Radio discussion on Israel and Iran


By MatthewHarris
June 6, 2012
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On Thursday, I did a Voice of Russia radio discussion on Israel, the Palestinians and Iran: http://youtube.com/watch?gl=US&hl=en-GB&client=mv-google&v=wdPkxKIEGwA

Among the questions that I raised are: if there was a viable Palestinian state living in peace alongside a secure State of Israel, then would Iran be willing to live in peace with Israel, or would they continue to view Israel with unremitting hostility? Could the West Bank (and, by extension, Gaza) exist for an interim period under international-community rule (not Israeli rule), as Bosnia once did, prior to the creation of an independent state, a la East Timor and South Sudan? As Israel says "We will talk now to the Palestinian Authority (PA)without pre-conditions" and the PA says "We will talk now to Israel if Israel meets our pre-condition of freezing settlements", then is it really beyond the wit of the international community to bridge that gap and bring the two sides into a room to talk?

These somewhat optimistic questions obviously omit the ultimate question, which is: will the Arab world ever fully accept the right of a Jewish state to flourish in peace in the Middle East? A democratic state with a Jewish majority, with full rights for non-Jewish minorities, including Arab citizens, as at present. That is the ultimate question.

COMMENTS

suzanna

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 13:41

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'flourish in peace in the Middle East? A democratic state with a Jewish majority, with full rights for non-Jewish minorities, including Arab citizens, as at present'.

Matthew, do you think black people in Israel would agree with the above? - 'as at present'.

Do you think Palestinians in the West Bank would agree? - 'as at present'.


MatthewHarris

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:35

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Thanks, Suzanna, those are good questions. That is an extremely good point about the treatment of black people, given the recent outbreaks of racist violence in Israel. Despite that, Israel is still a Parliamentary democracy in which all citizens have the vote and equality before the law. That does not mean that Israel is not (like Britain) a society in which racism and discrimination do sometimes exist, including against those migrants who have entered the country illegally and so sometimes find themselves in a situation in which they cannot access the legal rights to which they are entitled: http://www.acri.org.il/en/2012/05/25/seeking-solutions-not-incitement/

As for the West Bank - I was talking about 'Israel proper', within its 1967 borders, so I didn't actually mean the West Bank. Although, even on the West Bank, Palestinians have more rights (and more recourse to the law) under Israeli rule than do Palestinians who live, for example, in Jordan.


suzanna

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 15:53

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Thanks Matthew,

It doesn’t matter what rights Palestinians have in Jordan. The issue is the occupied West Bank. The status of any other country - be it Syria, the UK, Tunisia does not deflect from the occupation and the injustices (continued) committed against an occupied population.
But I take your point about 'Israel proper'.

Regarding the issue of migrants, I have yet to hear a senior politician in the UK refer to migrants as 'infiltrators' a 'cancer' or suggesting, as Aryeh Eldad did, that migrants approaching the border should be shot.
"Anyone that penetrates Israel's border should be shot, a Swedish tourist, Sudanese from Eritrea, Eritreans from Sudan, Asians from Sinai. Whoever touches Israel's border – shot,"
Politicians in Democracies tend not to use that kind of language.


Advis3r

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:08

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suzanna (what's your real name and adress)"Politicians in Democracies tend not to use that kind of language"

They obviously don't believe that in the USA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migrant_deaths_along_the_Mexico%E2%80%93Uni...

See you try and judge Israel by a standard that no other country in the world is judged - that is anti-Semitism.

The issue is not the West bank the issue is the repeated Arab refusal to accord to the Jews the same rights as the Arabs wish to accord to themselves - the right of self determination in their own land.


Yehuda Erdman

Tue, 06/12/2012 - 16:40

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Matthew
In your post there were a few different questions raised which all deserve serious and extensive analysis, but time is a bit short so I will just add a few comments.
Not if, but when Israel and the Palestinians finally resolve all the outstanding issues with the help of the Quartet or possibly another major international conference like the one in Madrid (which laid the foundation for the Oslo accord), then there will be a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
How this will effect the Iranian view of Israel is not fully predictable, but in my view Iran will continue what it has done for many years, which is to stir up difficulties for Israel as well as many other countries in the Mid-East including Saudi Arabia, Iraq etc.
You did not mention the "elephant in the room" which is the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and we all know that Iran is pursuing the development of nuclear arms and will NOT STOP.
We also know [thanks to Mordechai Vanunu], that Israel has a stockpile of such weapons despite statements in the past that "Israel will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the region". No doubt other regional powers like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt etc. will wish to acquire these arms also. So we see an arms race which may head to disaster for the region and the whole world because once released the nuclear radiation CAN NOT be contained and will not stop at any man-made border.


MatthewHarris

Tue, 06/12/2012 - 17:40

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Thanks, Yehuda, I agree with large parts of what you write. Exactly - even if there was a Palestinian state, there is sadly no reason to believe that Iran's current regime would cease to threaten Israel. Iran's hostility to Israel is based on a hostility to Israel's very existence as an open democracy in the Middle East, especially when that open democracy also happens to be Jewish. Nuclear proliferation did come up during this broadcast, and see also: http://matthewfharris.blogspot.com/2012/05/wmd-free-middle-east.html

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