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Photo: AFP
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Photo: AFP
Eitan Haber
Why Israel should talk to Iran
Op-ed: We have a brutal, intelligent enemy looking for any way to take revenge against us for support we gave to the Shah. There’s potential for an Armageddon, and it’s quite possible the Islamic Republic will have the upper hand. Israel’s political echelon must make every effort, therefore, to find routes for reconciliation and peace talks with the Iranians.
Iran has been establishing its position in recent years as a much crueler enemy than the hostile countries surrounding us, and after declaring its intention to destroy the Zionist state, it is moving on to more practical moves that may lead to a fulfillment of this promise.

 

 

Iran is settling a score with the State of Israel, which once helped the Persian Shah’s horrific regime and supported his brutal deeds. At the time, it was convenient for us as well as for that regime, but the Iranians haven’t forgotten about it and it accompanies their collective memory to this day. The Iranian street has been educated for years to hate Israel, and they are more than willing to wreak destruction on the country. The common perception that the ordinary citizen couldn’t care less about the rivalry between the regime in Tehran and the government in Jerusalem is unfounded, as tens of millions of Iranians hate Israel and want to see it destroyed.

 

We did it with Egypt. We did it with Jordan. We’re trying to do it with the Palestinians. So all our efforts should be focused on reconciliation and peace with the great, tough, brutal Iran (Photo: Reuters)
We did it with Egypt. We did it with Jordan. We’re trying to do it with the Palestinians. So all our efforts should be focused on reconciliation and peace with the great, tough, brutal Iran (Photo: Reuters)

 

And so, we have a much bigger enemy than all Arab states. We have an intelligent enemy looking for every possible way to take revenge against us. It creates a potential for an Armageddon between Israel and Iran, and it’s definitely possible that the Islamic Republic will have the upper hand in this battle. It is therefore the duty of Israel’s political echelon today to make every effort to find routes for reconciliation and peace talks with the Iranians.

 

We did it with Egypt. We did it with Jordan. We’re trying to do it with the Palestinians. So all our efforts must be focused on reconciliation and peace with the great, tough, brutal Iran.

 

Quite a few Israelis will likely say: There’s no chance, it’s a waste of time. But those who say that should remember that we said similar things in the 1970s about Egypt and in the 1990s about Jordan. We’ll make concessions. They’ll make concessions. And following long and difficult talks, we’ll achieve one goal: Peace with Iran.

 

Iran isn’t a desert country, and its residents don’t ride camels. It’s a developed country, which has a lot to lose as well. The Iranian nuclear power, for example, or the commercial and economic life. A country of 80 million citizens can’t afford to toy with too many wars, even if they see us as heretics and keep assembling Islamic enemies around us. It’s very possible that the circumstances which will encourage peace talks will come from the civil sector, like what happened at the time with the Palestinians.

 

Few people remember, for example, that Abie Nathan was jailed for months for wanting to talk with the PLO, when it was forbidden to raise PLO flags on the street. Look at how far we’ve come, making not very significant concessions to the Arab Islamic side.

 

We are facing a tough and brutal enemy, and all our intentions, desires and resources must be directed toward talks with Iran over the United States’ head. The US isn’t putting its residents’ lives at risk the way we are putting the lives of Israeli citizens at risk right now.

 

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