Today's headlines are full of Iran, Israel, peace and global nuclear realities -- and rightfully so. This is an issue of the utmost urgency. The Israeli Prime Minister might have successfully evaded the world summit in Washington D.C., but he can no longer continue evading reality. The day when Israel will have to replace its nuclear ambiguity, a.k.a. "nuclear opacity", has arrived. Israel's own concern, as well as the world's, of a nuclear conflict in the Middle East calls for new thinking, a new vision.
Currently, the Arab states and their existing governments are not Israel's immediate enemy. Rather, the greatest strategic threat to Israeli security and existence are the Bin Laden's of the world who, should they acquire nuclear weapons, will not hesitate using them. Avoiding such a disaster requires that Israel cease asking the international community solely to oppose a nuclear Iran and start demanding immediate action to develop peace in conjunction with the creation of a truly stable economy and middle class in the Arab world, and bring them and their people closer to us and away from the Bin Ladenism. Bin Ladenism is the new post-state political reality and identity belonging beyond the official borders. Where the old state and the old artificial notion of the nation collapse the Bin Ladenism takes over.
However, I truly believe that human beings yearn to live peaceful, stable lives, it is in our nature to do so. Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International magazine, wrote in his book, The Future of Freedom:
"The chances of a democratic government dying out in a state where the average income for each individual is more than 6,000 dollars a year is one in 500. From the moment that wealth reaches the citizens, democracy becomes eternal."
I am not an expert on eternity, but I am convinced that a state without reciprocity between the government and the society it governs is not a state and not a society with which you would want to conduct political negotiations. The state needs a government that identifies its obligations to its people and fulfills them completely. This is what engenders dialogue both between the state and its people and between states that is based on mutual interests, stability and hope. The state should convey to its people that if the individual fails to work for the common good, he or she is likely to lose what they have worked so hard to achieve. In return, the state has to make it possible for the individual that works for the common good to succeed. Thus, it is possible to advance the best interests of all.
Israel's security and the general situation in the Middle East and around the world will improve when Arab societies, in general and with no patronizing, will improve the relationship between the citizens and their governments. Life will be better both for them and as result for us. A middle-class middle-east that apportions wealth and resources fairly between the haves and the have-nots signals a declaration of independence for a free society. In such a reality, the Arab citizen can then reap an additional benefit. An economy that takes into account all of society, and not just the top echelon, will bring about, free of charge, real peace. If the Arabs do not achieve a free society, Israel, along with the entire democratic Western world, does not stand a chance of confronting the theocratic civilization squaring off against us. It is either a better society or the worst of Bin Ladenism and their gangs.
Israel's other element, which needs to be implemented concurrently with the establishment of a middle class and rehabilitation of the existing Arab economies, is an invoice to be presented to the world that reflects the risks Israel is willing to take for peace. The world must take responsibility for this payment request and guarantee that the invoice is indeed paid. We need to petition for a world-wide plan -- binding and supervised -- to ensure the awareness of rights and freedoms in our neighboring societies.
Even if it takes a long time it is essential, even critical. After so many years of enmity, an instant peace has little chance of success. A stable peace requires digging deep and reaching solid building foundations. Israel must demonstrate a determined and resolute approach toward peace and boldness in retreat, in exchange for Arab determination on the path toward a middle class and a true assimilation of the freedoms of democracy. Israel will pay, with the coin of her realm, for repairing the world.
By then, the countries we deal with will have passed the point of no return. The level of the freedom in those societies will be such as to warrant their inclusion as full partners in the European Union or in any other pact, and Israel will have given its ultimate gift to world peace. At this point, Israel will then be able to join the other nations of the world in ratifying the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and later get rid of all of its "denied" nuclear arsenal.
This is the best deal that Israel can offer -- and must offer. Only such an approach might stop the mad race towards another round of war, this time with nuclear weapons in the hands of an insane regime, or worse, in the hands of a terrorist group that will not hesitate to use them.