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When it comes to Thomas Friedman’s all-too-often misguided and misleading commentary on the Middle East, and especially on the Arab-Israel conflict, one must keep in mind that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. In his New York Times article of April 4 (“A Middle East Twofer”), Friedman does offer one accurate insight into the psyche of Israel’s population: Israel can accommodate a Palestinian state on its border only when Israelis can feel strategically secure. Everything else in his article is so inaccurate that it borders on mendacity.
He starts off with praise for Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian terrorist leader serving five consecutive life sentences for the murder of many Israelis in terror attacks. Friedman considers Barghouti to be “the most authentic leader Fatah has produced.” He is right. Barghouti is one of the most, if not the most, authentic of all Palestinian leaders living today. But Friedman fails to note, or fails to mention, that Barghouti’s authenticity, and his popularity with the Palestinian rank-and-file, arise from his success at killing Israelis and his ability to plan and execute lethal terror attacks.
Yet this “authenticity,” festooned as it is with the blood and gore of hundreds of Israelis shot or stabbed or blown up or burned alive, inspires Friedman to place great confidence in Barghouti’s call, from his jail cell, for non-violent civil disobedience; even though, as Friedman envisions it, this “non-violence” can include throwing rocks and waging economic and political war and lawfare against Israel.
He neglects to ask if Israelis share his confidence in such an “authentic” leader. He fails to note the real purpose of Arab economic and political warfare against Israel, the goal of lawfare, and the life-threatening potential of stone-throwing. For Palestinian leadership, and for much leadership of Arab countries, the end-game goals of all of these endeavors do not include peace with Israel. Rather they are part of the 65-year war waged for the destruction of Israel and its replacement with “Palestine.” How did Friedman miss these critical points?
He misses a similar critical point when he urges the Palestinians to offer Israel a peace plan in the form of a “map delineating how, for peace, they would accept getting back 95 percent of the West Bank and all Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and would swap the other 5 percent for land inside pre-1967 Israel.” What he fails to note, or neglects to mention, is that the Palestinian leadership from Arafat to Abbas to Hamas have already done that. As Arafat so quaintly put it decades ago:
Since we cannot defeat Israel in war we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.
And it is not just Arafat. Numerous Hamas and PA leaders have said the same thing.
- “Palestine is a Muslim land …we do not recognise the sovereignty of Jews on a hand-span of our country.”
- “Our fate from Allah is to be the vanguard in the war against the Jews until the resurrection of the dead.”
- “The Jews are the Jews…therefore it is necessary to slaughter them and murder them…..kill them….have no mercy on the Jews, murder them everywhere”
- “The day of resurrection will not come until the victory of the believers over the descendents of monkeys and pigs, with their annihilation.”
But enough about the Jews. What about plans for the future of peace with Israel?
- “The Zionist entity will be destroyed within the first quarter of this century.”
- “[T]here is no place for the state of Israel on this land.”
- “When we speak of Jerusalem it does not mean that we have forgotten about … Jaffa or Acre (Israeli cities)….from a religious point of view Palestine from the sea to the river is Islamic.” Any room for Israel in that vision?
- “Even if agreements were signed regarding Gaza and the West Bank, we will not forget (the Israeli cities and regions of) Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, the Galilee Triangle, and the Negev. It is only a question of time.” Time for what; congenial cooperation?
- “All of the agreements….are temporary.” Good to know this in advance.
- “We exaggerate when we say ‘peace’…what we are speaking about is ‘hudna,’ a temporary ceasefire.” Temporary till when?
Such rhetoric of annihilation accompanies hate-teach from kindergarten up in PA schools. And their deeds match their words.
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