Geneva Initiative Annexes
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Israeli-Palestinian Peace Would Neutralize Iran

By A.B. Yehoshua, Haaretz 
Israel's leaders, who traveled to Europe for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, did not go there only to strengthen the antibodies against modern-day manifestations of anti-Semitism. Rather, they went to muster political support for opposing the acquisition of nuclear arms by Iran, which openly threatens Israel with extermination.
Iran is not Nazi Germany - not with respect to its political regime, not with respect to its ideology, and certainly not with respect to its economic and military capabilities. Nor does Israel resemble the weak Jewish communities that lived in Europe at that time. But for all the differences, the Iranian regime has adopted the same total opposition to Israel's existence. It is therefore liable to slip into the same human mechanism that created the infinite hatred for Jews of the Holocaust era. And when Iran has nuclear weapons, it might be dragged, as Nazi Germany was, into mad aggression.
What can be done? No one can promise that the sanctions planned by the international community will persuade Iran to desist from its race for nuclear weapons, yet an attempt to destroy its nuclear potential militarily is liable to drag Israel into a drawn-out, exhausting war against the Iranian nation and its regional allies.
But there is another way to neutralize the Iranian threat, one that is both more appropriate and more moral - a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Last month, the Palestinian minister of the Waqf religious trust, Mahmoud Habash, made a speech that inspired hope at a public prayer session in Ramallah. In the presence of the Palestinian Authority's senior leaders, he lambasted Iran's involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Essentially, what he said was this: What do you have to do with us? We don't need your patronage. You are only making the conflict worse, instead of helping us and the Israelis solve it via the method now accepted worldwide - two states for two peoples. By encouraging Hamas' extremism, you merely provoke a harsh response from Israel and thereby distance the solution for which we all yearn. Not one single Iranian soldier has ever shed his blood for our people the way the soldiers of Egypt and Jordan did, yet these countries later signed peace agreements with Israel.
Peace between Israel and Palestine would neutralize the poisonous sting of Iran's hatred for Israel and shatter the political-imaginative mechanism that makes it see Israel as "the little Satan" that must be destroyed at all costs. A joint peace front by Israelis and Palestinians could cause the Iranian people to recoil from the madness that has taken over the religious leadership of this great and honored nation. Therefore, the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have a much greater impact than any Israeli or American military operation. That would only perpetuate this region's pain and suffering.
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