New York Times Middle East expert Thomas Friedman has a new gripe with Israel. He claims the Middle East’s only democracy is now being run by the “far right,” which rules Israel with an “iron fist”. He further writes that the Israeli government is arrogant and ignores US concerns even though President Obama voted against the Palestinian Authority in the UN last week.
Friedman did not stop his criticism there. He went on to call those Israeli’s that live in the West Bank the equivalent of Hizbollah terrorists and that the towns they live in are “insane and a cancer”. He further wrote that the Likud Party, which is headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is completely disconnected from the rest of the world.
He wrote of the Israeli Iron Dome Missile Defense System and Israel’s security wall as being successful but they “have so insulated the Israeli left and center from the effects of the Israeli occupation that their main candidates for the Jan. 22 elections … 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.”
Friedman seems to overlook the realities of the situation and puts the entire onus on Israel to concede its land to the Palestinian Authority. The general world view is that Israel should surrender large tracks of its territory to the Palestinians, including its capital in Jerusalem, for a Palestinian State. Because the Palestinian Authority has refused to even meet Israeli leaders to negotiate, the upcoming Israeli elections have basically been devoid of policy discussions concerning the peace process.
“A rising group of far-right settler-activists…are convinced — thanks, in part, to the wall and dome — that Palestinians are no threat anymore and that no one can roll back the 350,000 Jews living in the West Bank.”
Friedman then makes a kooky comparison to the rule of the Ottoman Empire more than 400 years ago writing that, in the Middle East, while Christians, Jews, and other minority groups were regarded as second class citizens, at least they did not have to worry about government persecution.
Israel is the only country in the region that grants rights to all minorities while having weathered wars and tough economic times under a functioning democratic system. He talks about how the withdrawal of colonial powers in the Middle East have drawn countries where no one took ethnicity into account leading to the rise of Arab dictators that rule their lands with an Iron Fist.
“Israelis have responded to the collapse of Arab iron fists around them — including the rise of militias with missiles in Lebanon and Gaza — with a third model. It is the wall Israel built around itself to seal off the West Bank coupled with its Iron Dome antimissile system.”