29 March '10
I don’t know why I keep expecting better from Friedman. But his recent op-ed in the NY Times puts him squarely on the Dark Side.
Sometimes the brightest guys can’t see their noses in front of their faces. I’m going to quote him at length. As you read this, ask yourself a) what he is leaving out, and b) what he assumes about Israeli intentions and character.
The collapse of the Oslo peace process, combined with the unilateral Israeli pullouts from Lebanon and Gaza — which were followed not by peace but by rocket attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas on Israel — decimated Israel’s peace camp and the political parties aligned with it.
At the same time, Israel’s erecting of a wall around the West Bank to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from entering Israel (there have been no successful attacks since 2006), along with the rise of the high-tech industry in Israel — which does a great deal of business digitally and over the Internet and is largely impervious to the day-to-day conflict — has meant that even without peace, Israel can enjoy a very peaceful existence and a rising standard of living.
To put it another way, the collapse of the peace process, combined with the rise of the wall, combined with the rise of the Web, has made peacemaking with Palestinians much less of a necessity for Israel and much more of a hobby. Consciously or unconsciously, a lot more Israelis seem to believe they really can have it all: a Jewish state, a democratic state and a state in all of the Land of Israel, including the West Bank — and peace.
Friedman is absolutely right that the collapse of the Oslo process and the violent Arab reaction to Israel’s unilateral withdrawals decimated the Israeli “peace camp.” But he somehow manages to ignore the causality involved.
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