ARAB AND WORLD

Tue 18 Jun 2024 10:00 pm - Jerusalem Time

American leaders must stop humiliating themselves about Israel

In his weekly article on Wednesday in the opinion page of the New York Times, Thomas Friedman, known for his fame and closeness to US President Joe Biden, says that on November 4, 2022, after the current far-right Israeli government coalition won the elections, he wrote a column with the title: “The Israel we knew has... Gone,” and that it was supposed to be a warning about how extreme this alliance was, “and many people disagreed with me, but I think events have proven them wrong — and now the situation is even worse: the Israel we knew is gone, and the Israel of today is in existential danger” .


According to the writer: “Israel faces a regional superpower, Iran, which has managed to put Israel in a binding grip, using its allies and proxies: Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and the Shiite militias in Iraq. At the present time, Israel has no military or diplomatic response. And what is worse is It faces the possibility of war on three fronts - Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank - but with a new and dangerous development: Hezbollah in Lebanon, in contrast to Hamas, is armed with precise missiles capable of destroying large areas of Israeli infrastructure, from its airports to its seaports, to its universities, to its military bases, to its power plants.”


But Israel, Friedman says, is led by a prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who must stay in power to avoid potentially being sent to prison on corruption charges. To do so, he has sold his soul to form a government with right-wing Jewish extremists who insist that Israel must fight In Gaza until you kill the last Hamas - "Complete Victory" - and who reject any partnership with the Palestinian Authority (which (accepted the Oslo Peace Accords)) in governing post-Hamas Gaza, because they want Israeli control of all the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, including "Including Gaza," and now, "Netanyahu's emergency war government has collapsed due to his lack of a plan to end the war and safely withdraw from Gaza, and the extremists in his coalition are looking to their next steps to power."


“They have already done so much damage, and yet neither President Biden, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, nor many in Congress have come to understand how radical this government is,” and “indeed, House Speaker Mike Johnson and his colleagues decided The party rewarded Netanyahu with the honor of speaking before a joint meeting of Congress on July 24, and top Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives signed the invitation, but the unspoken goal of this Republican practice is to divide Democrats and provoke loud insults from their more progressive representatives, which would alienate voters. American Jews and donors and turns them towards Donald Trump.”


Friedman says that Netanyahu knows that it is all about domestic American politics, which is why his acceptance of the invitation to speak represents an act of betrayal to Joe Biden - “who flew to Israel to hug him in the days after October 7 and embraced him to the point of surprise.”


“No friend of Israel should participate in this circus,” Friedman says. “Israel needs a pragmatic centrist government that can pull it out of this multifaceted crisis – and seize the offer of normalization with Saudi Arabia that Biden has managed to engineer. This can only be achieved by Remove Netanyahu through new elections - as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer bravely called for (last March); Israel does not need a US-sponsored drinking party for its drunk driver.


The writer explains, “Unlike any previous Israeli government, this government wrote the goal of annexing the West Bank into the coalition agreement, so it is not surprising that it spent its first year trying to crush the ability of the Israeli Supreme Court to place any checks on its powers. Bibi (Netanyahu) also conceded.” He gave up control of the police and the main authorities in the Ministry of Defense to the Jewish racists in his coalition to enable them to deepen the settlers’ control over the West Bank, and they immediately began adding settlement housing units in the heart of that occupied land in record numbers to try to obstruct the establishment of any Palestinian state there.


“This nightmare alliance is now working to ensure that ultra-Orthodox youth will not have to serve in this war on an equal footing with secular young men and women, exhausted by eight months of fighting,” the army’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevy, told soldiers in Gaza over the weekend. There is a “clear need now” to recruit ultra-Orthodox Jews as soldiers to avoid another deployment of “several thousand” less religious elements, reservists,” according to Friedman, who points out that “the relatively small number of Israeli combat officers has been greatly reduced, and I cannot I can imagine how they could continue a war in Lebanon,” and “Taken together, we see a reckless act of economic, military, and moral transgression — committing seven million Jews to control more than seven million Palestinians (including two million Israeli Arabs) between River and sea forever."


According to the writer, this is considered madness in peacetime, and in wartime - a low-level war on three fronts that could become an absolute war on three fronts on any day - this is absolutely insane. "Israel is becoming increasingly alone, so what ally would want to participate in this agenda?"


That is why I agree with every word former Prime Minister Ehud Barak wrote in Haaretz last Thursday: Israel is facing “the most serious crisis in the country’s history.” It began on October 7 with the worst failure in Israel's history. It continued with a war that, despite the courage and sacrifices of soldiers and officers, seemed to be the least successful war in its history, due to the strategic paralysis in the country’s leadership,” he said.


Barak, the former army chief of staff, added that Israel “risks a multi-front war that includes Iran and its proxies.” And all this is happening while the judicial coup continues in the background, with the aim of establishing a racist, ultra-nationalist and ignorant missionary religious dictatorship.”


Barak warned that if the current government was allowed to remain in power, Israel would not only find itself stuck in Gaza — with Hamas continuing to fight and no Arab partner to help Israel out of there — but would likely find itself “in a difficult situation.” An all-out war with Hezbollah in the north, a third intifada in the West Bank, conflicts with the Houthis in Yemen and Iraqi militias in the Golan Heights, and of course a conflict with Iran itself.


Every American should worry about that. It is a recipe for dragging the United States into a war in the Middle East to help Israel, which would be a Russian, Chinese and Iranian dream come true.


Indeed, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has made eight trips to Israel since October 7, should not make another trip without Israel and Hamas agreeing to a clear plan to end the war. It reduces American power and authority. This is the final time. Biden must tell Israel that it must accept Hamas's main demand: to end the war completely now and withdraw from Gaza in exchange for the return of all Israeli hostages. Israel cannot think straight while Hamas detains its people.


“If Israel can end the war in Gaza, it could lead to a US-brokered agreement with Hezbollah to calm the northern border war — which has been terrible for civilians on both sides. It could enable Israelis and Lebanese along their countries’ borders to return to their homes while The IDF being able to recover and refuel from an exhausting battle could halt the erosion of both Israel's economy and its global moral standing and allow the country to do something it should have done on October 8: stop, rethink, strategize, and not do exactly what it wanted. Iran and Hamas must do it - that is, attack head-on just as America did after September 11, 2001, and plunge into an endless war without any plan or partner. The next morning, as Barak said, Israel must then hold new elections.


Friedman says: “Yes, yes, I can hear the criticism of the war hawks now: “Friedman, will you allow the leader of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, to come out of his tunnel and declare victory?” Friedman answers: “Yes, I will do that; in fact, I hope to be present at the press conference in Gaza when it comes, so that I can ask the first question: “Mr. Sinwar, you claim that this is a great victory for Hamas – a complete Israeli withdrawal and a stable ceasefire.” I just want to know: What was between you and Israel on October 6, before your surprise attack? Oh, let me answer that: a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and a stable ceasefire. If you don't mind, I'd like to stay here for a few days to watch you explain to the people of Gaza how you started a war that lasted eight months — and caused nearly 70 percent of Gaza's housing to be destroyed and left, by your count. , about 37,000 Gazans were killed, many of them women and children – so you can return Gaza to exactly what it was on October 6, in a ceasefire with Israel and no Israeli forces here. Another Hamas victory like this and Gaza will be unlivable forever."


And to the Israelis who will ask: “Friedman, are you crazy? Are you going to let Sinwar run Gaza again?” My answer again would be: yes, for now. The alternatives - either Israel administers Gaza or Gaza turns into another Somalia - are much worse. "Netanyahu's idea that some ideal Palestinians - who are neither members of Hamas nor the Palestinian Authority - will run the place for Israel is a fantasy."


“The only people who can defeat Hamas are the Palestinians in Gaza,” Friedman says. “They also need better leadership, and if they find it, we must help them rebuild. But until then, it would be crazy for Israel to want to stay in Gaza and be responsible for rebuilding.” "Reconstructing it. This honor should go to Sinwar."


Friedman adds, “I think that the morning after Sinwar emerges from his tunnel, many Gazans will want to beat him up because of the disaster he brought upon them. If not, Sinwar and Sinwar alone will be responsible when the water does not flow, when the building materials do not arrive, When the sun does not shine - not Israel. If he is foolish to start war with Israel again or try to smuggle weapons instead of food and housing for his people, it will all be on him.”


Friedman concludes by claiming, “It is unfortunate that if all this war does is buy Israel another long reprieve with Hamas, then that may be all that is possible. After all, until now, the true history of Jews and Palestinians, dating back to the early The twentieth is: war, armistice, war, armistice, war, armistice, war, armistice, war, armistice, and the real difference is what each side did in the armistice.


“Perhaps this will change one day, but for now Israel must leave Gaza and return to the time limit,” according to the writer.

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American leaders must stop humiliating themselves about Israel

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