Thu 20 Jun 2024 6:22 pm - Jerusalem Time

Thomas Friedman warns of the demise of Israel

The Israel we knew is gone, a phrase that was the title of an article written by American journalist and political analyst Thomas Friedman on November 4, 2022, shortly after the victory of the far-right government coalition now ruling Israel in the legislative elections at that time.

In his article this week in the New York Times, Friedman said that he intended that phrase to serve as a warning to draw attention to the extent of the extremism of this coalition.

The American journalist added that many "did not agree with my opinion, and I believe that the developments of events proved them wrong, as the situation has now become worse than before. The Israel we knew is disappearing, and today it faces an existential threat."

He explained the reasons that lead him to this belief, including that Israel faces a great regional power represented by Iran, which was able to put Israel “in pincers” by using what he described as its agents in the region.

3 fronts

Friedman states that Israel does not have a military or diplomatic response, adding that what is worse is that it faces the possibility of a war on three fronts in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and the West Bank, but with a dangerous new development, which is that Hezbollah is in Lebanon - unlike the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). )- Equipped with precision missiles that can destroy vast areas of Israel’s infrastructure, from its airports to its seaports to its university campuses to its military bases to its power plants.

In light of these developments, the American journalist says that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had no choice but to “sell his conscience” to form a government with right-wing extremists who insist that Israel must fight in Gaza until “total victory” by killing the last member of Hamas, and they reject any partnership. With the Palestinian Authority “because they want Israeli control over all the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, including Gaza.”

According to Friedman, Netanyahu did this in order to remain in power to avoid the possibility of being imprisoned on corruption charges.

He continues that with the collapse of the Israeli mini-war council due to its lack of a plan to end the war and safely withdraw from Gaza, the extremists in the ruling coalition are taking their next steps in order to control power.

Huge damage

Although these extremists have already caused a lot of damage - as Friedman believes - US President Joe Biden, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and many members of Congress have made no effort to understand how extremist this government is.

The author of the article criticized the decision of House Speaker Mike Johnson and his colleagues in the Republican Party to invite Netanyahu to deliver a speech before a joint session of Congress on July 24. He pointed out that the undeclared goal of this call is to create a rift between supporters of the Democratic Party that would alienate American Jewish voters and donors and make them turn to voting for Donald Trump in the presidential elections.

According to the article, Netanyahu realizes that this is all related to internal American policy, and for this reason his acceptance of the invitation to speak before Congress is nothing more than an act that involves “treachery” against President Biden, who had rushed to Israel to express his support with it after the Hamas movement’s attack on it in October 7th.

Moderate government

Friedman believes that Israel needs a moderate, realistic government that can get it out of this multifaceted crisis, pointing out that this will only be achieved by removing Netanyahu from office through new elections.

He goes on to say that the current Israeli government - unlike any previous government - included the idea of annexing the West Bank as a goal in the government coalition agreement, so it is not surprising that it spent its first year trying to abort the authority of the Supreme Court to place any control over its powers.

He continues that he agrees with every word written by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak in Haaretz newspaper last Thursday, in which he said that Israel is facing “the most serious and dangerous crisis in its history,” which began on October 7 with “the worst failure in Israel’s history.”

Friedman comments that Barak warned in his article that if the current government was allowed to remain in power, Israel would not only find itself stuck in Gaza but would likely find itself “in an all-out war with Hezbollah in the north, a third intifada in the West Bank, and a conflict with the Houthis in Yemen, the Iraqi militias, and of course a conflict with Iran itself.”

Drag to war

Friedman believes that the United States should be concerned about this warning, because it is a “recipe” for dragging it into a war in the Middle East to help Israel, which would be a Russian, Chinese, and Iranian dream come true.

However, what is surprising - in the New York Times article - is that Friedman supports the idea of allowing the head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, to run the Strip after the war ends. This is justified by the fact that the option currently presented (for Israel to administer the Strip or for Gaza to become another Somalia) is a much worse alternative.

He described Netanyahu's proposal that the Strip be run by "ideal Palestinians" who are not affiliated with Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, on behalf of Israel, as a fantasy. He added that the only people capable of defeating Hamas are the Palestinians in Gaza.

Source: New York Times+ Aljazeera


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Thomas Friedman warns of the demise of Israel