In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Israel Lives the Joseph Story" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/opinion/friedman-israel-lives-the-joseph-story.html), this would-be Middle East expert writes:
"Over the last 40 years, a class of Arab leaders took power and managed to combine direct or indirect oil money, with multiple intelligence services, with support from either America or Russia, to ensconce themselves in office for multiple decades. All of these leaders used their iron fists to keep their sectarian conflicts — Sunnis versus Shiites, Christians versus Muslims, and Kurds and Palestinian refugees versus everyone else — in check. They also kept their Islamists underground.
With these iron-fisted leaders being toppled — and true, multisectarian democracies with effective governments yet to emerge in their place — Israel is potentially facing decades of unstable or no governments surrounding it. Only Jordan offers Israel a normal border. In the hinterlands beyond, Israel is looking at dysfunctional states that are either imploding (like Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Libya) or exploding (like Syria)."
Excuse me, but when did these "iron-fisted" leaders ever prevent conflict between Sunnis and Shiites? Take for example the Iran-Iraq War from 1980 to 1988. Take for example the Sa'dah War in Yemen, which began in 2004 and continues until today.
Christians have been abused in the Arab Middle East as long as I can remember. The churches, homes and businesses of Egypt's Copts, for example, have been under constant threat for the past 40 years. Chaldo-Assyrian Christians in Iraq have not fared any better over recent decades.
The Middle East's 30 million stateless Kurds? When have they not been savagely persecuted by Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria?
"There is no successful model of democratic governance in the Arab world at present — the Islamists are all failing. But Israel, if it partnered with the current moderate Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, has a chance to create a modern, economically thriving, democratic, secular state where Christians and Muslims would live side by side — next to Jews. That would be a hugely valuable example, especially at a time when the Arab world lacks anything like it. And the world for the most part would not begrudge Israel keeping its forces on the Jordan River — as will be necessary given the instability beyond — if it ceded most of the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
Together, Israelis and Palestinians actually have the power to model what a decent, postauthoritarian, multireligious Arab state could look like. Nothing would address both people’s long-term strategic needs better. Too bad their leaders today are not as farsighted as Joseph."
A "hugely valuable example"? The al-Qaeda backed Sunni rebels in Syria and Hezbollah backed Shiite/Alawite regime forces of Assad will simply throw down their arms and stare in amazement at a successful "model of democratic governance" in Palestine? Yeah, right.
Tom Terrific seems to forget that the term in office of Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, ended on January 9, 2009, yet Abbas has steadfastly refused to hold new elections. "The current moderate Palestinian leadership in the West Bank," like the rest of the Arab world, is not interested in democracy.
"And the world for the most part would not begrudge Israel keeping its forces on the Jordan River — as will be necessary given the instability beyond — if it ceded most of the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem." But this is exactly what Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offered Abbas in 2008, but Abbas refused. Is there any reason to believe that Abbas and friends are now prepared to accept the existence of a Jewish state living in peace beside them? I don't think so.
Keep dreaming, Tom. I am forever amazed that anyone is willing to pay for this pap.