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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 07, 2003

Thomas Friedman call your Shrink

As I've often noticed, Friedman has an obsession with Israeli "settlements." They, and not money, are the root of all evil for our intrepid columnist. So in Sunday's column he finds lessons for America to learn from Israel's occupation of Judea and Samaria.
Israel has been trying to get rid of Yasir Arafat for years, but it was a legitimate process, managed by the Palestinian legislature, that last month produced the first legitimate alternative: the first Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas.
Now aside from the question of how legitmate the process was or if Abbas even represents much of a departure from Arafat, let's accept Friedman's premise that this is a good thing. Did it come about because the PLC simply decided that Arafat was immoral, or a terrorist or had led his people to ruin? Well no. It had everything to do with America showing resolve and telling the Palestinians that the gig was up. Arafat was not legitimate; go find someone else.

I'm still curious what Friedman thinks was legitimate about the process anyway? There was no election.

That's been a core problem with the Israeli-Palesitinian peace process. People in the media, government and the diplomatic core are unwilling to say the truth about Arafat and his cohorts. Anyone undiplomatic enough to point these things out is labelled an extremist or Likudnik and dismissed out of hand.

It's true that Friedman came down hard on Arafat after the Camp David fiasco of 2000 but two paragraphs earlier shows, he seems to have forgotten that.
Mr. Bush should visit the West Bank. It is a cautionary tale of an occupation gone wrong. It is a miserable landscape of settlements, bypass roads, barbed wire and cement walls. Why? Because the Israeli and Palestinian mainstreams spent the last 36 years, since Israel's victory in 1967, avoiding any clear decision over how to govern this land. So those extremists who had a clear idea, like the settlers and Hamas, hijacked the situation and drove the agenda.
If my math is correct 36 years brings us to 2003. It's as if 2000 never happened. Ehud Barak was the perfect Israeli PM by Friedman's standards, yet his efforts are simply forgotten by a man who pretends to be the world's greatest living expert on the Middle East.

Furthermore, settlers build and Hamas (not to mention the PA) destroy, this equivalence is absolutely repugnant. But that's Friedman's obsession.

He really needs to see someone about it.

Cross-Posted on Doubting Thomas and IsraPundit.