And a pretty damn good one too if you ask me. The higher Iran rises in power and the bigger its influence in the region becomes, the more handshakes we can expect occurring between high ranking Arab and Israeli officials behind the scenes. Israel’s wet dream is having normalized relations with its Arab neighbours. The Arab League’s nightmare (or to be more specific, the nightmare of mainly prominent Sunni Arab countries like Egypt, Jordan and most definitely the Gulf countries) is an Iranian super giant juggernaut next door. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Differences certainly exist but they can either be dealt with or put aside and the Palestinian cause is certainly no small thing to put aside or sweep underneath the rug. Oh it’s certainly not small and in the eyes of the Arab street it’s way beyond big. It’s enormous. Arab leaders of the countries I mentioned are aware of that and as long as the situation doesn’t change, handshakes will continue occurring secretly behind closed doors. That can’t continue if an emergency, which requires action, rises. Sooner or later the secretive will be forced into public.
What I predict will happen is the use of leverage. It’s logical and natural. Normalized relations will only occur within the framework of a fair settlement for the Palestinians. Arab countries suffering from the frequent nightmares will benefit greatly by turning a formidable enemy with advanced military capabilities into an ally on their side. In the process Israel’s wet dream of normalization and being accepted in the neighbourhood can come true. The high potential for economic benefits for both sides is also a big added bonus.
The situation currently presents the right factors and the strong motivation necessary for both sides to seriously sit down and genuinely discuss a solution to the Palestinian problem. This is a big opportunity for Israel. Sure, the Arab endorsed Saudi plan is rigid but it’s still a decent offer which can be worked out. If it does, another added benefit will hopefully be some genuine peace between Israel and Palestine. Israelis will be able to stop worrying about getting blown up during a bus ride and Palestinians could finally start enjoying a normal life. In the words of Maroon5’s lovely song She Will Be Loved, “it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, it’s compromise that moves us along.”
One of the main rules in business is that with every opportunity comes risk. The goal is therefore maximizing that opportunity and minimizing the risk. Compromises aren’t fun but they’re reality. As Iran’s rise in power continues and the dark cloud truly begins to loom above, the opportunity will grow. It will grow not only for Israel, but also for Arab countries and hopefully for the Palestinians. We’re witnessing a different reality today and the sooner we recognize it, the better. Iran’s newfound power might be the best damn thing that ever happened to the region in recent years.