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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And again: Friedman slams Bibi for not doing enough for 'peace'

I'd love to get the guys at Cox and Forkum to reissue this cartoon with Tom Friedman in the front row rather than Jimmy Carter. Although Tom isn't an elder yet, it is he, more often than Carter, who is constantly urging us to give the Jew-hating murderers another chance.
In Middle East terms, the “unmanageable” we have to avoid is another war between Israel and any of its neighbors. The “unavoidable” we have to manage is dealing with what is certain to be a much more unstable Arab world, sitting atop the world’s largest oil reserves. The strategy we need is a serious peace policy combined with a serious energy policy.

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel is always wondering why his nation is losing support and what the world expects of a tiny country surrounded by implacable foes. I can’t speak for the world, but I can speak for myself. I have no idea whether Israel has a Palestinian or Syrian partner for a secure peace that Israel can live with. But I know this: With a more democratic and populist Arab world in Israel’s future, and with Israel facing the prospect of having a minority of Jews permanently ruling over a majority of Arabs — between Israel and the West Bank, which could lead to Israel being equated with apartheid South Africa all over the world — Israel needs to use every ounce of its creativity to explore ways to securely cede the West Bank to a Palestinian state.

I repeat: It may not be possible. But Netanyahu has not spent his time in office using Israel’s creativity to find ways to do such a deal. He has spent his time trying to avoid such a deal — and everyone knows it. No one is fooled.


The only way for Netanyahu to be taken seriously again is if he risks some political capital and actually surprises people. Bibi keeps hinting that he is ready for painful territorial compromises involving settlements. Fine, put a map on the table. Let’s see what you’re talking about. Or how about removing the illegal West Bank settlements built by renegade settler groups against the will of Israel’s government. Either move would force Israel’s adversaries to take Bibi seriously and would pressure Palestinians to be equally serious.
Israel needs to negotiate with a 'Palestinian partner' who is interested in peace. For the last three years, there has not been one. Friedman's icon, Abu Mazen has refused to even come to the table. Instead, he has gone to a different table, and signed a reconciliation with the murderous Hamas terror organization.

There's no point to Netanyahu showing maps or anything else to anyone who is not at the negotiating table. For what purpose? So that we can make more concessions in a fevered negotiation with ourselves?

More than thirty years ago, I got my nose broken trying to save someone else from being mugged. It was set in an emergency room, slipped out of place the first night, and therefore did not heal properly. A month later, I went to see the chief of plastic surgery at a major hospital.

He promised that my slightly crooked nose would not ruin my marriage prospects (it didn't). He told us a story of a woman who goes to meet a man for a marriage proposal. The man insists that he cannot marry her without first seeing all that she has to offer. She removes item by item of clothing, but still, he claims that she cannot make up her mind. Finally, when she is completely naked in front of him, he says that her nose is too long.

There is no reason for Israel to endure the kind of humiliation and rejection that woman endured. If the 'Palestinians' wish to talk, they should come to the table and talk without preconditions that ask Israel to expose itself, as Prime Minister Netanyahu has been urging since he took office in March 2009. But if they don't wish to talk, as has been the case until now, the likes of Tom Friedman could be a lot more helpful if for a change they would put pressure on the 'Palestinians' rather than on Israel.

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At 11:38 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Tom Friedman by the way inverted the truth. Netanyahu has been seeking negotiations and an end to the conflict since the day he took office rather than "creatively avoiding it." He made unprecedented concessions to create an atmosphere for the Palestinians to talk.

All to no avail. For him to sit there and write that kind of lie blaming the Prime Minister Of Israel for not wanting peace, is incredible chutzpah. The truth is the Palestinians have not only refused to negotiate in good faith, they haven't even tried to talk to Israel. And at no point during past 18 years of Oslo have they ever made the tiniest concession for peace.

To argue Israel hasn't tried hard enough is the lowest form of insult imaginable. In a region where Arab popular opinion longs for Israel's destruction, there is a limit to what Israel can give. And while I don't agree with Netanyahu's latest proposed concessions, proposed concessions by way for which Friedman gives him no credit whatsoever, I do agree the real issue has never been about territory or settlements but about Israel's right to exist. The Prime Minister made that very clear the other day.

Nothing has changed in the Middle East for a century. But that reality is lost on Friedman who doesn't, even though he has been in the Arab World and Israel long enough to know the truth, that peace is impossible not because of mythical Israeli intransigence but because of Arab rejection of Israel's existence.

And as long he doesn't want to address the truth, his cheap shots at Israel's Prime Minister won't bring peace in the Middle East any closer. It would be helpful if he focused on the real problem at hand instead of ceaselessly blaming Israel for facts it cannot change.


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