Friedman: Israel, PA detached from reality
New York Times' senior columnist criticizes Israeli and Palestinian leaderships over deadlocked peace talks, says American aid 'a hallucinogenic drug that enables them each to think they can defy the laws of history, geography and demography. It is long past time that we stop being their crack dealers'
The failed talks "demonstrate just how disconnected from reality they are," Friedman wrote in an article published Sunday, after the United States announced last week that the efforts to resume the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians had failed.
"The failed attempt by the US to bribe Israel with a $3 billion security assistance package, diplomatic cover and advanced F-35 fighter aircraft — if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would simply agree to a 90-day settlements freeze to resume talks with the Palestinians — has been enormously clarifying. It demonstrates just how disconnected from reality both the Israeli and the Palestinian leaderships have become.
In his harsh remarks, Friedman also criticized the American administration. "Oil is to Saudi Arabia what unconditional American aid and affection are to Israel — and what unconditional Arab and European aid and affection are to the Palestinians: A hallucinogenic drug that enables them each to think they can defy the laws of history, geography and demography.
"It is long past time that we stop being their crack dealers. At a time of nearly 10% unemployment in America, we have the Israelis and the Palestinians sitting over there with their arms folded, waiting for more US assurances or money 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."
This isn’t the first time Friedman attacks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In March he published an article titled "Driving Drunk in Jerusalem," in which he criticized Israel's policy and the decision to build 1,600 new housing units in the northeast Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo during US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the region.
Friedman ruled that Biden should have gotten right back on Air Force Two and left the following note behind: “Message from America to the Israeli government: Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. And right now, you’re driving drunk. You think you can embarrass your only true ally in the world, to satisfy some domestic political need, with no consequences? You have lost total contact with reality. Call us when you’re serious. We need to focus on building our country.”
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