MENA States Respond to Iran’s Missile Strike on Israel

Iran’s attack against Israel is offering a different vision of the Middle East compared to the fragile relations between Israel and Arab countries caused by the Gaza war. Today, they share an interest in curbing Iran’s regional influence.
April 14, 2024
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan shows a video of bombs being intercepted over the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the United Nations Security Council’s emergency meeting on April 14, 2024 at U.N. Headquarters in New York City. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

The world watched history in the making yesterday after Iran launched the first-ever direct assault from its soil against Israel. In response, the US, UK, and Jordan assisted Israel in collectively intercepting the drones and missiles as they headed toward the Jewish state.

Here, The Media Line takes a closer look at the responses of Turkey and several Arab countries to Iran’s attack, which was also reportedly the largest drone strike in military history.


Jordan’s government, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, has shown support for Israel over the decades. However, since Oct. 7, the country’s civil society has engaged in prolonged pro-Palestinian public demonstrations.

Yesterday, Jordan was the only Arab country to assist Israel in eliminating Iran’s missiles and drones, which flew over its territory. Jordan’s Cabinet confirmed that objects entered the country’s airspace and were consequently intercepted by local military forces.

“Jordan intercepted missiles and drones directed toward Israel to protect its own citizens and avoid [the scenario] that many of them could fall by mistake in inhabited areas of the country,” said a Cabinet statement, adding: “The situation in Jordan is under control, and all the activities such as schools, hospitals, and private and public sectors are working as usual.”

Despite government efforts to protect its citizens, many tweets from Jordanian citizens appeared on social media platform X, claiming that “The Jordanian king dropped missiles on his citizens to protect Israel.”

Jordan is currently in a very precarious position. Both civil society and the government have been vocal regarding Israel’s war in Gaza and the need for a cease-fire. However, the kingdom’s decision to intercept the Iranian missiles and drones is a show of solidarity with Israel.

According to a post published on X, Jordanian Foreign Affairs Minister Ayman Safadi said: “The end of the aggression against Gaza will end the occupation, and this may lead to an end of the escalation in the region.”

United Arab Emirates

In 2020, the UAE signed the Abraham Accords, a positive example of exchange and cooperation between Israel and Arab countries in the region.

After the Iranian attack, the UAE’s Foreign Ministry appealed for “the utmost restraint” to avoid dangerous repercussions and the region being dragged into new levels of instability.

A ministry statement further called for “resolving differences through dialogue and through diplomatic channels, and for adhering to the rule of law and respecting the United Nations Charter.”

The Foreign Ministry also called on the UN and the UN Security Council to carry out their responsibilities to enhance international peace and security by resolving recurring issues and conflicts in the region that threaten global security and stability.

Dr. Anwar Gargash, the diplomatic adviser to UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, expressed the UAE’s concern over a potentially dangerous military escalation in the region, appealing to all sides to spare people the dangers of war.

“We have warned of the repercussions of the war in Gaza and the priority of an immediate cease-fire,” he wrote on X, adding that “Today, the need for peace emerges through diplomacy and within the foundations of stability, prosperity and justice. This is the only logical option.”


Although Turkey normalized ties with Israel in 2022, relations between these two countries deeply changed after the war in Gaza began. Since then, Turkey has decided to stop exporting products to Israel.

According to Reuters, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told his Iranian counterpart in a phone call today, after the drone and missile attack, that Turkey does not want any further escalation of tension in the region. During the call, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian reportedly replied that the “retaliatory operation” against Israel had ended, and that Iran would not launch a new operation unless it was attacked, Turkish diplomatic sources said.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia was about to normalize ties with Israel before Oct. 7. However, ever since, relations between these two countries have been frozen.

After Iran’s attack, the Saudi Foreign Ministry published a statement on X, sharing its concern at the “military escalation” and calling on “all parties to exercise utmost restraint and spare the region and its people from the dangers of war. It is important for the kingdom to maintain peace and stability among the region, in order to avoid a bigger war.”

Meanwhile, during the coverage of yesterday’s attack, Saudi state-owned international Arabic news channel Al Arabiya focused more on covering the position of Israel’s allies, such as the US, UK, and Jordan. The television channel also invited Avichay Adraee, the head of the Arab media division of the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit, to speak publicly about the attack and Israel’s possible response.


Qatar has long represented the voice of Palestinians through its state-funded news outlet Al Jazeera, and the country has never suggested normalizing ties with Israel.

Yesterday, post-Iranian attack, Qatar asked the international community to prevent a bigger conflict.

Its Foreign Ministry wrote on X: “We are very worried about the turnouts of the Iranian attack, and we ask for an immediate halt on this. The international community has to adopt immediate measures to stop the tension in the region.”

Al Jazeera Arabic, which was formally banned in Israel at the beginning of April, included in its coverage of the Iranian assault a view of the positive role of Iran as a symbol for the resistance against Israeli occupation. It also interviewed experts on the topic.

The coverage featured an ex-commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Kanani Moghaddam, who affirmed to Al Jazeera that “the Iranian operation has put an end to a Cold War between Tehran and Tel Aviv that has been going on for 45 years, and yesterday it was a pivotal episode that may lead to a different scenario in the region.”

Al Jazeera also reported statements by Hamas spokesperson Jihad Taha, who referred to the Iranian attack as “legitimate in order to end the Zionist perseverance and help the Palestinian resistance.”


Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. However, as in the case of Jordan, its civil society has been very vocal in support of Palestinians since the breakout of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry released a statement that said: “Egypt is deeply concerned about the announced attack from Iran against Israel, this is a dangerous escalation between these two countries that has been going on in the last months. We ask for moderation in order to spare the region and its people from instability and tension.”

The statement added: “We are in contact with all the parties involved in order to reach a solution and stop the escalation in the future.”


Like Qatar, Kuwait has been very active in advocating on behalf of Palestinians and is not interested in normalizing relations with Israel. Moreover, the country, as with Qatar, refused to allow the US to use its air space in retaliation against Iran.

Kuwait has been a symbol of pro-Palestinian protests since Oct. 7 and has been neutral in its position toward neighboring Iran. Former Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Interior Minister Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah has described relations with Iran as “friendly,” according to Reuters.

According to Jasem Mohamed AlBudaiwi, the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Committee, “stability must be maintained in the region. Both sides need to avoid dragging all the region into a war zone,” as reported by Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anba.


Morocco normalized relations with Israel in 2001. Ever since, the country has been considered a valuable partner for Israel in North Africa.

However, Morocco experienced many pro-Palestinian demonstrations, and recently one of the protesters was jailed for five years due to his criticism regarding the country’s ties with Israel.

Yesterday, Morocco expressed its concerns over the situation in Israel and asked for “an immediate suspension of violence, the return to tranquility, and the end of any act that may create an escalation in the region.”

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