Iran nuclear deal should spur quest for Israel-Palestine peace with humility, mercy

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Ministers of foreign affairs and other officials from the P5+1 countries, the European Union and Iran meeting for a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme, March 2015 - Photograph: Wikipedia

It won’t be simple but the United States could persuade Israel that its security interests are better served by ensuring justice for the Palestinians and promoting regional goodwill, says Ronald Benjamin.

The lifting of sanctions by the United States and the European Union against Iran after it had complied with last July’s landmark nuclear deal should be welcome by all global citizens who desire peace in a world fractured by war and terrorism.

The nuclear deal was painstakingly negotiated by all parties concerned despite belligerent opposition from the imperial hawks in the US and Israel. This shows that peace is possible if there is a desire to sit and negotiate with the common good in mind. Humility and Mercy, which are beyond ideology and hegemony, is vital for genuine peace.

President Barack Obama and President Rouhani of Iran should be congratulated for choosing peace over war on this issue. There are positive implications resulting from this endeavour which could create a momentum for peace in West Asia and around the world.

West Asia has been suffering a long conflicting and complex power struggle for regional dominance. On one side stands Saudi Arabia, the United States and the Gulf states and on the other are Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. A concrete mechanism is needed to bridge the divide that would make cross-negotiated settlements among warring parties a possibility.

Ironically, the nuclear deal, even though flawed in terms of vested interest and doubled standards, has paradoxically freed the United States and Iran to a certain extent from the dictates of sectarian and hegemonic conflicts. Saudi Arabia’s and Israel’s opposition to Iran has more to do with regional dominance than the existential threat of nuclear weapons.

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The nuclear deal could provide an impetus for a long-overdue negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine. This will not be not simple due to strong Zionist sentiments in Israel. But a momentum could be created if international pressure could cajole the United States to persuade Israel that its security is linked to justice for the Palestinians and the regional goodwill among its neighbours instead of having to depend on its military superiority and client relationship with the United States.

The current war against Isis has put the Palestinian question in the backburner, but the peace process needs to be revived, using a win win-win approach that was used for the Iran nuclear deal.

Peace-loving nations should work hard to promote peace to West Asian citizens who have suffered decades of oppression due to occupation, war and terrorism. This is possible if nations that are responsible approach issues through the lens of humility and mercy leading to an authentic negotiated settlement.

Pope Francis has proclaimed a year of mercy to show the world that humility derived from a sense of mercy is crucial in a fractured world divided by forces that are against the common good of humanity.

Such a gesture of humility and mercy should start from the top (ie, leaders of sovereign nations) and common citizens who should focus more effort on bridge-building and mediation that would reflect the values of humility and mercy.

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