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Friedman Right Again

December 14, 2010

I’ve always viewed him as the best of the US commentators – the emphasis on climate, focus on national decline, realism about China. He’s non-ideological. And he’s very good on the Middle East.

How good is confirmed in Tom Friedman’s most recent column which accords with my views formed after talking last week to some Israeli experts (quoted below). Neither the Israelis or Palestinians want peace talks and are finding excuses not to proceed because the minimum they’d need to offer the other side is more than they can sell to their own support base. The outline of the eventual settlement is clear and both know it and accept it in private. But neither will risk political support to make the end-game come about.

Friedman says :

“We have the Palestinians and the Israelis sitting over there with their arms folded, waiting for more American money or assurances to persuade them to do what is manifestly in their own interest : negotiate a two state deal. Shame on them and shame on us. You can’t want peace more than the parties themselves, and that is exactly where America is today.

“The people running Israel and Palestine have other priorities. It is time we left them alone to pursue them – and to live with the consequences.”

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