Thomas L. Friedman could not be more right on Israel

27 Jun

Today I remembered why I still pay $47 a-month for home delivery of The New York Times. Thomas L. Friedman, the long time opinion columnist for The Times, and three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize (including one for his coverage of Israel), wrote a spot-on OP-ED today on the situation in the Middle East.

Friedman points out that there is a pattern in the recent conflicts in the Middle East: they all end quickly and are followed by a “timeout”. However, Friedman, who has been both criticized by the right and the left for his opinions on the Middle East, went into so-called dangerous waters. Friedman went after Israel’s tactics in their previous wars, and compared them to those used by former President Hafez el-Assad of Syria.

“What is different about these three wars, though, is that Israel won them using what I call “Hama Rules” — which are no rules at all. “Hama Rules” are named after the Syrian town of Hama, where, in 1982, then-President Hafez el-Assad of Syria put down a Muslim fundamentalist uprising by shelling and then bulldozing their neighborhoods, killing more than 10,000 of his own people.”

Some will say this criticism is strict or harsh, some will say it is good criticism, I will just call it, “fair game”. Israel has used unacceptable methods of warfare such as cluster bombing populated cities. However, they were almost never the instigators (an exception to this rule would be their continued shelling of Lebanon in 2006 because Hezbollah was, “stockpiling weapons”. Jeez, if we attacked every hostile nation that stockpiled weapons, we would be in World War VI.). However, I believe we need to move on from the past, and let the International Criminal Court at the Hague decide these matters. Peace is more important.

Friedman brings up the best case to bring about peace during this ‘timeout’: the success of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad in the West Bank.  They have stabalized the region, and are rooting out terrorism. As Friedman said, “[they] are the real deal”.

I consider myself to be a “Pro-Israel’s existence” American. I will not defend every action Israel does no matter the circumstance of the action. Because that is no longer being pro-Israel: that is being an ignoramus. Israel has an opportunity this ‘timeout’ to make pace. Possibly the best opportunity since the Taba talks in 2001. The ball is in Israel’s court. Let’s just hope Isaiah Thomas isn’t calling the shots.


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