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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thomas Friedman, "The Arab Awakening and Israel": Horsefeathers

I ordinarily don't say all that much about myself or my family by way of this blog. Although well over 50, I still serve as a reservist in the Israeli army, but no longer in a combat unit. However, like many who have served in combat units, I have my nightmares and acknowledge my "survivors guilt," and I have never forgotten how our Tel Aviv apartment shook when Scuds from Iraq fell on the city during the First Gulf War. My oldest son, an infant during the First Gulf War, but now a reservist in the paratroops, has already had his first intimate brush with death, and watched his officer die a few steps away several short years ago. My daughter is currently serving as a medic in an elite combat unit.

Given all of the above, and given the 50,000 rockets and missiles being aimed at Israel by Hezbollah, not to mention the arsenals in Gaza and Iran being readied for the Zionist enemy, you just can't imagine the pleasure I get from reading Thomas Friedman's New York Times advisory missives, written from his mansion in Maryland.

In "The Arab Awakening and Israel" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/30/opinion/israel-and-the-arab-awakening.html?hp), Friedman would explain to us the dilemma faced by Israel:

"Israel is facing the biggest erosion of its strategic environment since its founding. It is alienated from its longtime ally Turkey. Its archenemy Iran is suspected of developing a nuclear bomb. The two strongest states on its border — Syria and Egypt — are being convulsed by revolutions. The two weakest states on its border — Gaza and Lebanon — are controlled by Hamas and Hezbollah."

Thanks for alerting me to the danger, Tom. Friedman's prescription for addressing the danger is for Israel to support Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad:

"Israel has an Arab awakening in its own backyard in the person of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of the Palestinian Authority. He’s been the most radical Arab leader of all. He is the first Palestinian leader to say: judge me on my performance in improving my peoples’ lives, not on my rhetoric. His focus has been on building institutions — including what Israelis admit is a security force that has helped to keep Israel peaceful — so Palestinians will be ready for a two-state solution. Instead of rewarding him, Israel has been withholding $100 million in Palestinian tax revenues that Fayyad needs — in punishment for the Palestinians pressing for a state at the U.N. — to pay the security forces that help to protect Israel. That is crazy."

Well, first let's get our facts straight concerning the funds which have been withheld for all of one month, as a result, inter alia, of Fatah-Hamas unity talks. As reported by The Jerusalem Post (http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=247502):

"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to convene his senior cabinet on Wednesday to decide on the release of $100 million in Palestinian tax revenue that Israel has been withholding since the beginning of the month.

While it was not immediately clear whether Netanyahu would convene his forum of eight senior ministers to decide on the matter, or whether it would be raised at the weekly security cabinet meeting of 14 ministers, one senior government source said the prime minister has a majority in both forums for freeing up the funds."

Okay, so Tom's a little behind the curve, but is Friedman also unaware that Netanyahu was personally responsible for reducing the number of West Bank checkpoints from 41 to 15 over the past three years, thereby contributing to growth in West Bank GDP?

Friedman admonishes Israel to "strengthen Fayyadism":

"This would not only help stabilize Israel’s own backyard — and prevent another uprising that would spread like wildfire to the Arab world without the old dictators to hold it back — but would lay the foundation for a two-state solution and for better relations with the Arab peoples. Remember, those Arab peoples are going to have a lot more say in how they are ruled and with whom they have peace. In that context, Israel will be so much better off if it is seen as strengthening responsible and democratic Palestinian leaders."

Ah, yes, "responsible and democratic Palestinian leaders." I suppose Tom is referring to Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas, who has now served two years beyond his term and refuses to hold democratic elections in the West Bank. Then there is also Abbas's ongoing flirtation with Hamas, which in addition to firing rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel on almost a daily basis, calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis. Then there is also the very recent decision of Abbas to pay honorariums to released terrorists using US aid (see: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/10/23/palestinian-subsidies-terrorists-aid-cutoff/).

By all means: let's provide Abbas and Fayyad with our unbridled support. Thank you, Tom, for your profound insights, which have made my morning that much brighter. I just want to pinch your chubby cheeks.

[As indicated above, Israel's inner cabinet today approved the release of Palestinian tax revenue withheld since the beginning of the month.]

4 comments:

  1. Jeffrey, any chance your blog can be turned into something larger?

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  2. Many, many thanks. I wish there was a way. Meanwhile, it has a global readership. Perhaps I should write again to my friend, Andrew Rosenthal, and ask for a column with The Times . . .
    Jeffrey

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  3. "Perhaps I should write again to my friend, Andrew Rosenthal"
    Probably not - "Nur die Antisemiten" need to apply ...

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  4. d'excellents conseils!
    Jeffrey

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