"Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

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"Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by NorthAmerican » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:23 pm

In an Op-Ed column that appeared in the New York Times on Wednesday, August 6, Thomas L. Friedman writes of what he calls a three-pillar strategy used against Israel by its enemies. I found it to be a very sobering column, and I would appreciate hearing the comments of others who are willing to read the very long piece through to its end.

You should be able to link to the Op-Ed column here: Revelations in the Gaza War
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by polardude1 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:55 am

Here is where Israel does have a choice. Its reckless Jewish settlement project in the West Bank led it into a strategy of trying to keep the moderate Palestinian Authority there weak and Hamas in Gaza even weaker. The only way Israel can hope to stabilize Gaza is if it empowers the Palestinian Authority to take over border control in Gaza, but that will eventually require making territorial concessions in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, because it will not act as Israel’s policeman for free. This is crunchtime. Either Arab and Israeli moderates collaborate and fight together, or the zealots really are going to take over this neighborhood. Please do not return to your routines.



So this is all well and good A few things. After Israel's withdraw from Gaza, Fatah was thrown out by Hamas. The border was abandoned by the EU
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_U ... sion_Rafah


Hamas is dug deep into Gaza and is in no mood to disarm. You want a PA take over in Gaza, it might involve bloodletting between Fatah and Hamas. That would look a lot uglier than what juts occurred. Yes, i know, Fatah and Hamas reconciled before this recent war, but these reconciliations between the 2 have come and gone many times over. I want a good future for Gaza, but it can only be without an armed Hamas. Gaza would never have been touched had not been for Hamas turning it into an armed camp. Attacking Gaza was not the intent after dismantling settlements and withdraw.


As for a final statue agreement, I have always been in favor of a 2 state solution. But a peace agreement is not made with a gun to ones head.


The whole thing of "is that all" is a bit perplexing. My nephew's town west of Jerusalem ha a few close calls. Also a few of those rockets were lobbed at the nuclear reactor. There were around 2000 of those "that's all"
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by Logg » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:59 pm

Friedman makes some good observations about the region and the way things are slipping. He makes it sound pretty dire for anyone not Muslim in the ME. He then elaborates just how much care and dedication went into building those tunnels into Israel.

What he didn't mention was that the cement and resources that were used for those tunnels were resources not used for building homes or shelters for Gazans. He also didn't mention that probably over a hundred children died building those tunnels. They use child labor because children are smaller and nimber and better suited to the task.

Friedman's disconnect is that he then seems to abruptly shift the conversation to Israel and its settlements, and its lack of support of the PA.

Israelis remember what happened the last time they trusted the PA under Arafat. It was essentially no different than what happened now. They used the "liberated" Palestinian territory and resources to attack Israeli civilians in Israel.

Friedman's conceit seems to be that Abbas' PA is different from Arafat's. That may very well be true. But look at the region and the direction it's going and ask yourself if one weak moderate regime can withstand the stronger Islamic forces, particularly when that regime isn't even popular at home because it's a corrupt kleptocracy.

He doesn't provide any obvious answers except, "stop the disastrous settlement building."

But he has no answers about how to stem the tide of history in the Arab world except to be more responsive to the PA.

At this point we have to look around the world and ask ourselves how many times installing and propping up a weak government to carry out our wishes actually works. Vietnam? Lebanon? The world is full of such examples and we usually end up writing them off as disastrous experiments in post-colonialist hubris that we should never repeat again.

If we had such a hard time nation-building in Iraq, what makes us think it's going to be easier creating a peaceful cohesive nation of Palestine, on two pieces of land no less?

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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by NorthAmerican » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:22 pm

Logg wrote:What he didn't mention was that the cement and resources that were used for those tunnels were resources not used for building homes or shelters for Gazans.
I suspected that posters might miss some of what Friedman said or ignore it in twisting his column to fit their own story. Here's part of what Freidman said about the tunnels:

This tunnel took years and millions of dollars to build and required diverting massive resources from civilian roads, buildings and schools. It had one purpose, and it was not fruit exports. It was to shuttle fighters into the kibbutz. And there were many of these.

Maybe bold-face type will make it easier to read.
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by polardude1 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:37 pm

I suspected that posters might miss some of what Friedman said or ignore it in twisting his column to fit their own story. Here's part of what Freidman said about the tunnels:

This tunnel took years and millions of dollars to build and required diverting massive resources from civilian roads, buildings and schools. It had one purpose, and it was not fruit exports. It was to shuttle fighters into the kibbutz. And there were many of these.

Maybe bold-face type will make it easier to read.

I would say around 2 years. Those were the years Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, was in power as Egypt's president. Hamas being an offspring of the Muslim Brotherhod, allowed the free flow of commerce into Gaza from the Sinai. That included concrete and KFC chicken. In addition to that, Israel had eased up on the restrictions after ta last war and allowed the sale of concete from Israel. Since thenm, Morsi was deposed and shut donw te tunnels and Israel shut the spigot as well.
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by Logg » Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:53 pm

NorthAmerican wrote:
Logg wrote:What he didn't mention was that the cement and resources that were used for those tunnels were resources not used for building homes or shelters for Gazans.
I suspected that posters might miss some of what Friedman said or ignore it in twisting his column to fit their own story. Here's part of what Freidman said about the tunnels:

This tunnel took years and millions of dollars to build and required diverting massive resources from civilian roads, buildings and schools. It had one purpose, and it was not fruit exports. It was to shuttle fighters into the kibbutz. And there were many of these.

Maybe bold-face type will make it easier to read.


Didn't you politely invite people to take a look at your link and respond with their thoughts?

And this bit of high-handed pedantry is your response?

Well, you've found the right branch for your level of dialogue.

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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by polardude1 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:24 am

NA does not lie it when things ware not going his way.
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by NorthAmerican » Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:33 am

Logg, you out and out misrepresented what Friedman said. You claimed he said nothing about the resources that were used to build the tunnels, but the opposite was true. To give you the benefit of the doubt, maybe you missed it.
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by Logg » Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:44 am

NorthAmerican wrote:Logg, you out and out misrepresented what Friedman said. You claimed he said nothing about the resources that were used to build the tunnels, but the opposite was true. To give you the benefit of the doubt, maybe you missed it.


You're hilarious.

Yes, I missed the fact that he mentioned the tunnels and that Hamas spent money and resources on them that were diverted from civilian infrastructure.

That bit of information was a very small part of his piece and a very small part of my response.

And yet you respond with such exaggerated haughtiness.

I appreciate that. It lets me know a little bit about your acumen right off the bat.

Good luck furthering your invitation for all to consider and discuss your article.

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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by Iolar » Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:52 am

That bit of information was a very small part of his piece and a very small part of my response.


You misrepresented Friedman in the second paragraph of your rant. It does not fill one with confidence about the remainder of your "critical précis".

Pulling you up on it is not pedantry.

You're hilarious.


You are disingenuous, morally evasive, and intellectually dishonest. It's sad that someone, who seems to be relatively young, is so full of indignation and misplaced anger.

NA does not lie it when things ware not going his way.


Are you reading the same thread? NorthAmerican is one of the most erudite and polite posters on the forum. There is only one poster throwing his toys from the buggy.
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by polardude1 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:04 am

Friedman is not the only so called effort on he Middle East. Granted, he spent a lot of time there. I do recall I'm being interviews leading up to the 2003 Iraq invasion.
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security ... ar-booster

You see, Friedman does get things wrong. Here's another take on Hama's motives from NY Times columnist, David Brooks.



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/opini ... .html?_r=0

No War Is an Island
When Middle East Conflicts Become One

It’s amazing how much of the discussion of the Gaza war is based on the supposition that it is still 1979. It’s based on the supposition that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is a self-contained struggle being run by the two parties most directly involved. It’s based on the supposition that the horror could be ended if only deft negotiators could achieve a “breakthrough” and a path toward a two-state agreement.

But it is not 1979. People’s mental categories may be stuck in the past, but reality has moved on. The violence between Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, may look superficially like past campaigns, but the surrounding context is transformed.

What’s happened, of course, is that the Middle East has begun what Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations has called its 30 Years’ War — an overlapping series of clashes and proxy wars that could go on for decades and transform identities, maps and the political contours of the region.

The Sunni-Shiite rivalry is at full boil. Torn by sectarian violence, the nation of Iraq no longer exists in its old form.

The rivalry between Arab authoritarians and Islamists is at full boil. More than 170,000 Syrians have been killed in a horrific civil war, including 700 in two days alone, the weekend before last, while the world was watching Gaza.

The Sunni vs. Sunni rivalry is boiling, too. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other nations are in the midst of an intra-Sunni cold war, sending out surrogates that distort every other tension in the region.

The Saudi-Iranian rivalry is going strong, too, as those two powers maneuver for regional hegemony and contemplate a nuclear arms race.

In 1979, the Israeli-Palestinian situation was fluid, but the surrounding Arab world was relatively stagnant. Now the surrounding region is a cauldron of convulsive change, while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a repetitive Groundhog Day.

Here’s the result: The big regional convulsions are driving events, including the conflict in Gaza. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become just a stage on which the regional clashes in the Arab world are being expressed. When Middle Eastern powers clash, they take shots at Israel to gain advantage over each other.

Look at how the current fighting in Gaza got stoked. Authoritarians and Islamists have been waging a fight for control of Egypt. After the Arab Spring, the Islamists briefly gained the upper hand. But when the Muslim Brotherhood government fell, the military leaders cracked down. They sentenced hundreds of the Brotherhood’s leadership class to death. They also closed roughly 95 percent of the tunnels that connected Egypt to Gaza, where the Brotherhood’s offshoot, Hamas, had gained power.



[As intended, the Egyptian move was economically devastating to Hamas. Hamas derived 40 percent of its tax revenue from tariffs on goods that flowed through those tunnels. One economist estimated the economic losses at $460 million a year, nearly a fifth of the Gazan G.D.P.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
Hamas needed to end that blockade, but it couldn’t strike Egypt, so it struck Israel. If Hamas could emerge as the heroic fighter in a death match against the Jewish state, if Arab TV screens were filled with dead Palestinian civilians, then public outrage would force Egypt to lift the blockade. Civilian casualties were part of the point. When Mousa Abu Marzook, the deputy chief of the Hamas political bureau, dismissed a plea for a cease-fire, he asked a rhetorical question, “What are 200 martyrs compared with lifting the siege?”

The eminent Israeli journalist Avi Issacharoff summarized the strategy in The Times of Israel, “Make no mistake, Hamas remains committed to the destruction of Israel. But Hamas is firing rockets at Tel Aviv and sending terrorists through tunnels into southern Israel while aiming, in essence, at Cairo.”

This whole conflict has the feel of a proxy war. Turkey and Qatar are backing Hamas in the hopes of getting the upper hand in their regional rivalry with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The Egyptians and even the Saudis are surreptitiously backing or rooting for the Israelis, in hopes that the Israeli force will weaken Hamas.

It no longer makes sense to look at the Israeli-Palestinian contest as an independent struggle. It, like every conflict in the region, has to be seen as a piece of the larger 30 Years’ War. It would be nice if Israel could withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank and wall itself off from this war, but that’s not possible. No outsider can run or understand this complex historical process, but Israel, like the U.S., will be called upon to at least weaken some of the more radical players, like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and Hamas.

In 1979, the Arab-Israeli dispute looked like a clash between civilizations, between a Western democracy and Middle Eastern autocracy. Now the Arab-Israeli dispute looks like a piece of a clash within Arab civilization, over its future.
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by Iolar » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:10 pm

The only way Israel can hope to stabilize Gaza is if it empowers the Palestinian Authority to take over border control in Gaza, but that will eventually require making territorial concessions in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, because it will not act as Israel’s policeman for free.


I agree with this entirely. Unfortunately, I can't see Netanyahu countenancing any territorial concessions.
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by polardude1 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:13 pm

The only wy to stablize Gaza is for Gazans to turn on their occupiers- Hamas. Ity wil involve a lot of blood letting though. Fatah has virtually no presence in Gaza
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by eric84 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Disco really ought to stay in an echo chamber where everyone strokes his ego. He's awfully thin skinned.
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by Logg » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:10 pm

Interesting who addresses the OP and who exclusively feuds. Seems about right for this branch.

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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by polardude1 » Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:17 am

you're surprised?
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by Iolar » Sat Aug 09, 2014 11:02 am

What's more interesting is that there is a coterie posters which continually misrepresents the views of their fellow posters, academics, and columnist in order to suit their story, but ostensibly believe that nobody will notice. It's quite imbecilic.
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Re: "Dear Guests": Thomas L. Friedman writes from a kibbutz

Post by polardude1 » Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:06 pm

The only way Israel can hope to stabilize Gaza is if it empowers the Palestinian Authority to take over border control in Gaza, but that will eventually require making territorial concessions in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, because it will not act as Israel’s policeman for free. This is crunchtime. Either Arab and Israeli moderates collaborate and fight together, or the zealots really are going to take over this neighborhood. Please do not return to your routines.


Iolar, How does the happen. The PA has no representation in Gaza and Hams is really not into power sharing here. I mean, you can allow them to duke it out. I see nothing wrong with that.
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