Uri Savir on Israel and Its Neighbors

Uri Savir:

So, Israel is not just a success story because it won wars. It’s a success story because it created transparent institutions, a vibrant democracy, sometimes too vibrant, a modern industry, today a high technological industry which is among the leading in the world, and a modern army that’s part of it, modern agriculture. That, all together, makes Israel a success story against many odds. I don’t agree with Ambassador Bolton that Israel will attack Iran. The Iranian threat of becoming nuclear is not just a problem of Israel, it’s a problem of the whole Western world and the Western world above the ocean. United States and Europe must handle Iran with very rigid sanctions, to isolate it and to discourage it from going nuclear. Under no circumstances should it be seen solely as an Israeli problem. And, for the whole world, the military options would be a last resort. So, the Iranian people deserve better, but only a reform inside of Iran can change the situation and then negotiations may be in [point]. United States’ role is not to prevent Israel from attacking. The United States’ role is to lead a coalition against Iran. To negotiate with Iran is only possible with reformist elements that may come. There are some among women, some among NGOs, some among reformist intellections, but this will take time and will also depend on the outcome of American elections. Participatory peace between Israelis and Palestinians is really to engage as much of the civil society as possible, the doctors working with doctors saving children, be it sports people playing soccer among each other and training young people, be it people who know to grow modern agriculture or irrigate with modern water systems working together, because this region has more oil than it has water, be it women working together as much as the bereaved families, working together and overcoming their pain. It’s really endless, it’s possible and it’s happening. Of course, the heightened security for Israel is a problem, but as long we go on with our normal lives, as long as we develop a good economy, a good society, as long as we are a people of culture, a people of the book, we can overcome it. But our real dream is peace. We need peace for the next generation, and as some of you has been engaged deeply in the peace process, I know that peace is possible, not only with the Palestinians, also with Syria, and also a comprehensive peace. Everybody in this region is tired of war.

In explaining the regional security situation, Uri Savir endorses NGO’s as one of the foundations to building a civil society in Iran.

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