I write in response to your opinion article “JUST KNOCK IT OFF” printed October 19, 2010 in the New York Times.
You believe Israel is acting like a spoiled child? You say we are spoiled because we do not jump and say “Yes Master” every time President Obama tells us to.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu went out on a limb for President Obama when he mandated a ten-month settlement freeze, a precondition to negotiations never agreed to by any Israeli government prior to Netanyahu’s.
Thomas, it is not Israel’s fault that President Obama was unable to coax the Palestinians back to the table until the freeze was basically over. It was an enormous act of disrespect to both the Obama Administration and the Netanyahu government on the part of the Palestinians to spurn negotiations and spit on the settlement freeze until the ninth month
The Palestinians’ behavior was the act of spoiled child, not Prime Minister Netanyahu finally saying enough freebies.
You say extending the freeze is not a vital security threat. Why isn’t it? You know how things work in the Middle East: one can only give a certain amount before the Arab nations start believing you are weak. By extending the freeze with nothing from the Palestinians in return could easily have weakened Israel diplomatically.
Whether extending the freeze really makes Israel weaker or not is beside the point. Why in the world should Israel give more concessions away for free -- especially when the last concession given to the Palestinians by Bibi Netanyahu was tossed into the diplomatic garbage can.
You also say Israel does not appreciate what America is doing for her. Those are dangerous words to write, Thomas. Maybe, just maybe, it is the other way around, and it is America that does not appreciate all that Israel has done and still does for America.
You talk about the billions of dollars that America gives to Israel, yet you forget about the billions of dollars Israel has lost because of America.
The air forces of the world easily could be flying the Israel-made Lavi fighter jet today, instead of American-made F-16’s; that is, if America hadn’t forced Israel to stop production of the plane.
America has no problem selling weapons to countries like Lebanon. Worse, these weapons have been turned on Israeli soldiers, the recent death of IDF Lt. Colonel Dov Hariri being one example.
When Israel wanted to sell the Phalcon AWACS system to China, another potential several-billion dollar deal, America stepped right in and made sure it did not happen.
Conceding billions on the military and commercial markets is but one price Israel has paid for her friendship with America.
The other price is much greater and could never be bought with all the dollars America could give: Israel, on several occasions, has been prevented by the US from attaining complete victory over her enemies.
In 1954, at America’s behest, Israel stopped short of completely wiping out Egypt’s army. America then pressured Israel to leave the Sinai Peninsula with the false promise of keeping the Straits of Tiran open.
This led to the Six Day War, when Egypt kicked the UN out of Sinai and closed the Straits to Israel. When Israel reminded America of her promise, she was told to go it alone. American pressures once again stopped Israel from trouncing Egypt, Syria and Jordan.
The Yom Kippur War started poorly for Israel. But by war’s end, Israel was poised to destroy Egypt’s third army, could easily have marched to Cairo and was capable of laying siege to Damascus. But Israel was once more prevailed upon by the US not to decimate Egypt and Syria, thus saving face for the Arabs. This, despite the fact that these nations had attacked Israel! Imagine if Britain had demanded the US and the Soviet Union not conquer the remnants of Germany. Do you think either FDR or Stalin would have halted their surging armies? But Israel did.
American hopes of bringing these Arab regimes in under the umbrella of American client- statehood always has been greater than the needs of Israel, time after time.
I am sorry, Thomas, but you know better than anyone Israel is not acting like a spoiled child. You admit in your column that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies have spurned the fairest, must honest offers any losing side could ever hope to receive in these negotiations. You admit it is the Palestinians leadership that turned its back on the ten-month settlement freeze offered by Bibi Netanyahu. Lastly, you also admit it is the Palestinians who have turned their back on peace.
So how in the world, Thomas, is it Israel who is acting like spoiled child?
I would expect more from a journalist of your caliber than taking the easy route and blaming Israel. That particular blame game is for people who do not wish to advance peace and seek to delegitimize Israel. This article was not worthy of what you can do.
Thomas, you once wrote the truth. Where is the Thomas Freidman who wrote “From Beirut to Jerusalem”?