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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Friedman's delusions

Tom Friedman calls Israel a 'spoiled child' for not following Master Obama's orders. Friedman demands that we behave like children and do as we are told, without taking into account our own concerns. For example:
At a time when the president has made it one of his top priorities to build a global coalition to stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon, he took the very logical view that if he could advance the peace process in the Middle East it would give him much greater leverage to get the Europeans and U.N. behind tougher sanctions on Iran.
Funny Tom. A year ago, that would have said "greater leverage to get the Arab countries behind tougher sanctions on Iran. Have we given up on getting any cooperation out of the Arab countries? It sure seems like it. The UN is feckless and doesn't need to be behind anything (although its members ought to be behind sanctions against Iran), and if the Europeans cannot see why it's in their own interest to back sanctions against Iran (which they apparently have started to see - with the exception of the Swiss and maybe the Germans), no amount of Israeli 'flexibility' is going to convince them. And by the way, Tom, the sanctions are in place, and I have not heard any talk in several months now about strengthening them, at least on an international level.
At the same time, Obama believed — what a majority of Israelis believe — that Israel can’t remain a Jewish democracy in the long run if it continues to control 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank.
Hey Tom, that's factually incorrect (more here) and most Israelis don't believe it anymore. It's time for you to broaden your horizons or get a new pollster.
On top of it all, while pressing Israel to stop expanding settlements for as little as 60 days, Obama ordered his vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright of the Marines, to lead a U.S. team to work with Israel’s military on an unprecedented package of security assistance to enable Israel to maintain its “qualitative edge” over its neighbors.
Tom, what are we going to accomplish by extending the freeze for 60 days? Because I'll tell you what we'll destroy by extending the freeze for 60 days: We'll destroy the Prime Minister's credibility because he promised - and Obama and Clinton agreed - that the freeze was a one-time concession. The 'Palestinians' sat on the 10-month freeze for nine months before they came to the table. What's to stop them from doing that again?

And by the way, most Israelis oppose extending the freeze.

Aside from that, we know what was offered - it was all leaked. Most of it worked against us by placing end dates on things the US currently does for us, like running interference in the Security Council. Why would we want you not to commit to that beyond a year? And by the way, what assurance are you going to give to us that we won't be asked for another extension in two months? Obama's word? Don't make me laugh. Since Obama pretended that the Bush letter doesn't exist, no one in this country takes Obama's word for anything. He has zero credibility here.
It is a measure of how spoiled Israel has become that after billions and billions of dollars in U.S. aid and 300,000 settlers already ensconced in the West Bank, Israel feels no compunction about spurning an American request for a longer settlement freeze — the only purpose of which is to help the United States help Israel reach a secure peace with the Palestinians.
We don't believe that the purpose of extending the 'settlement freeze' is to reach a secure peace. We believe it's to let the 'Palestinians' stall some more. They've already said that extending what we did before for two months isn't good enough. They want us not to build in Jerusalem and they want us to keep the 'freeze' in effect as long as the negotiations are going on. That's 17 years and counting the last time I looked. I have kids to marry off, Tom. There's a housing shortage in Jerusalem and its environs. The only empty land on which we can build runs east (the environmental implications of building westward are devastating). Why would I agree to that kind of freeze?
Just one time you would like Israel to say, “You know, Mr. President, we’re dubious that a continued settlement freeze will have an impact. But you think it will, so, let’s test it. This one’s for you.”
We did that Tom. On November 26, 2009. Look it up on your calendar. We tested it for ten months. It failed. As Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. No more.
Second, I have no idea whether the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has the will and the guts to make peace with Israel. In fact, when you go back and look at what Ehud Olmert, Netanyahu’s predecessor, offered Abbas — a real two-state compromise, including a deal on Jerusalem — and you think that Abbas spurned that offer, and you think that Netanyahu already gave Abbas a 10-month settlement freeze and Abbas only entered serious talks in the ninth month, you have to wonder how committed he is.
Well, yeah. But why did it take you so long to get to this?
But the fact is that the team of Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have built a government that is the best the Palestinians have ever had, and, more importantly, a Palestinian security apparatus that the Israeli military respects and is acting as a real partner. Given this, Israel has an overwhelming interest to really test — that is all we can ask — whether this Palestinian leadership is ready for a fair and mutually secure two-state solution.
We did. For ten months. They didn't come to the table for the first nine, and then they came to the table just to ask for an extension. Did you go to university Tom? Did your professors give you extensions if you didn't do an assignment and then came the day before it was due and asked for an extension? Mine didn't. And we shouldn't either. Enough is enough.


At 9:36 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

That last point is a very good retort, Carl. If you were my professor, would you grant me an extension? Only in very compelling circumstances. I actually did get an extension but only to complete a major project I had nearly finished and it seemed appropriate to allow me the extra time to finish it and I did and didn't ask for another one.

To put it another way, are the Palestinians going to recognize Israel as a Jewish State and are they going to agree to reach a compromise with Israel by the time an extension would expire? We already have their answer and its "no." There is no point to punishing innocent Jews by freezing their lives to allow the Palestinians to evade making serious decisions about the future.

When they are ready to really negotiate with Israel instead of playing games, they know Israel's address. In the meantime they and their enablers like Tom Friedman, can get lost and Israel can move to other more important issues that demands its attention. That's the conduct of a mature and responsible adult.

Something the Friedmans of the world refuse to grasp.


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