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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sometimes you put your wallet away

Tom Friedman 'worries' that with Hosni Mubarak gone, Israel will now have to pay 'retail' for peace with Egypt.
Let’s start with Israel. For the last 30 years, Israel enjoyed peace with Egypt wholesale — by having peace with just one man, Hosni Mubarak. That sale is over. Today, post-Mubarak, to sustain the peace treaty with Egypt in any kind of stable manner, Israel is going to have to pay retail. It is going to have to make peace with 85 million Egyptians. The days in which one phone call by Israel to Mubarak could shut down any crisis in relations are over.

Amr Moussa, the outgoing head of the Arab League and the front-runner in polls to succeed Mubarak as president when Egypt holds elections in November, just made that clear in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Regarding Israel, Moussa said: “Mubarak had a certain policy. It was his own policy, and I don’t think we have to follow this. We want to be a friend of Israel, but it has to have two parties. It is not on Egypt to be a friend. Israel has to be a friend, too.”

Moussa owes a great deal of his popularity in Egypt to his tough approach to Israel....

The current Israeli government, however, shows little sign of being prepared for peace retail. I can’t say with any certainty that Israel has a Palestinian partner for a secure peace so that Israel can end its occupation of the West Bank. But I can say with 100 percent certainty that Israel has a huge interest in going out of its way to test that possibility. The Arab world is going through a tumultuous transition to a still uncertain destination. Israel needs to do all it can to get out of their story, because it is going to be a wild ride.
Let's set some facts straight. Israel paid retail thirty years ago. It paid retail by giving up the entire Sinai - every last inch - in exchange for a piece of paper issued by Egypt. The Sinai has both military (as a buffer zone) and economic (as a source of energy) significance. In international relations, a deal is supposed to be a deal even if there's a change in government. For the 'civilized' Tom Friedman to be writing articles in the New York Times that imply that Egypt has the 'right' to demand more of Israel than the retail price we already paid in 1979 is nothing short of outrageous. If Anwar Sadat's deal can be canceled because of a change in government in Egypt, why can't Amr Moussa's or anyone else's? And what justification is there for Israel paying more to someone else only to see that deal canceled?

Second, even Tom has difficulty claiming there's a 'Palestinian' partner for peace. But Friedman says Israel has an interest in going out of its way to test that possibility. Well Tom, we did. Most recently in 2000 (Barak at Camp David), in 2001 (Barak at Taba - remember the Clinton parameters Tom?) and in 2008 (the Olmert offer that Abu Bluff wouldn't even answer). What else do you propose that we do, Tom? Give our entire population swimming lessons?

Sorry Tom, but some things aren't worth buying at any price. We're folding up our wallets. And if Egypt attacks us, God forbid, they're going to be in for a nasty surprise. And they won't get the Sinai back again.

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At 3:10 PM, Blogger NormanF said...


Tom - if Egypt has the right to reopen the treaty, then Israel has every right to put new demands on the table.

Both sides have the right to do that and if Egypt doesn't see fit to honor its undertakings, there is no reason in the world why Israel should cater to their temper tantrum.

Egypt signed a deal and if they get to break it, the lesson on Israelis is that land for peace is worthless, that the Arabs cannot be trusted to keep their word.

If you don't like that Tom, tough luck. The truth is there is no peace to be had for any price in our lifetime.

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

The whole marxist caliphate philosophy is built on coveting what other people have. So, while the centrality of helping the poor is part of (almost all?) religions, the concept of envy and coveting and promoting class/race conflict is antithetical to the ten commandments. People like Tom Friedman consider themselves worldly, sophisticated, and cool in their admiration for philosophies (not to mention the police states) that disclaim the Judeo Christian idea of not coveting and stealing...


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