Israel is facing the biggest erosion of its strategic environment since its founding. It is alienated from its longtime ally Turkey. Its archenemy Iran is suspected of developing a nuclear bomb. The two strongest states on its border — Syria and Egypt — are being convulsed by revolutions. The two weakest states on its border — Gaza and Lebanon — are controlled by Hamas and Hezbollah.
And notes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that ceding territory to the Palestinians was unwise at present. Friedman grasciously acknowledges that
Netanyahu’s analysis of the dangers facing Israel is valid, and things could still get worse.
But still thinks that Netanyahu’s diagnosis is wrong.
Despite "Israel’s fear of Islamists taking power all around it cannot be dismissed", he still asks Israel to ignore that fear. After all, he suggests, there is nothing to fear because
...the new politics is just beginning: Islamists will now have to compete with legitimate secular parties.
Netanyahu’s prescription is to do nothing. I understand Israel not ceding territory in this uncertain period to a divided Palestinian movement. What I can’t understand is doing nothing...Israel’s best defense is to strengthen Fayyadism — including giving Palestinian security services more areas of responsibility to increase their legitimacy...Israeli rightists will be tempted to do nothing, to insist the time is not right for risk-taking — and never will be — so Israel needs to occupy the West Bank and its Palestinians forever. That could be the greatest danger of all for Israel: to wake up one day and discover that, in response to the messy and turbulent Arab democratic awakening, the Jewish state sacrificed its own democratic character.
The comment I left there:
Mr. Friedman writes that "I understand Israel not ceding territory in this uncertain period to a divided Palestinian movement. What I can’t understand is doing nothing." and then adds that he cannot understand why "Israel needs to occupy the West Bank and its Palestinians forever."
In the first instance, Israel has not "done nothing", a calumny Friedman insists upon repeating as if he can create a truth out of a lie. The Bar-Ilan speech recognizing (foolish as it was in my opinion) the need for a two-state solution, then recognizing specifically a "Palestinian state", then the construction moratorium and other diplomatic moves - all while the Pals. play at "as if" while not reducing their anti-Israel, anti-Zionist incitement, insufficient security (the Fogel family, for example) and other aspects, not to mention Gaza, hamas and its missiles (btw, Israel yielded up Gaza entirely as well as expelling the Jews from their homes) is not "nothing".
Moreover, the support fro Fayyadism or whatever, while stomping on Netayhau itself becomes an unjust and unfair form of participation by Friedman in the diploamtic process itself - all to Israel's disadvantage. So, while Friedman claims Netanyahu is doing "nothing", he himself is doing much too much in a negative fashion which will not bring peace nor security.
Thank you Mr. Friedman - for nothing.