Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tom Friedman partially gets it, partially doesn't

Sar Shalom

In his most recent column, makes an important point and a point that is wildly off the mark. In discussing the current situation of rockets from Gaza, Friedman writes:
In my view, the only way Israel can truly curtail the Hamas rocket threat is if the Palestinians of Gaza demand that the rockets stop. Sure, Israel can inflict enough pain on all of Gaza to get a cease-fire, but it never lasts. The only sustainable way to do it is by Israel partnering with moderate Palestinians in the West Bank to build a thriving state there, so Gaza Palestinians wake up every day and say to the nihilistic Hamas: “We want what our West Bank cousins have.” The only sustainable controls are those that come from within.

That is how the U.S. military defeated the earlier version of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, when the jihadists largely took over Iraq’s Anbar Province in 2006-7. The U.S. partnered with the Sunni Muslim tribal leaders ...
This observation is entirely accurate, even from the narrow standpoint of eliminating Hamas and all other irhabist groups (note that eliminating Hamas would not be much of an improvement if the replacement is ISIL or a similar group, hence the expanded target). The only way to kill our way to eliminating all those groups is the Carthaginian way. To eliminate the irhab coalition without turning Gaza into Carthage, it will be necessary to convince a large enough portion of the remaining population to embrace an alternative regime.

The only issue in this approach becomes how to identify what constitutes a moderate movement that would constitute an acceptable alternative. It is on this front that Friedman is so wildly off with:
And the moderate, secular Palestinian leadership in the West Bank ...
There are moderates among the Palestinians. For instance, there's Sheikh Zaid al-Jabari of Hebron and there's the Wasatiya movement who's leader led a group of students to Auschwitz and had to resign his position at Al Quds University as a result. However, the international intelligentsia so dogmatic that there just has to be a moderate with influence among the Palestinians that they insist that Abbas is a moderate and systematically ignore all contradictory information.

What we have to do is press the case about the genuine moderates among the Palestinians so that some portion of the international intelligentsia will see what genuine moderation is. Then efforts could shift to making Jabari sovereign in Hebron or raising the public esteem of Wasatiya rather than pressuring Israel to accepts the demands of the pseudo-moderates due to blind acceptance of the notion that the pseudo-moderates' demands are what the Palestinian people need.


  1. I don't think that Israel should depend on any Arabs for the well-being of Israelis.

    If I could wave a magic wand and have Israel do my bidding, I would have them declare their finals borders, according to security needs, and remove the IDF to behind those borders and call it a day.

    I would also cut off any and all relations with those Arabs remaining in the parts of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza that are not annexed by Israel.

    Anything that they need, say, for example, electricity, they can provide for themselves, or they can get their western patrons to take care of such matters, perhaps, but there is no reason to support, in any manner, an enemy population that hands out candy at the news of kidnapped and murdered Jews.

    1. Yes, to materially support an enemy population that celebrates news of the kidnapping and killing of members of one's own kinspeople is not good.

      The way to protect Israel and Jewish people in general and the whole world -- is just to tell the truth -- essential facts of the situation (essential facts of history, and essential facts of contemporary events). It's as simple as that.

      Of course, people who are fanatically bigoted against the Jewish people and against Israel probably won't, by the telling of essential facts to them, be persuaded away from holding the fanatical anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli bigotry which they hold. But most people are not fanatically bigoted against the Jewish people and against Israel. Most people are simply ignorant of the essential facts of the situation that Israel is in.

      By the way:

      “Whatever sort of seed is sown,
      That is the sort of fruit one reaps:
      The doer of good reaps good;
      The doer of evil reaps evil.
      By you, dear, has the seed been sown;
      Thus you will experience the fruit.”

      -- The Buddha, Samyutta Nikaya 11.10 - Isayosamuddaka: "Seers by the Ocean", Excerpt

      “‘He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.’ Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.”

      “‘He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.’ Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.”

      “Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.”

      “There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.”

      -- The Buddha, Dhammapada, Chapter 1 – Yamakavagga: "Pairs", verses 3-6

      “Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth.”

      -- The Buddha, Dhammapada, Chapter 17 - Kodhavagga: "Anger", verse 223

      And, by the way: I remember hearing, in a documentary about India that I once heard and saw on PBS (the public television station in the U.S.), expressed that Jewish merchants traveled to India at the time of Jesus (the time period around when Jesus of Nazareth -- Yeshua of Natz'rat -- was alive). And I have heard of accounts of Jesus of Nazareth having visited India and, I think, Nepal.


      ‘Palestinian’ Arab Jordanian political leader and writer Mudar Zahran:

      Writings by Mudar Zahran

      “Anti-Semitism 2.0”, by Mudar Zahran


      ‘Palestinian’ Arab Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh:

      Writings by Khaled Abu Toameh

      “Kidnapped Israeli Teenagers - A Palestinian View”, by Khaled Abu Toameh


      “Palestinian”: ‘Palestinian’ Arab



      “Give Peace A Chance”