Sunday :: Jan 18, 2004

Tom Friedman Thinks Bush Israel/Palestinian "Policy" Is Insane


by Steve

After three years, Tom Friedman finally has thrown up his hands over the Bush Middle East policy.

Can anyone look at what is happening Palestinians, gripped by a collective madness, committing suicide, and Israelis, under a leadership completely adrift, building more settlements so fanatical Jews can live in the heart of Palestinian-populated areas and not conclude the following: That these two nations are locked in an utterly self-destructive vicious cycle that threatens Israel's long-term viability, poisons America's image in the Middle East, undermines any hope for a Palestinian state and weakens pro-American Arab moderates. No, you can't draw any other conclusion. Yet the Bush team, backed up by certain conservative Jewish and Christian activist groups, believes that the correct policy is to do nothing. Well, that is my definition of insane.

Israel must get out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as soon as possible and evacuate most of the settlements. I have long advocated this, but it is now an urgent necessity. Otherwise, the Jewish state is in peril. Ideally, this withdrawal should be negotiated along the Clinton plan. But if necessary, it should be done unilaterally. This can't happen too soon, and the U.S. should be forcing it.

Yes, that was a favorable word about the Clinton Middle East policy you just read there.

The Bush team rightly speaks of bringing justice to Iraq. It rightly denounces Palestinian suicide madness. But it says nothing about the injustice of the Israeli land grab in the West Bank. The Bush team destroyed the Iraqi regime in three weeks and has not persuaded Israel to give up one settlement in three years. To think America can practice that sort of hypocrisy and win the war of ideas in the Arab-Muslim world is a truly dangerous fantasy.

Whoa buddy! Congrats for returning to the real world. It will be fun to see what Karl Rove comes up with next for Bush's Middle East policy, while he hopes that things don't blow up there between now and next November. There is little chance that Bush will lean on Ariel Sharon to lighten up on the settlements or security measures in an election year, especially with Tom DeLay keeping a short leash on Bush in this area. But this is a monster that Bush created, so let's see how his all-star foreign policy team deals with it.

I'm sure that Condi has time to deal with it.

Steve :: 12:00 PM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!