Israel’s Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Netanyahu

By Khaled Diab

Ahmadinejad and Netanyahu are so alike it is hard to tell them apart. The best way to neutralise them is through a -free .

Tuesday 6 December 2011

One may be the heir apparent of Israeli rightwing royalty and the other the son of a poor, provincial Iranian jack-of-all-trades but Binyamin Netanyahu and behave like mutant clones when it comes to their international brinksmanship, their reckless and foolish handling of their countries' foreign relations, and their uncanny knack of furthering their peoples' international isolation.

Both men have succeeded in losing their countries valuable friends abroad. Although his predecessor Mohammad Khatami had worked hard to thaw relations with the West, Ahmadinejad has managed, with his outspokenness and defiant pursuit of a nuclear programme, to reverse these gains. Similarly, Netanyahu has, quite literally, rocked the boat with Israel's staunchest regional ally Turkey and has strained relations with another important regional power, . Even US president , who has gone out of his way to frame himself as a ‘friend of Israel', expressed frustration with Netanyahu in an unguarded exchange with French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Both ultra-conservatives to the bone, Netanyahu and Ahmadinejad are aligned with the most conservative and reactionary forces at home. Moreover, their political discourse seems to be largely targeted at this constituency, alienating and angering other, more liberal segments of their own societies while antagonising important players in the outside world.

Their desperate desire to play to the choir and preach to the converted was on ‘eloquent' display at the UN General Assembly in September. Though both men made some valid points, these were lost in the deluge of hate and paranoia which spewed from their mouths.

Ahmadinejad insultingly suggested that the West threatened “anyone who questions the Holocaust and the September 11 event with sanctions and military actions”, eliciting angry reactions not only from the United States and Israel but also, apparently, from al-Qaeda. Not to be outdone, Netanyahu succeeded in offending the entire international community, with the possible exception of the United States, when he described the UN as “the theatre of the absurd” and that “automatic majorities… can decide that the sun sets in the west or rises in the west [sic]”.

Mad and bad as they both may be, there is some rationality and method to their madness. Both leaders are incredibly unpopular at home among moderates, liberals and leftists. Ahmadinejad's questionable 2009 election victory sparked what became known as the ‘Green Revolution' in favour of opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and Ahmadinejad has been on the back foot at home ever since.

In addition to allegations of financial impropriety resurfacing, Netanyahu has been hit by a perfect storm of opposition: from the Israeli mainstream, by perhaps the largest and most sustained protests for social justice in the nation's history; from the Israeli fringes, by the violent ‘price tag' attacks perpetrated by extremist settlers; and from the Palestinians, who have taken their demands for statehood to the UN.

Against this backdrop, both Netanyahu and Ahmadinejad have, ironically, found common cause in mutual confrontation around Iran's nuclear programme to manufacture domestic consent in what they hope will be a manageable foreign crisis. The two men are not only stoking up fear among their traumatised populations but are also exhibiting the kind of defiance and pride against ‘foreign diktats' which plays out well with large segments of their two peoples.

That is not to say that the concerns and worries of the Iranian and Israeli peoples are entirely unjustified, but their two governments are going about resolving the issues in the wrong way.

When it comes to Iran's civilian nuclear programme, Iranians are understandably incensed by the West's double standards, and its determination to prevent Iran from exploiting a source of energy that has become commonplace around the world, especially when one considers that Iran was developing a nuclear programme with Washington's blessing during the reign of the Shah. That said, it is my personal view that Iran's post-oil energy future would have been better, and less controversially, secured by investing in solar power, which is not only greener but has the added benefit of ensuring the country's energy independence.

If the latest report proves to be true and Iran is, despite its insistence to the contrary, developing a covert nuclear weapons programme, then though misguided, there is a logical strategic rationale behind its quest.

Iran is surrounded by nuclear-armed foes and potential foes: Israel, India and Pakistan, not to mention the United States in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, there is the deep-seated distrust of Western powers, particularly Britain, the United States and Russia, all of whom have launched military action or orchestrated coups in the country at one time or another. Then, there's the prestige factor. Iran is very proud of its historical pre-eminence and any apparent restoration of some of that ancient glory, no matter how illusory, is bound to go down well.

But the notion of mutually assured destruction is not only as MAD as its acronym suggests, Iran is never likely to tip the ‘balance of terror' enough in its favour to reach that level of supposed deterrence.

Given the bombast emanating from Tehran since the Islamic revolution and Ahmadinejad's confrontational rhetoric, the fear among the Israeli public of a nuclear-armed Iran is understandable, if hugely exaggerated, given Iran's status as a “paper tiger” rather than a “scar superpower”, as one former senior Mossad official put it.

This makes political reactions that far outweigh any possible threat seem all the more troubling and distressing. If Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak are in favour of military action against Iran, this would be a foolhardy and reckless course of action. It not only carries the risk of sparking an unnecessary war between the two countries, it would come at perhaps the most volatile time in the Middle East's history since World War I and the subsequent redrawing of the region's political map, possibly triggering a wider conflict of unknown dimensions and scale.

But there is a far more sensible military option that Israel's leadership and the Israeli public should seriously consider: committing to a nuclear weapons-free Middle East by coming out of the closet about being a nuclear power and dismantling the “bomb in the basement”, as Israel's legendary military leader Moshe Dayan called it.

Not only was Israel's nuclear weapons programme developed without the Israeli public's knowledge or consent, it was also done so against the will of the international community – rather like what Iran is possibly doing today.

In addition, Israel's estimated arsenal of up to 200 nuclear warheads has been a liability rather than an asset. It has done nothing for the country's security beyond giving other regional powers the incentive to try to obtain their own bomb. And this was clear to see to critics both within Israel and among its allies. For instance, a declassified 1963 CIA report predicted that a nuclear Israel would polarise and destabilise the region and would likely lead the Arabs to seek their own “deterrent”.

For at least three decades, efforts to avoid a nuclear arms race in the Middle East have crashed against the rocks of Israeli intransigence. If Iran does succeed in developing its own bomb, the threat of regional proliferation so long predicted is likely to mushroom as Arab powers scramble to gain their own capability to counteract that of Iran's and Israel's. The best way to avoid this is for Israel to commit to disarmament in return for Iran abandoning its nuclear weapons programme and the entire region signing up to a Middle Eastern non-proliferation treaty.

This is the extended version of a column which appeared in Haaretz on 6 December 2011.

Author

  • Khaled Diab

    Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the and the UN, as well as civil . Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled's life has been divided between the Middle East and . He grew up in Egypt and the UK, and has lived in Belgium, on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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30 thoughts on “Israel’s Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Netanyahu

  • Zionists or fundamentalists, fascists or extremists what else are they than mere mirror images of each other

    Reply
  • Correct me if I’m mistaken-Isn’t it Ahmadinejad & the ruling “Twelvers” in Iran that are dedicated to destroy Israel?

    Reply
  • Threatening vs. protecting. End of (ridiculous) comparison. 

    Reply
  • It goes for both of them, they are ready to do everything to stay in office, evan sacrifice the welfare of their people.

    Reply
  • both need to shut up!
    israelis and iranians lives are in the hands of those two idiots! in
    fact whole of middle east will be ruined if israel and iran start their
    nuclear war!

    Reply
  • What a complete mess of an
    article. The author compares bashing the UN to Holocaust denial,
    breaking the NPT to not signing it and blames Israel for nuclear
    proliferation in the ME while pointing out that Iran is “surrounded” by
    nuclear-armed potential foes such as Pakistan and India.

    Reply
  • Crap ! Ahmdadinejad is a
    lunatic that must be removed from power…Bibi is a stateman, responding
    to a threat…Stupid comparison ..

    Reply
  • Finally some s_ that makes sense

    Reply
  • Put both of them in a field and let them fight and will watch and bet for money who’s gonna win (make some money) :p

    Reply
  • also known as ‘rally ’round the flag syndrome’

    Reply
  • Comrade Stephen

    The bourgeoisie incites the workers of one nation against those of another in the endeavor to keep them disunited.”
    – Vladimir Lenin

    Reply
  • Of course. It’s the right wing con job. From both ends. What’s threat outta this fix?

    Reply
  • Guilty as charged! 🙁 As
    previously admitted, I used the ploy of “emotive” sarcasm to parody the
    notion, implicated in your thesis that Israel’s nuclear deterrent is not
    defensively viable, that its nuclear policy is by default offensive in
    nature. Such an erroneous belief would be coherent with the types of
    Zionist conspiracies portrayed in the Protocols.Al-Khatib, a former
    leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, clearly held such beliefs. It is also
    resonant with the “new history” narratives which have transformed
    Zionism into a form of colonialism. No where did I ever suggest that you
    personally hold such views. As an Egyptian journalist living in Israel,
    I would be doubtful that you did. Such views, however, given the recent
    election results, could be reasonably ascribed to about 60% of the
    Egyptian population. My parody was not a personal attack on you but on a
    view that is held by a substantial portion of the Islamic world and
    thus directly impacting on Israel’s security (again, it is the omission
    of Israel’s security in your article that was my main point of
    contention). In a similar vein, I did not mean to imply that you lacked
    self-reflection; but given your education, background and
    cosmopolitanism you are an exception to that rule. However, those more
    than 40% in the Arab world who believe 9/11 was a Mossad plot would
    probably be representative of that lack.Yes, I had read your previous
    “Confessions” article and was duly impressed, which is why I befriended
    you on FB in the first place and why I am sharing this honest
    interchange with you now. As to my own self-criticism (which, in accord
    with my metaphor I guess you mean criticism of Israel) I have lots that
    I’m not afraid to share; it just hasn’t arisen in the context of this
    discourse. (I do have criticisms of the Israeli rabbinate on my Mystic
    Link blog and in my Honours dissertation, but there are many other
    faults I could criticise in Israeli politics and society in general.)
    Finally, to be fair on myself, I had previously composed a long message
    with a “rational response” arguing the points of why a nuclear arsenal
    is indeed a deterrent for Israel. I deferred, however, for two reasons;
    like you, I am not a military expert, though my speciality of regional
    studies does provide an overall background. More importantly, was a
    response to an emotive ploy you yourself utilised in your article’s
    title: equating Netanyahu with Ahmadinejad. Is that an equation that can
    be proven through rational analysis or a subjective evaluation that
    immediately sets a suggestive tone for a qualitative equivalence which
    does not in fact exist? I believe it is clearly the latter. It was that
    emotive argument of equivalence, and the underlying narrative it
    supports– whether consciously or not– that I responded to in kind to
    expose its ludicrousness. So I apologise if you thought I was painting
    you as an anti-Semite or as personally lacking self-criticism. I had no
    intention of attacking you personally. I will answer your arguments as
    to the rational reasons why Israel’s nuclear arsenal is still a
    deterrent, though emphasizing once again that I do support a
    nuclear-free ME, just differ on the process and time-frame. Speaking of
    which, due to the time here in Australia, I will have to get back to you
    after Shabbat with an outline of the rational arguments I had wanted to
    post at first.

    Reply
  • KhaledDiab

    Moshe, I’m not going to rise
    to your bait. You have (not so cleverly, I’m afraid), turned a rational
    debate about politics into an emotive one in which you paint me as some
    kind of closet anti-semite, and Arabs as being filled with irrational
    hatred, and you insinuate that I hold views which I, in fact, do not.
    For instance, I do not believe Israel is out to conquer the Arab world –
    far from it. Yet, besides effectively telling me to shut up because how
    could I, non-military man and journalist, possibly know better than all
    those wise and capable generals. Well, many of Ben Gurion’s generals
    and scientists were opposed to the nuclear programme. Your diatribe of
    the year completely ignores my question.” How does having a nuclear
    arsenal help defend Israel? I’m genuinely curious to learn what possible
    military purpose it can serve for Israel”. And please don’t patronise
    me with your condescending talk of self-criticism. In all your comments
    on my posts, you have not displayed an ounce of that valuable commodity,
    while I have written hundreds of articles critical of Egypt and the
    Arab world. Please practise what you preach about self-criticims before
    you come here criticising me. Please take my comments in the spirit of
    truth and friendship.

    Reply
  • Thanks, Khaled. How about
    this? Let’s not overlook your claims that all the aggressive wars were
    started by Israel or that the Arabs are genuine with their peaceful
    intentions (since, by mentioning it, you are doing a clever,
    journalistic legerdemain of highlighting those points!). So, in your
    version of history, supported by such illustrious scholars as Ilan
    Pappe, we have: 1) Since 1948 all wars have been instigated by Israel 2) The Arabs are genuine about peace
    These two points are accompanied by a brilliant analysis– and
    apparently you are sharper than Israel’s dimwitted generals– that there
    is really no such thing as a nuclear deterrent. Putting these points
    together, I can conclude that either a) Israel’s political and military
    leaders are indeed retarded or b) the development of nuclear weapons by
    Israel is part of an offensive rather than a defensive policy. Well, the
    evidence seems to suggest that Israel’s leaders are not all that dumb,
    so the only conclusion is that the Zionist entity of six million Jews
    holds grand designs to destroy and conquer the Arab world with its
    population of over 300 million and an area a thousand times larger than
    Israel’s. Yes, that makes a lot of sense, given that the Zionists are
    part of the imperialist conspiracy to dominate the world. Indeed, that
    paradigm sounds very familiar. As the Islamist Nimr-Khatib put it: “We
    are fighting an organised, educated, cunning, devious and evil people
    that has concentrated the world’s power and wealth in its hands… We
    are fighting the forces that have prevailed over the entire world, we
    are fighting the power that buried Hitler and defeated Japan, we are
    fighting World Zionism that has Truman at its pay, enslaves Churchhill
    and Atlee, and colonizes London, New York and Washington.” Of course,
    how stupid of me to have missed the obvious! I guess if I lived in
    Cairo, where the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is still a best-seller,
    I would have been better informed! So, certainly, according to this
    wise and truthful narrative, if Israel just rids itself of nuclear
    weapons, Ahmadinejad will make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to embrace
    Bibi; Nasrallah will give orders to beat the 20,000 rockets in S Lebanon
    into ploughshares; Fatah will negate article 9 of its charter calling
    for Israel’s destruction; and Hamas will order that the reference in
    their charter to the hadith’s demand to slaughter the Jews on Allah’s
    Day of Judgement be transformed into a mandatory LoveFest towards the
    repentant, peace-loving Jewish people. It all makes perfect sense now! I
    admit, when I first read your article, painting a not-so-subtle moral
    equivalence between Netanyahu and Ahmadinejad, it was difficult to
    comprehend. I mean, in Israel parties like Kach and Moledet, which
    advocated transfer, have been banned by law– leaders of parties that
    had charters similar to Fatah’s and Hamas’s, or who made the genocidal
    statements of an Ahmadinejad, would be put summarily imprisoned. But, in
    light of the Protocols, and Bibi’s blatant lies when he implores the
    Palestinians to sit down at the negotiating table (it is probably just
    another Zionist plot to kill them, right?), I now understand precisely
    what you mean. Again, Khaled, as I said to Angela, I am sincerely
    in favour of non-proliferation. It’s the “how” to get there that
    concerns me. Peace is a noble and worthy cause. Like all good things,
    however, its attainment is neither easy or simple, as is attested to by
    its elusiveness in human history and by the length of the current ME
    conflict. In my view, your omission of Israel’s security in the
    discourse on nuclear arms is not accidental; were you to include it, the
    ideological and intellectual scaffolding on which you base your
    arguments would collapse. As a speaker of Arabic and having been
    immersed in Arab culture for many years, despite so much of what I find
    admirable, a gaping flaw– one reiterated by critics like Ibn Warraq–
    is the lack of self-reflection, which is a pre-requisite to
    transformation and change. (Warraq blames Said for this, but I am not so
    sure.) You are a good journalist, but, to be a great one, you must
    extricate yourself from a scaffolding that is ultimately grounded in an
    ideological bias and consequently very shaky. Read the comments from
    your readers in Ha’aretz (hardly a bastion of right-wing thought), and
    you will find that I am not alone in this view. Once again, thanks for
    taking the time to answer me, and please take this comment, even with
    the deliberate ploy of literary sarcasm, in the spirit of truth and
    friendship! السلام لكم موسى

    Reply
  • To add my pennorth: Dimona
    is so old, leaks and accidents are now expected, not to mention the high
    cancer rates amongst workers that are hidden by official secrets (and
    occasionally hinted at here by good investigative journalism). Plus:
    terrorists may well one of these days, if everyone goes nuclear, start
    using either the real thing or pretend versions in hijacks, threats or
    other actions. I personally wish that instead of taking all
    the 16 year old high school kids of Israel to Auschwitz to motivate them
    better to serve in the army (“Look what happened when we had no strong
    army” is the messaging), and to continue to feel victims, that they took
    them all to Hiroshima to learn what happens with weapons of mass
    destruction, arms races and the military industrial industry/arms race
    out of control in the hands of robber barons. Until then, Israelis
    still think of nuclear weapons as guaranteeing their security, not of
    undermining it or threatening it.

    Reply
  • KhaledDiab

    Thank you, Moshe. OK, let’s
    overlook for a moment that since the 1948 war, the Arabs have not
    launched a single war with the aim of destroying Israel (1973 aimed to
    regain lost territory) and that almost every major Arab-Israeli war was
    started by Israel and that for years now Arab governments have
    unanimously agreed on forging peace with Israel. And let’s assume that
    the Arabs are lying about their peaceful intentions and still want to
    destroy Israel. How does having a nuclear arsenal help defend Israel?
    I’m genuinely curious to learn what possible military purpose it can
    serve for Israel. The rather barmy concept of MAD was forged during the
    Cold War and rested on the premise that the “balance of terror” between
    the US and the Soviets would prevent either resorting to the use of
    their nuclear weapons because this would lead to “mutually assured
    destruction”. Even if this works for the superpowers, it does not hold
    in the ME context, because Israel is the only country with a nuclear
    capability, and hence, there is no mutual assurance of destruction. So,
    at best, this makes Israel’s nuclear capability irrelevant and dud or,
    at worst, it lays the groundwork for a regional nuclear arms race as
    other powers scramble to gain their own deterrent to match Israel’s. In
    either case, it is counterproductive to Israel’s security. Moreover,
    nuclear weapons are even more useless in facing down a conventional
    military threat than a conventional army is at fighting guerrilla
    warfare. In order for Israel’s nuclear deterrent to deter conventional
    and guerrilla forces, Israel’s opponents have to be convinced that
    Israel is willing to use it. Using nuclear weapons against the
    Palestinians or Lebanese would not only be genocidal, it would also be
    suicidal. Moreover, Israel does not even openly acknowledge that it
    possesses a nuclear capability, and has said that it would not be first
    to use nuclear weapons. This implies that Israel would only use nuclear
    weapons if attacked by nuclear weapons and, since no one else in the
    region possesses them, building up an arsenal in advance, paradoxically,
    makes it far more likely that others will try and gain their own
    capability (see rationale above), hence ending in a self-fulfilling
    prophecy. I can see no logic, rhyme or reason (beyond perhaps a Ben
    Gurion vanity project) for Israel to possess a nuclear arsenal. Far
    better would be for it to commit to a nuclear weapons-free Middle East,
    especially for its position of strength as the only regional power with
    the proven ability to build the bomb.

    Reply
  • You definitely have a point
    and I tend to agree with you. At the same time, we have to take into
    consideration that this weapon, MAD as much as it is, makes Israel’s
    superiority undependable in the continuous US aid. I also suspect that
    Iran tries to posses this weapon regardless of Israel, in order to
    maintain its ayatollah’s rule forever. If this theory is right,
    disarming Israel will not surely contribute to the interest of
    proliferation.

    Reply
  • KhaledDiab

    But that’s the whole point,
    Ofir. Israel has overwhelming conventional military superiority, it does
    not need a nuclear arsenal, because it can never use it and it is
    useless as a conventional deterrent. Moreover, it encourages nuclear
    proliferation, which is in the interest on no one, including Israel.

    Reply
  • Khaled, don’t you agree that
    Israel’s military superiority still encourages the Arabs to recognize
    its existence and to conduct peace treaties with it? I can show you
    dozens of Egyptian quotes from Sadat era saying that the inability of
    Egypt to beat Israel in the battlefield forced it to look for a
    political settlement. I totally agree with you that nuclear weapon has
    its huge faults, as you described them in your article, but at the same
    time – in the symbolic level – it is an important component of Israel’s
    military superiority. Can Israel give it up now in these complex
    circumstances? I’m not sure this will contribute to the preservation of
    peace, maybe the contrary is true.

    Reply
  • don’t you think Israel’s
    nuclear superiority is a also guarentie for peace in the region?
    Unfortunately i afraid the absence of war still relies upon pragmatic
    reality more than the peoples good will.

    Reply
  • You read, Moshe, the Plan D book? Or just Pappe generally? And you think war IS a starting point?
    Anyhow, no more time for this exchange, fascinating as it is and I wish
    we could meet and discuss, so excuse me for bowing out. Have to try to
    organise another urgent tour of the Jahalin encampments which are about
    to be ethnically cleansed. No other words for it, when the ethnic
    displacement is forced and it is in favour of an incoming (settler
    expansionist) group. 27,000 threatened over the coming years – the
    whole of Area C – 62% of the WB – on notice of transfer. Coexistence
    would certainly be a nice starting point in Israel’s attitude towards
    its neighbours, or those under its Occupation. Even Beinart is
    beginning to posit citizenship for all between the Jordan to the Med!
    Tragedy how it just keeps getting worse, when you think maybe it has to
    get worse to get better and it only gets worse. Feels like being in a
    Greek tragedy… one of my top journalist friends here says only when
    there’s another huge wave of bloodshed will the world step in and get
    the act together.

    Reply
  • @Angela- I have indeed read
    Ilan Pappe but was not that impressed with his scholarship. Karsh
    presents a different viewpoint that, in my view, is better researched
    and historically substantiated. History and political theory maintain
    that peace is never a starting point; it is, in fact, an ideal and thus
    an ultimate objective rather than a means.

    Reply
  • @Moshe – glad we agree on
    some of this. Did you read Pappe’s book about Tochnit Daled? Plan D.
    The precursor period of at least a year before the war of independence.
    I think you’ll reassess your viewpoint if you do.. And don’t forget
    Ben Gurion decided in the mid-30s to develop a strong army, knowing it
    would be useful in coming wars as a means of getting more land. Again,
    never the intention to share. But always the policies of displacement…
    prior to the May 48 war. Deir Yassin, Lifta and other massacres used
    in order to create panic… Jewish terrorism (Stern Gang, Lehi, Etzel
    and even supported by the Palmach) does not bring us any glory. And a
    bitter fruit. Of course we don’t trust and of course we fear. Not
    least, probably, being found out for those very same disastrous
    policies. Peace would be a good start as to your “how”… for
    once a generous policy, to reignite the hope and celebration that were
    sparked by the original peace talks… and then to ban war so that it
    can never be justified. The planet cannot sustain this destruction,
    never mind the human race.

    Reply
  • @Angela- It seems you are
    obviously more of a gambler than I am. Alternatively, perhaps I am
    overstating the risk, but, then again, perhaps you are understating it.
    The Israeli policies you describe were not the cause of but rather the
    result of actual wars waged with the intent of destroying Israel. To
    imagine that settlement policy has caused those wars or the hatred
    behind it is a bit delusional. But, the final aim of universal nuclear
    disarmament that Khaled describes is a good one– it’s the “how” that’s
    the tricky part.

    Reply
  • Moshe, if (speaking as an
    Israeli of the past 30 years) we had not implemented the policies we
    did, such as during Tochnit Dalet, we would not have needed, IMHO, the
    huge militarism that has now spawned out of control, with the military
    industrial complex even bankrupting the country (cf. the Iraq War and
    its cost to the USA). We could have continued the previous
    co-existence. Landgrab, demolitions, forced displacement, and ethnic
    displacement (?cleansing), were hardly conducive to good
    neighbourliness. Tragically. To date, we have not tried generosity. In
    trying to get it all, we now risk losing it all in some sort of
    grotesque Samson syndrome bringing down the Third Temple on our own
    heads. And if you were to notice that recently we are busily alienating
    ourselves increasingly from our friendly neighbours – Jordan, Turkey,
    Egypt, then you will see that actually the relationship is not something
    we are coddling. On the contrary. Hence our satire shows
    which reflect on our suicidal nature. Inasmuch as you create what you
    fear if you don’t have awareness to break that vicious circle (just as
    abused families abuse), we know we have a dark future but simply can’t
    bring ourselves to — do the obvious thing. Get rid of the
    proliferation in the region.

    Reply
  • Good article, Khaled, though I
    think you might have mentioned the context of Israel’s “closet” nuclear
    program– a deterrent against its larger, more populous Arab
    neighbours whose stated aim, from the time of Israel’s inception, was
    its annihilation. And perhaps that threat first needs to be addressed
    and mitigated before any commitment can be made to come out of the
    closet and ultimately relinquish that deterrent.

    Reply
  • KhaledDiab

    Thanks, Angela. Like you say, non-proliferation is crucial to the region’s future.

    Reply
  • Khaled, it’s a great piece.
    We have to push non-proliferation and the banning of war, and your piece
    really makes the points SO well. Just so urgent, and so timely. Thank
    you!

    Reply

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