Thomas Friedman, among many other columnists, is complaining that the so-called “Peace Process” isn’t a factor in the Israeli election. Neither is perpetual motion, the infinite money tree or anything else that doesn’t exist.
“Meanwhile, with a few exceptions, the dome and wall have so insulated the Israeli left and center from the effects of the Israeli occupation that their main candidates for the Jan. 22 elections — including those from Yitzhak Rabin’s old Labor Party — are not even offering peace ideas but simply conceding the right’s dominance on that issue and focusing on bringing down housing prices and school class sizes.”
Thomas Friedman, as usual, is wrong about everything.
1. Israel just went through a conflict which hit far harder and deeper inside the country than before. It has been a long time since Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were actually under fire. If anything the Israeli left is less motivated to push a peace program after that.
2. The Israeli left focused on social issues due to the advice of Clinton operative Stanley Greenberg. If Friedman wants to complain to anyone about the Labor Party’s focus on social issues, he can talk to his own buddies. Furthermore the social issues approach has worked to some extent. The Labor Party would be doing much worse on a peace platform.
3. What exactly is Friedman proposing?
Multiple columnists are complaining about a lack of “creative” peace solutions. What are those solutions exactly? More concessions and more negotiations?
Let’s be clear about a few things.
A. There is no single Palestinian political entity. There are two. Neither of which is viable. Hamas and Fatah are locked in a death struggle. Abbas of Fatah is refusing to run for election and is on the ninth year of a four-year term.
B. Hamas is bound to win. Hamas is more popular. It is stronger. And with the Muslim Brotherhood takeover, it has local backing.
C. Hamas will not reach a final peace deal with Israel.
So how are these peace proposals going to make the Palestinian Authority do what Arafat wouldn’t? How are they going to make it into a viable political entity that can win open elections? How are they going to overcome the new Cairo-Gaza alliance?
If something hasn’t worked for twenty years, the plan for making it work now has to take into account the reasons that it didn’t work. Friedman and his ilk never do. They just mumble something about settlements, negotiations and confidence building measures.
The Netanyahu strategy of peace with security has delivered neither peace nor security, but it has delivered more of both than Labor was able to. Most Israelis have accepted that peace isn’t coming and persuading them otherwise requires coming up with one hell of a creative solution.