This is another installment in the amazing adventures of Tom Terrific (aka Friedman) in Palestine, wherein our hero goes slumming through the West Bank seeking economic miracles to which he can attribute the magical touch of “Prime Minister” Salam Fayyad. Here’s one particular howler from today’s column:
…If the Palestinians can build a real economy, a professional security force and an effective, transparent government bureaucracy it will eventually become impossible for Israel to deny the Palestinians a state in the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
Can anyone tell me why in God’s name Israel will find it impossible to deny the Palestinians a state merely because they have built a working economy and political apparatus?
I also find it humorous when Tom describes Fayyad as if he’s a Chicago ward-heeler:
The economist-turned-politician seems more comfortable mixing with his constituents in the West Bank…
Constituents? Forgive me, but in my high school civics course I was taught you had to be elected to have “constituents.” Am I missing something here or is Tom perhaps missing something? What was Fayyad ever elected to?
I swear, Tom’s tooting of Fayyad’s horn makes me swear the former’s palm is getting greased by someone. You couldn’t pay a PR flack enough to produce such unrelenting upbeat propaganda. And he hasn’t just done this once, he does it several times a year. In truth, I half-wonder whether the PA is paying Tom a consulting fee of some sort.
Here’s some more Tom delusion. He claims conditions in the West Bank are so excellent that “even some Gazans are moving there.” Excuse me Tom, do you realize there’s a siege underway on Gaza and that no one gets in or out without Israeli approval, which is practically non-existent? So the only people “moving” from Gaza to the West Bank are those Israel has permitted to do so.
Tom has a truly ambitious agenda for Pres. Obama’s July 6th meeting with Bibi:
The most important thing President Obama can do when he meets Israel’s prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, on July 6 is to nudge him to begin gradually ceding control of major West Bank Palestinian cities to the Palestinian Authority…
Ever the gradualist even in the face of mounting disaster, Tom goes for the lowest common denominator. I can think of many important things Obama should ‘nudge’ Bibi to do: end the siege, end the Occupation, enter final status talks. But switching from Israeli to Palestinian uniforms in a few West Bank cities is not one of them.
And all of you out there who like to “dump on” Fayyad and call him “inauthentic,” Shame on You says Tom:
I am struck, though, at how much Fayyadism makes some Arabs…uncomfortable. For those Arabs who have fallen in love with the idea of Palestinians as permanent victims, forever engaged in a heroic “armed struggle” to recover Palestine and Arab dignity, Fayyad’s methodical state-building is inauthentic. Some Arabs — shamefully — dump on it…
Imagine that, Arabs actually think a guy who came to power through an aborted armed coup and was never elected by anyone to anything is inauthentic! What will they think of next?
I swear Tom and Bibi are in cahoots on this. The only thing Bibi is willing to concede to Palestinians is that Israel can nibble around the edges of Occupation and improve the Palestinians economy. So what tune does Tom sing? It’s the economy stupid. No, in this case it’s not the economy. It’s political power and control of land and resources. You can’t build a state or an economy without having absolute control over such things. And all Tom is doing is dealing in half measures. Oh Tom, poor Tom. You’re too little, too late.