A remarkably realist/detached Tom Friedman suggests that John Kerry’s mission is a “fantasy.” The Times columnist places chief responsibility for the likely failure on the more powerful party to the talks, Israel, saying that Netanyahu lacks the political ability to forge a new, centrist governing coalition to back up Kerry’s ideas, while the Palestinians lack the ability to mount another intifada to force Israel to withdraw.
(So the intifada is suddenly resistance to occupation. Palestinians said as much a long time ago.)
Friedman holds a candle for two states, but if Kerry fails, the secretary of state must “declare the end of the negotiated two-state solution” and then? Israel will face 3 choices, do nothing and face global isolation, withdraw unilaterally (which would also mean global isolation), or “design a new framework of one-state-for-two-people[s].”
[H]as Israel become so much more powerful than its neighbors that a symmetrical negotiation is impossible, especially when the Palestinians do not seem willing or able to mount another intifada that might force Israel to withdraw? Has the neighborhood around Israel become so much more unstable that any Israeli withdrawal from anywhere is unthinkable? Has the number of Israeli Jews now living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank become so much larger — more than 540,000 — that they are immovable? And has the Palestinian rhetoric on the right of return become so deeply embedded in Palestinian politics? So when you add them all up, it becomes a fantasy to expect any Israeli or Palestinian leader to have the strength to make the huge concessions needed for a two-state solution?..
If and when [these talks fail], Israel, which controls the land, would have to either implement a unilateral withdrawal, live with the morally corrosive and globally isolating implications of a permanent West Bank occupation or design a new framework of one-state-for-two-people.
So that’s where we are: Israelis and Palestinians need to understand that Kerry’s mission is the last train to a negotiated two-state solution. The next train is the one coming at them.
This column reminds me of Obama’s speech in Jerusalem last March. Here’s the deal, take it or we’re done. Tom Friedman is getting ready to wash his hands of the conflict. I can write that column for him: I was a Zionist when I was a kid, I believed in the miracle. After all, I grew up right outside the town that was declared the capital of US anti-Semitism. Now that miracle has been transformed– it’s apartheid, the corruption of the US government by the Israel lobby, and an albatross on the U.S. national interest. And we’re doing fine in the U.S.; at the last State of the Union speech, most of the Supreme Court Justices in attendance were Jewish. Basta!