Thomas Friedman at his most explosive

And, as is often the case, he is absolutely right:

Let’s not mince words. American policy today toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is insane.

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.

Friedman doesn’t just complain. He offers specifics on what Israel and the US could do to get things on track. (“Israel must get out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as soon as possible and evacuate most of the settlements.”) Of course, no one will listen to him.

I read Friedman every week, but I’ve never seen him reach anything close to this level of alarm. He closes:

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.

The Discussion: One Comment


Nice work. You’re beating me to the starting gate with regularity. This is a good thing, since I am extremely pre-occupied with the details of flying state-side in a matter of only hours now, and I’m not certain how regularly I will be blogging during our first visit home in almost two years. You hold down the fort, my friend.

January 18, 2004 @ 11:12 pm | Comment

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