain support for war and more destruction":
This is their desperate attempt of gaining support for war and more destruction — Pompeo, Netanyahu, and their likes are a shame to humanity.— The Real Pompeo (@PompeoThe) 14 February 2019
Israel boasts about making a war coalition with the pathetic puppet Arab states, and the EU wants Iran to stop building missiles for defence?— Persian Gulf (@PersianGulf1953) 13 February 2019
Keep dreaming! pic.twitter.com/5201eBpagf
The war should be against Israel, because of its continuing atrocities against the Palestinians.— Martyn Meacham (@MartynMeacham) 13 February 2019
Others, however, maintained that the initial tweet by the PM of Israel was a misleading translation from Hebrew:
a) It was bad translation. In Hebrew mean to be 'combating'. Though you knew that.— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) 13 February 2019
b) In any case, #Iran has long ago launched campaign of war against Israel — through Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and now via Syria.
Bibi's team made a little translation mistake, it was widely reported, but you didn't care to check. Just like you don't care about your people.— Adas (@adasomg) 13 February 2019
Netanyahu's office removed a Wednesday tweet posted ahead of a key conference on the Middle East, co-hosted by Poland and the US. It was spotted by several journalists, who noted that the initial tweet with the "war" part was later replaced by "combating Iran".
Now deleted tweet from Benjamin Netanyahu’s account boasting about a meeting “to advance the common interest of war with Iran.” pic.twitter.com/6NcsehKfsU— Liam O'Hare (@Liam_O_Hare) 13 February 2019
While some suggested that it could have been the result of a mistranslation from Hebrew, others insisted that Netanyahu did say the word "war" and tried to erase it from history.
"From here I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran. What is important about this meeting — this meeting 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", the now-deleted tweet read.
Before the Israeli prime minister's office tried to make it disappear down the memory hole, my colleague @TravisMannon grabbed the original video of @netanyahu saying that the goal of the #WarsawSummit was indeed promoting "war with Iran" https://t.co/95CNb6Ji6h pic.twitter.com/1Dtcr1MqYq— Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) 13 February 2019
The Israeli prime minister, who has become increasingly open about the IDF's activities in the region, has yet to confirm or deny whether it was a misleading translation, a Freudian slip, a Kinsley gaffe, or something else.
The Israeli Defence Forces have been conducting airstrikes against what they claimed were Iranian military targets in Syria, while Tehran has on a multitude of occasions argued that it has only been sending military advisers to Damascus to help it fight terrorism.
Iran has also ramped up its rhetoric against Israel, promising to wipe it off the political map.
On 28 January, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps second-in-command Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said that “if Israel takes any action to wage a war against us, it will definitely lead to its own elimination and freeing of occupied territories. Iran’s strategy is to remove the Zionist regime from the political map, and the Israelis contribute to this by their criminal activities”.
Several weeks ago, Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh made a related comment, saying that “current and future generations [of air force pilots] are impatient and ready to fight against Israel and eliminate it from the Earth”.