Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made a remarkable announcement. He's admitted that Iran might agree to the existence of the state of Israel.There is no "shift in policy" here. Ahmadinejad has always said that he would abide by the results of his proposed "referendum."
Ahmadinejad was asked: "If the Palestinian leaders agree to a two-state solution, could Iran live with an Israeli state?"
This was his astonishing reply:
If they [the Palestinians] want to keep the Zionists, they can stay ... Whatever the people decide, we will respect it. I mean, it's very much in correspondence with our proposal to allow Palestinian people to decide through free referendums.
Since most Palestinians are willing to accept a two-state solution, the Iranian president is, in effect, agreeing to Israel's right to exist and opening the door to a peace deal that Iran will endorse.
Ahmadinejad made this apparently extraordinary shift in policy during an interview last week when he was in New York to address the UN general assembly.
The problem is that there is no way to spin the idea that the Palestinians should vote on the fate of the Jews in Israel into a moderate opinion. If Palestinians mostly support a two-state solution, and it is not clear at all that they do, it is because they think that is the best they can do under the circumstances. This tells us nothing about the outcome of a Palestinian-dominated, never-never-land "referendum" in which the Palestinians can choose any fate for the Jews they like. The way Ahmadinejad put it in his 2006 Time interview was this:
In any country in which the people are ready to vote for the Jews to come to power, it is up to them.This is obviously not anything that Ahmadinejad suspects the Palestinians of desiring. He is just playing stupid rhetorical tricks for the likes of Peter Tatchell.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad