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Iran, Israel and the politics of gesture

Iranian and Israeli officials are listening to each other at international conferences.
MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 2:  (L-R) Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, US Senator Christopher Murphy and chairman and organizer of the 50th Munich Security Conference (MSC)Wolfgang Ischinger attend a panel discussion during the 50th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in the Bayerischer Hof hotel on February 2, 2014 in Munich, Germany. The Munich Security Conference is to open with
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We are witnessing something which has rarely been seen in recent Iran-Israel tensions: a series of goodwill gestures by both sides.

On Feb. 2, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon stayed on for the Iranian foreign minister’s panel at the Munich Security Conference. Ya'alon not only stayed, he sat in the front row, meters away from Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was sitting on the dais as part of the panel. As noted by Times of Israel correspondent Raphael Ahern, this showed a change of strategy, since “just four months ago, [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu ordered Israel’s delegation to the United Nations to walk out during the speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the General Assembly.”

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