Sunday, March 25, 2012

Retro Tom Friedman 1987

The Ariel Foundation working on behalf of the "capital of Samaria" has actually fond memories of the New York Times' Tom Friedman:

NY Times: Ariel Journal – One West Bank Plan, Mix Concrete and Yuppies In City of Ariel on March 21, 2012 By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, Special to the New York Times Published: June 02, 1987

Ron Nachman’s critics call him a one-man obstacle to peace. His neighbors just call him Mayor, friend and ”hey, you.” He calls himself a simple pioneer for the Likud bloc, Israel’s large nationalist party.

Mr. Nachman is the Mayor of one of the fastest-growing Israeli towns in the West Bank. With all the discussion these days about an international peace conference on the Middle East, and Israel’s possibly ceding part of the West Bank to Jordan, Mr. Nachman recently invited an American for a tour and what he called ”a dose of reality.”

Whatever foreigners may think of Mr. Nachman’s version of reality, it is widely shared among the 65,000 Jews [today, there are approximately 350,00 Jews residing in Judea and Samaria] in the West Bank, and it will be widely aired in Israel if an international conference is ever held.

The Mayor began his tour by rolling out huge color aerial photographs of Ariel, in the heart of the West Bank about an hour’s drive north of Jerusalem. Brimming with enthusiasm, his voice constantly had to compete with the din of jackhammers and earthmoving equipment outside his door.

”Do you have any idea how big Ariel is?” asked Mr. Nachman, one of the founders of the nine-year-old town. ”It is 12 kilometers wide,” or about seven and a half miles. ”That is almost the same width of the state of Israel at its narrowest point before the 1967 war. Did anyone ever tell you that?” Plan for 100,000 People

Actually, that 7.5-mile span refers to the total area zoned for Ariel’s projected 100,000 residents. Only the core of it is settled now, with 6,000 Jewish residents, 3,000 of them under 18.

On the eastern boundary, though, a high-tech industrial park is rising, and on the western edge an industrial zone employing several thousand people is already in operation. For now, most of Ariel’s residents work in Tel Aviv.

”Everyone is speaking about an international conference and territorial solutions but they don’t know the reality,” Mr. Nachman said in a voice laced with contempt. ”Abba Eban? He’s never been here. Shimon Peres? I think he was here three years ago. Yitzhak Rabin? I don’t know when he was here last.”

”They have no feel for what is happening here,” he said, hopping into his car for a tour. ”Action, action, action, all the time. Peres can speak and speak and speak, but we do.”

How time flies.


No comments: