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Friedmometer: Map on the Damn Table

Thomas Friedman calls for Palestinian resistance along with a plan

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(Len Small/Tablet Magazine)

The Friedmometer tracks left-of-center conventional wisdom about the state of peace in the land between the river and the sea through the eyes of Thomas Friedman.

When last we weighed in, Friedman was mostly blaming Israel for the current stagnancy of the peace process. His column today on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by no means exculpates or excuses Israel, but it does focus almost exclusively on the need for Palestinians to take meaningful action. Emphasis on meaningful: nonviolent resistance is all well and good, Friedman argues, as long as it is coupled with a realistic plan—Friedman literally wants maps cited—for dividing the land on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, with land swaps.

Unabated, disruptive Palestinian civil disobedience in the West Bank, coupled with a map delineating a deal most Israelis would buy, is precisely what would make Israelis feel morally insecure but strategically secure and revive the Israeli peace camp. It is the only Palestinian strategy Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu fears, but it is one that he is sure Palestinians would never adopt. He thinks it’s not in their culture. Will they surprise him?

You get the sense that this would also surprise Thomas Friedman, no?

A Middle East Twofer
Earlier Friedmometers: American Jews Come Around to Israel’s Failings

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Despite Friedman’s Jewish heritage, his opposition to a Jewish state of Israel is regularly reflected in his criticism of Israelis, their political leaders and Israeli positions – so it is indeed a great surprise for him to focus on Palestinians and their need to take meaningful action.

Unfortunately, he does not call for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish State, nor for the ending Palestinian anti-Semitism and violence.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

The “two-state solution” is actually live and well…, if we only realized that it has been accomplished, legally, long ago, and all that needs to be done at this stage is to tinker with it a bit, to fix it here and there and to ensure that it is governed peacefully and properly.

“Palestine” – a territory, never a nationality or a state of course – was partitioned, legally, by the international community long ago. It was in 1921 that 77% of the territory was handed over to the Arabs. Located east of the Jordan River, the Arabs subsequently renamed their part of the territory, Jordan, since “Palestine” is not an Arab term.

It was in 1922 that the rest, 23% of “Palestine”, was assigned legally to the Jews. Located between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea, the Jews, subsequently renamed their smaller part of “Palestine” Israel, since “Palestine is neither a Jewish term.

This partitioning act was carried out by the League of Nations in its 1922 decisions and was then adopted by the United Nations and enshrined in its Charter, Article 80, an an irrevocable act and part of international law.

It was on the basis of this international law, including the 1921/22 partition of “Palestine” that the United Nations Security Council resolved in 1967 to bring about an accommodation of peaceful coexistence between Arab and Jew, between the Muslim-Arab world and the independent nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel. UN Security Council Resolution, 242, passed unanimously and subsequently accepted by all parties to the conflict, and to this day has been serving as the single basis for the peace process. Shouldn’t the parties simply adhere to it?

(will continue…)

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:


242, it should be noted, calls upon Israel to retreat the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from “territories” – not from “the” territories or from “all” territories, mind you!! – captured during the defensive Six-Day War, and to do so to “secure and recognized boundaries” rather than to any particular designated line. Israel, of course, has fulfilled this requirement of 242 decades ago.

242, however, contrary to the views of some, doesn’t call for the setting up of an additional state between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea; an act that would be contrary to international law of course.

Indeed, 242 doesn’t even make use of concepts such as “Palestinians” or “Palestine”, the name of a territory that ceased to exist once, legally, “Palestine” was partitioned.

It is time peace-loving people stood by international law and defended it. And, until it is fully implemented, such people should respect the September 1995 Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), reached and signed by the parties, that governs the relationships between Arabs and Jews in that part of former “Palestine” that was assigned in 1922 to be “the national home for the Jewish people”.


Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

P.S. The importance of us adhering to international law, as is, is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart one. In essence, the Muslim-Arabs – not the Christian-Arabs or the Druze-Arabs, mind you!! – for religious reasons, have never and will never accept Israel’s right to be, to exist as the independent nation-state of the Jewish people on ANY parcel of land between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea. And, since this is a fundamental requirement of Israel, and rightly so, the next best thing is adherence to international law. Even the Muslims, when international law is “imposed” on them, can see this an “excuse” to learn to live peacefully along-side an independent nation-state of the Jewish people. This is incidentally the case with Egypt and with Jordan, neither one of which actually maintains a state of peace with Israel. They, rather, reached an accommodation of peaceful coexistence and a cease fire with Israel. But for that to happen, the international community must assert itself and demand of the Muslim-Arabs to live by international law.

Here is an analysis of Friedman’s suggestions:


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Friedmometer: Map on the Damn Table

Thomas Friedman calls for Palestinian resistance along with a plan

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