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A "Flat" Proposal - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Thomas Friedman, the renowned American journalist and illustrious godfather of globalization and not to mention, author of a number of bestsellers such as Lexus and the Olive Tree, The World Is Flat, has always promoted himself as an expert in Middle Eastern affairs who is capable of bridging the gap between the Jewish state and Arabs. Friedman has numerous articles in which he tries to give advice and consult in an effort to achieve peace in this troubled region of the world.

Now, Friedman returns to the issue of peace between Israel and the Arabs in his latest New York Times editorial. In this article, he tries to reconstruct the Arab peace initiative in order for it to be proposed again to the government and the people of Israel by including Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as guarantors of the initiative. He proposes that Jordan guards the Israeli borders with the West Bank and that Egypt does likewise along its borders with Gaza provided that Israel be granted a five-year time limit to withdraw from the entire West Bank and the Arab part of Jerusalem with the exception of (Yes, there is one astounding exception) the territories that will be offered to Israel in return for other territories in other areas. Saudi Arabia will have to pay for the administrative expenses for both Jordan and Egypt in return for assuming this duty, in addition to laying out one billion dollars worth of service costs to each of them, plus funding the Palestinian Authority’s budget expenditures.

Here we must ask Mr. Friedman, Didn’t it ever occur to you that the tremendous financial aid extended by the US to Israel, which no other state has ever acquired in history, should be directed to the peace achieving efforts that he suggests because, theoretically speaking, Israel would not need such a massive military arsenal after peace is achieved.

Friedman intentionally ignores the fact that when the initiative was initially presented in Beirut during the Arab Summit and even before the ink had dried, savage Israeli tanks were already shelling the premises of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and chasing him in Ramallah on the orders of the deranged former Israeli Prime Minister Aerial Sharon. The terrible carnage that was committed against Arabs, which Friedman does not point out, is an irrefutable condemnation of the intentions of peace in Israel (If there was any at all).

Israel’s emphatic and practical rejection of the Arab peace initiative is a solid proof that Israel has no intention whatsoever of contributing to the establishment of a Palestinian State, or entertaining the two-state solution. Israel has succeeded in dragging Egypt into sideline clashes via the gate of Hassan Nasrallah, widely and previously known as Rafaah. And it will definitely try to do the same thing with Jordan very soon.

This illogical proposal by Thomas Friedman won’t be but another slip in the double-standard policy practiced by those newspapermen in the West supporting Israel, particularly in the US. Yet the recent Israeli onslaught on Gaza has manifestly managed to bring the Palestinian Cause back to the headlines worldwide. Moreover, the attack has also revealed the atrocities perpetrated by the Israeli Army, thus, leading Israel to lose the public relations battle which was always a walk away for Israel.

In the United States, some of the best comedians and entertainers are of the Jewish persuasion and have amused many over the years through movies, television and theater. And what Thomas Friedman has put forward recently, under the assumption that it is a new peace initiative which deserves to be introduced, must be treated as comedic material and certainly not as a serious proposal, because it is void of any ethical balance that would plainly show the naked truth and incriminate those who are responsible. Bad joke, Thomas.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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