June 6, 2012
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.