George W. Bush Warns of 'Aggressive' Iran, Says Arab World Must Decide on Peace With Israel to Solve Conflict

Former President George W. Bush warned of an "aggressive" Iran and said the Arab world must decide on peace with Israel to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

During a Wednesday interview with Fox News, Bush said that what "you're seeing playing out is Iranian influence targeted toward Israel," and that he believes "the best approach with regard to Iran is to understand that their influence is dangerous for world peace, that they are very much involved with extremist movements in Lebanon and Syria and Yemen, and they are aiming to spread their influence."

Any U.S. deals made with Iran, according to Bush, should focus on its nuclear capabilities as well as "its influence in the Middle East," and should keep in mind "the dangers of an aggressive Iran to our allies and to stability."

Bush said Iran is trying to break up alliances made in the 2020 Abraham Accords with Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under then-President Donald Trump's administration, which called it a "historic peace agreement."

The Abraham Accords' joint declaration by the U.S., Israel and the UAE said that the countries "recognize the importance of maintaining and strengthening peace in the Middle East" and that "the progress already made in establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and its neighbors in the region" was welcomed.

The violence between the Israel Defense Forces and Gaza-based Palestinian factions is the worst since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, according to the Associated Press.

"It is going to require the Arab world deciding that peace with Israel is important for solving the Palestinian issue," Bush said, adding that if the Abraham Accords hold, "it will make it easier to establish peace."

"Right now, those who don't want peace are provoking and attacking Israel, and Israel is, of course, responding for national security reasons," he said.

Bush acknowledged the pressure on the White House amid the violence and said he believes "the U.S. does have a role in trying to deal with violence."

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel's operations in Gaza.

Biden told Netanyahu that "he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire," the White House said in a statement.

Following the call, Netanyahu said he appreciated Biden's support but he was "determined to continue this operation until its aim is met" in regard to military moves in the Gaza Strip, AP reported.

Israel on Wednesday continued airstrikes at targets in Gaza while Palestinian militants employed rocket fire toward Israel. Hundreds have been killed in the conflict.

"You've got to understand that Israel is going to defend itself," said Bush, who also discussed his new book, Out of Many, One: Portraits of America's Immigrants, during the Fox interview. "So long as there is a threat to their people, they will defend itself."

Newsweek reached out to Bush's office and the White House for additional comments but did not hear back in time for publication.

Former President George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during an interview with Fox News in which he warned of an "aggressive" Iran and said it is up to the Arab world to decide on peace with Israel to solve the conflict. Above, Bush speaks during the flag-raising ceremony prior to The Walker Cup at Seminole Golf Club on May 7, 2021, in Juno Beach, Florida. Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images