|Arafat with Thomas Friedman|
I will highlight in red the offensive remarks and comment in blue
Israel: Adrift at Sea Alone
I’VE never been more worried about Israel’s future. The crumbling of key pillars of Israel’s security — the peace with Egypt, the stability of Syria and the friendship of Turkey and Jordan — coupled with the most diplomatically inept and strategically incompetent government in Israel’s history have put Israel in a very dangerous situation.
This has also left the U.S. government fed up with Israel’s leadership but a hostage to its ineptitude, because the powerful pro-Israel lobby in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s.
Obama's Mid-East Policies caused most of the challenges facing Israel by not allowing Jews to build in their own country
What response to the uncertain outcome in Egypt and the upheavals all around the Arab world can Bibi give that will "protect Israel's long-term interests."
O.K., Mr. Netanyahu has a strategy: Do nothing vis-à-vis the Palestinians or Turkey that will require him to go against his base, compromise his ideology or antagonize his key coalition partner, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, an extreme right-winger. Then, call on the U.S. to stop Iran’s nuclear program and help Israel out of every pickle, but make sure that President Obama can’t ask for anything in return — like halting Israeli settlements — by mobilizing Republicans in Congress to box in Obama and by encouraging Jewish leaders to suggest that Obama is hostile to Israel and is losing the Jewish vote. And meanwhile, get the Israel lobby to hammer anyone in the administration or Congress who says aloud that maybe Bibi has made some mistakes, not just Barack. There, who says Mr. Netanyahu doesn’t have a strategy?
Bibi Netantahu was elected by the Israeli people because he had a mandate. May I remind Mr. Thomas that Israel is a democracy. And Obama has not asked Iran to stop its Nuclear Program, he in fact said that "we have to live with that." And why should Israel apologize to Turkey?
“The years-long diplomatic effort to integrate Israel as an accepted neighbor in the Middle East collapsed this week, with the expulsion of the Israeli ambassadors from Ankara and Cairo, and the rushed evacuation of the embassy staff from Amman,” wrote Haaretz newspaper’s Aluf Benn. “The region is spewing out the Jewish state, which is increasingly shutting itself off behind fortified walls, under a leadership that refuses any change, movement or reform ... Netanyahu demonstrated utter passivity in the face of the dramatic changes in the region, and allowed his rivals to seize the initiative and set the agenda.”
Thomas Friedman, the Arab lover, quotes Ha'aretz' editor, another Arab lover, who last week wrote that "Abbas is really a peace partner."
What could Israel have done? The Palestinian Authority, which has made concrete strides in the past five years at building the institutions and security forces of a state in the West Bank — making life there quieter than ever for Israel — finally said to itself: “Our state-building has not prompted Israel to halt settlements or engage in steps to separate, so all we’re doing is sustaining Israel’s occupation. Let’s go to the U.N., get recognized as a state within the 1967 borders and fight Israel that way.” Once this was clear, Israel should have either put out its own peace plan or tried to shape the U.N. diplomacy with its own resolution that reaffirmed the right of both the Palestinian and the Jewish people to a state in historic Palestine and reignited negotiations.
This is the most shameful part of Friedman's article.
Now this is the most shameful part of Friedman’s article. First of all, the PA made concrete strides not just because the US has funded and trained a PA army, but because Israel supported and assisted in this program. Israel also protected and protects the PA from Hamas.
Second, much of the state-building progress made by the Palestinians was facilitated by Israel. Removal of many roadblocks, opening of economic channels, support of Bank of Israel head Fischer to his former protegee Fayyad, permission of movement of Palestinian goods, improved conditions for construction of Israeli buildings, homes and business in Judea and Samaria which employ tens of thousands of Palestinians, and respectful treatment of the Palestinian leadership.
Third, Israel offered the Palestinians a peace deal in 2008 that included 100% of Gaza, 95% of the West Bank, 1:1 land exchange on the remaining land, an internationalized Jerusalem (!!!) and all the goodies that had been promised in 2001 at Taba by Barak such as tens of billions of dollars in reparations and a limited return to original Palestinian refugees into Israel proper. The Palestinians walked away from this offer by a sitting Israeli PM.
Fourth, the Palestinians did not return to the table after that offer. On the contrary, they announced in a Washington Post interview just after Obama’s election that they intended to delay all talks while Netanyahu was in power so as to have Obama’s pressure topple the Israeli government.
Mr. Netanyahu did neither. Now the U.S. is scrambling to defuse the crisis, so the U.S. does not have to cast a U.N. veto on a Palestinian state, which could be disastrous in an Arab world increasingly moving toward more popular self-rule.
The US has to cast a veto or it might as well throw out the UN rule book. The Oslo Accords are based on UNSCR 242 and 338. These are international agreements signed by the Palestinians and committing them to honor and abide these two resolutions. By moving ahead unilaterally, they are in violation of Oslo, of 242/338, of all deals signed under the US’s leadership since 1994 and of all Quartet declarations. The US has to veto or it simply accepts that all the deals it has worked out are not just null and void but actually carry no weight whatsoever.
Perhaps Mr. Friedman can explain to the rest of us how the US will be able to manage any further diplomatic engagements anywhere in the world where it seeks to influence an outcome if the agreements which are signed under the watchful eyes of its presidents, secretaries of state and other officials are not worth the paper on which they are written?Oh, and what is this business about “popular self-rule?” Should the US appease an Arab world if their “popular self-rule” determines that women should not be permitted to drive or may be mutilated or killed in honor killings? Should it support that world if the “popular self-rule” brings about military juntas as we see now in Egypt? Or perhaps the US should maintain a strong backbone and keep supporting democracies and strong civil rights?
On Turkey, the Obama team and Mr. Netanyahu’s lawyers worked tirelessly these last two months to resolve the crisis stemming from the killing by Israeli commandos of Turkish civilians in the May 2010 Turkish aid flotilla that recklessly tried to land in Gaza. Turkey was demanding an apology. According to an exhaustive article about the talks by the Israeli columnist Nahum Barnea of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, the two sides agreed that Israel would apologize only for “operational mistakes” and the Turks would agree to not raise legal claims. Bibi then undercut his own lawyers and rejected the deal, out of national pride and fear that Mr. Lieberman would use it against him. So Turkey threw out the Israeli ambassador.
Apologize to Turkey, for what? I cannot understand how anybody still reads that liar Thomas Friedman.
As for Egypt, stability has left the building there and any new Egyptian government is going to be subjected to more populist pressures on Israel. Some of this is unavoidable, but why not have a strategy to minimize it by Israel putting a real peace map on the table?
I have great sympathy for Israel’s strategic dilemma and no illusions about its enemies. But Israel today is giving its friends — and President Obama’s one of them — nothing to defend it with. Israel can fight with everyone or it can choose not to surrender but to blunt these trends with a peace overture that fair-minded people would recognize as serious, and thereby reduce its isolation.
Unfortunately, Israel today does not have a leader or a cabinet for such subtle diplomacy. One can only hope that the Israeli people will recognize this before this government plunges Israel into deeper global isolation and drags America along with it
Thats because the Arabs refuse to let us live.