Published in “Tageszeitung” on October 28 2009

Commentary by SUSANNE KNAUL

Caution against euphoria – the first contacts made between Iran and Israel could also be the last ones for a long time. Which is sad, because why should there, in the first place, be no contact between two countries that never waged war with each other, have no open bills of blood to present to each other, nor have to struggle about territorial conflicts. In addition, Iranians are not even outspoken antisemites.

Nevertheless, the chief in Tehran is railing against the Zionists whose country should be wiped off the map; on the other hand, Israel feels more threatened by Iran’s atomic bomb than by terror and all previous wars that have happened so far. Israel’s problem is that it constitutes such a suitable projection screen for the internal power struggle of the muslim world. Those railing loudest against the Jewish state will score highest.

The nuclear missiles aiming at Tel Aviv or Dimona are not the only problem that causes politicians in Jerusalem to again and again consider a preemptive strike. And the shifting balance of power in the Near East is similarly dramatic. On the birth of Iran as a nuclear power, the ones to set the pace would no longer be the comparatively moderate islamic states, but a state whose already limited resources are largely used for funding terroristic organizations outside the country’s borders.

The relations between Israel and Iran will not become friendlier, since that would mark the beginning of the end of the “axis of evil,” the term that former U.S. President George Bush once used to draw the line from Tehran via Syria to Hezbollah and Hamas. To make a decrease of political tension possible, the ones in charge would have to be those who today are being raped and executed in the prisons of the state of Ayatollahs because they were wishing for democracy and human rights.