Dealing with Iran must come first

Source: Dealing with Iran must come first – Israel Hayom

Prof. Eyal Zisser

For a moment, it seemed that the Israeli-Palestinian ‎conflict would dominate the U.N. General Assembly as ‎well as the international agenda for the coming ‎year, but then came the addresses of U.S. President ‎Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‎to focused world leaders’ attention on the Iranian ‎issue. ‎

Trump made it clear that his administration plans to ‎focus on the Iranian issue, just like last year, he ‎made it clear that he planned to focus on North ‎Korea. ‎

Meeting with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the U.N. ‎General Assembly, Trump surprised many by officially ‎endorsing the two-state solution – then again ‎qualifying that he would support whichever solution ‎the parties agree to – and by saying his ‎administration plans to roll out the much-‎anticipated “deal of the century” within a few ‎months. ‎

The Americans may still strive to pitch the deal ‎meant to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as ‎a real estate transaction, as Trump himself has ‎said, but chances of that are slim, for several ‎reasons. ‎

First, in reality, we are no longer dealing with a ‎two-state solution but rather with a three-state ‎solution, namely Israel, a Palestinian state in the ‎West Bank and a Hamas state in the Gaza Strip. The ‎latter is not going anywhere and it is doubtful its ‎rulers would agree to reconcile with the Fatah-led ‎Palestinian Authority just to facilitate Trump’s ‎‎”deal of the century.”‎

Second, despite rhetoric to the contrary, Arab ‎leaders have no real intention of going over ‎Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ head ‎and accepting a deal on the Palestinians’ behalf. ‎This leads to the third reason – the Palestinian ‎leadership simply cannot make the necessary historic ‎decisions. ‎

Abbas can definitely protest that “Jerusalem is not ‎for sale” as much as he wants, but the bottom line ‎is that Trump is right – there is no reason why the ‎U.S. should give the Palestinian Authority hundreds ‎of millions of dollars in aid only to be ‎disrespected on the world stage – at least as much ‎as Abbas respects Russian President Vladimir Putin, ‎who has never given the Palestinians a dime. ‎

Moreover, one must remember that international ‎treaties rarely reflect “justice,” let alone the ‎Palestinian and their supporters’ version of ‎‎”absolute justice.” The Jewish community understood ‎that in 1948, which is why it ‎succeeded in forming a state. ‎

This is why Trump and Netanyahu both chose to focus ‎on Iran at the U.N. General Assembly. ‎

Netanyahu’s speech again showcased Israel’s ‎intelligence and operational prowess, which time and ‎again make Iran and Hezbollah, its regional proxy, ‎vulnerable. ‎

Trump’s speech reiterated the U.S. pledged to ‎prevent Iran from going nuclear and continue ‎disseminating terrorism and chaos in the Persian ‎Gulf and Middle East.‎

The American president’s words were binding and no ‎one knows better than him that his success and ‎international standing in the coming year will be ‎determined, to a large extent, by how he deals with ‎Tehran.‎

Failing to come up with a good answer to the ‎allegations made against them at the U.N. General ‎Assembly, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad ‎Zarif resorted to familiar rhetoric, saying that ‎the Holocaust did not justify the establishment of the ‎State of Israel on Palestinian land. ‎

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, for his part, ‎opted for a more “elegant” suggestion, saying, “We ‎do not wish to fight or destroy or throw anyone into ‎the ocean. We call on the Israelis, in the most ‎civilized way possible, to board planes or ships and ‎return to the countries from where they came. ‎

‎”Only the Jews who lived in Palestine before [the ‎Balfour Declaration] will be able to stay here. The ‎rest, those who came from all over the world, have ‎to leave.”‎

These statements are another good reason why Iran and ‎its allies must be stopped. European leaders would ‎be wise to pay attention before rushing to appease ‎Iran.‎

Eyal Zisser is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University

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