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What Israel and Iran share: mistrust of international law

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Most nations see international law not just as a set of limits on their behavior or a commonly accepted list of dos and don'ts that they must obey. In a globalized, interdependent world, they also see international law as a bargain, one that obliges them to maintain certain responsibilities yet also offers them certain rights they are entitled to enjoy.

While Israel and Iran are constantly reminded of their international responsibilities, they have seldom seen the practical application of their purported rights.

Consider Israel's perspective. For a modern state that has existed a mere 62 years, it has known seven wars, countless terrorist attacks against its civilian population, and two arduous Palestinian insurrections, all with scant global sympathy and virtually no legal protection.

Israel's perspective

Since its creation in 1948, Israel has yet to achieve any sense of normalcy or acceptance in the Middle East as an authentic member state. Having virtually no meaningful diplomatic relations with its immediate neighbors, save for two tenuous peace treaties that are linked to the survival of the Egyptian and Jordanian autocracies, it is now witnessing the disintegration of once-amicable ties with the Turkish Republic.

The heightened sense of insecurity due to strained relations with the Obama White House, the increasing rocket attacks from Gaza after Israel's unilateral disengagement in 2005, and failed peace efforts with the Palestinians (even as a new round of talks are set to start Sept. 2) have shifted an already beleaguered and paranoid Israeli body politic further to the right.

Iran's recent history

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