Tom Friedman: rescue Hamas

Leave it to the New York Times. Just as the Palestinians turn against Hamas, their lead foreign affairs columnist advocates Israel reach out to Hamas and rescue it from its own follies.
First is the fact that Yasir Arafat's Fatah group, which has long dominated Palestinian life, is in disarray. Fatah will not disappear, but it will never again totally dominate the Palestinian Authority. Fatah will have to share power with Hamas, which has largely wiped out Fatah in Gaza already. Sooner or later, the U.S. and Israel are going to have to drop the economic sanctions they imposed on Palestinians to pressure Hamas into recognizing Israel.
Aside from the absurdity and odiousness of reaching out to a group that advocates not just the destruction of Israel but the killing of Jews around the world (has Freidman read their charter, has he followed their propaganda, has he learned of their many attacks against Israeli civilians?), why would he advocate a rescue line being thrown to Hamas when it is on the ropes? 

There has been a spate of news stories regarding increasing dissatisfaction among the Palestinians with Hamas. In this MEMRI dispatch, it is noted that Palestinians find the clashes between Hamas and Fatah and the increasing lawlessness in Gaza and the West Bank abhorrent and that Gazans are longing for the return of the Israelis. From the MEMRI report:
Papers reported that some people in Gaza even want the Israelis to return to the Strip. Faiz Abbas and Muhammad Awwad, journalists for the Israeli-Arab weekly Al-Sinara, wrote: "People in Gaza are hoping that Israel will reenter the Gaza Strip, wipe out both Hamas and Fatah, and then withdraw again... They also say that, since the [start of the] massacres, they [have begun to] miss the Israelis, since Israel is more merciful than [the Palestinian gunmen] who do not even know why they are fighting and killing one another. It's like organized crime, [they said]. Once, we resisted Israel together, but now we call for the return of the Israeli army to Gaza." [20]

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida columnist Yahya Rabah wrote: "When the national unity government was formed, I thought, 'This will be a government of national salvation.' If a government that includes Fatah, Hamas, other factions and independents associated with [various] factions has not been able to save the day, it means that no one can, unless Israel decides that its army should intervene. Then it will invade [the Gaza Strip], kill and arrest [people] - but this time not as an occupying [force] but as an international peace-keeping force. Look what we have come to, how far we have deteriorated, and what we have done to ourselves." [21]

Palestinian journalist Majed Azzam wrote: "We should have the courage to acknowledge the truth... The [only] thing that prevents the chaos and turmoil in Gaza from spreading to the West Bank is the presence of the Israeli occupation [in the West Bank]... [as opposed to] its absence from the Gaza Strip." [22]

Bassem Al-Nabris, a Palestinian poet from Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, wrote: "If a there was a referendum in the Gaza Strip [on the question of] 'would you like the Israeli occupation to return?' half the population would vote 'yes'... But in practice, I believe that the number of those in favor is at least 70%, if not more - [a figure] much higher than is assumed by the political analysts and those who follow [events]. For the million and a half people living in this small region, things have [simply] gone too far - in practice, not just as a metaphor. [It did not begin] with the internal conflicts, but even earlier, in the days of the previous Palestinian administration, which was corrupt and did not give the people even the tiniest [ray of] hope. The fundamentalist forces which came into power [after it] also promised change and reform, but [instead, people] got a siege, with no security and no [chance of] making a living... If the occupation returns, at least there will be no civil war, and the occupier will have a moral and legal obligation to provide the occupied people with employment and food, which they now lack." [23]
Mahmoud Abbas has said that the Palestinians are on the brink of a civil war and such "infighting is worse than Israeli military rule", implicitly acknowledging that Israeli rule at least brought some degree of order and security from the Hobbesian world Hamas has created. Even the Druze who live on the Golan Heights (formerly held by Syria) admit that friends and relatives who live in Syria tell them how lucky they are to live under Israeli laws and to have the freedoms that Syrians are denied.  One Druze expressed relief that he does not live in Syria: 

Although Suleiman has never been to Syria, he said he was scared by stories from friends permitted to study there.
"Here, there's TV, the Internet, democracy and freedom of thought. Those things aren't available in Syria," he said, asking that his last name not be used for fear his comment would be reported to Syrian authorities in Damascus.

My Syrian friends tell me I'm lucky I live under occupation," said Firas, a 25-year-old doctor who graduated from a Syrian university and vowed never to return. "I hated life there, the political regime, (the lack of) freedom, lies, hypocrisy."
Surely, Tom Friedman, famously well-informed on the Middle East, is aware that Hamas "won" the election because too many candidates ran in local elections and the split votes led to the Hamas victory. Had the Palestinians ran a better campaign, Hamas might never have won. It is at best unclear that Hamas truly is representative of the views and desires of the Palestinians.

As Hamas focuses on launching missiles and killing innocent Israeli civilians, its negligence and incompetence toward its own people have created a situation that is evolving toward a view among the Palestinians that terror "does not pay".  The lack of international recognition and funding has hurt the Hamas regime (incidentally, aid to the Palestinian people themselves has soared) and people are turning against Hamas. This the esteemed New York Times columnist Tom Friedman for some reason finds distressing. Instead of putting a nail into the heart of Hamas, he wants to put them on life support and rejuvenate them

A few years ago, Tom Friedman (and the New York Times) introduced to the world the "Saudi Peace Plan" that called for Israel to pull back to the pre-Six Day War lines (otherwise called the "Auschwitz borders") and called for a return of Palestinian refugees into Israel. The plan was pushed for months by Friedman and the Times but faded. Now the Saudis and others are again floating the "Peace Plan". Friedman's ego appears to be stoked by this development. Now he wants to push for a Hamas Peace Plan. Methinks Friedman feels frustrated merely being a Pulitzer-prize winning columnist at the Times. Perhaps he has reached a time in his life where he asks himself, "Where do I go now that I have reached the pinnacle of journalism?"  

I think his dream is to be Secretary of State.
Leave it to the New York Times. Just as the Palestinians turn against Hamas, their lead foreign affairs columnist advocates Israel reach out to Hamas and rescue it from its own follies.
First is the fact that Yasir Arafat's Fatah group, which has long dominated Palestinian life, is in disarray. Fatah will not disappear, but it will never again totally dominate the Palestinian Authority. Fatah will have to share power with Hamas, which has largely wiped out Fatah in Gaza already. Sooner or later, the U.S. and Israel are going to have to drop the economic sanctions they imposed on Palestinians to pressure Hamas into recognizing Israel.
Aside from the absurdity and odiousness of reaching out to a group that advocates not just the destruction of Israel but the killing of Jews around the world (has Freidman read their charter, has he followed their propaganda, has he learned of their many attacks against Israeli civilians?), why would he advocate a rescue line being thrown to Hamas when it is on the ropes? 

There has been a spate of news stories regarding increasing dissatisfaction among the Palestinians with Hamas. In this MEMRI dispatch, it is noted that Palestinians find the clashes between Hamas and Fatah and the increasing lawlessness in Gaza and the West Bank abhorrent and that Gazans are longing for the return of the Israelis. From the MEMRI report:
Papers reported that some people in Gaza even want the Israelis to return to the Strip. Faiz Abbas and Muhammad Awwad, journalists for the Israeli-Arab weekly Al-Sinara, wrote: "People in Gaza are hoping that Israel will reenter the Gaza Strip, wipe out both Hamas and Fatah, and then withdraw again... They also say that, since the [start of the] massacres, they [have begun to] miss the Israelis, since Israel is more merciful than [the Palestinian gunmen] who do not even know why they are fighting and killing one another. It's like organized crime, [they said]. Once, we resisted Israel together, but now we call for the return of the Israeli army to Gaza." [20]

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida columnist Yahya Rabah wrote: "When the national unity government was formed, I thought, 'This will be a government of national salvation.' If a government that includes Fatah, Hamas, other factions and independents associated with [various] factions has not been able to save the day, it means that no one can, unless Israel decides that its army should intervene. Then it will invade [the Gaza Strip], kill and arrest [people] - but this time not as an occupying [force] but as an international peace-keeping force. Look what we have come to, how far we have deteriorated, and what we have done to ourselves." [21]

Palestinian journalist Majed Azzam wrote: "We should have the courage to acknowledge the truth... The [only] thing that prevents the chaos and turmoil in Gaza from spreading to the West Bank is the presence of the Israeli occupation [in the West Bank]... [as opposed to] its absence from the Gaza Strip." [22]

Bassem Al-Nabris, a Palestinian poet from Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, wrote: "If a there was a referendum in the Gaza Strip [on the question of] 'would you like the Israeli occupation to return?' half the population would vote 'yes'... But in practice, I believe that the number of those in favor is at least 70%, if not more - [a figure] much higher than is assumed by the political analysts and those who follow [events]. For the million and a half people living in this small region, things have [simply] gone too far - in practice, not just as a metaphor. [It did not begin] with the internal conflicts, but even earlier, in the days of the previous Palestinian administration, which was corrupt and did not give the people even the tiniest [ray of] hope. The fundamentalist forces which came into power [after it] also promised change and reform, but [instead, people] got a siege, with no security and no [chance of] making a living... If the occupation returns, at least there will be no civil war, and the occupier will have a moral and legal obligation to provide the occupied people with employment and food, which they now lack." [23]
Mahmoud Abbas has said that the Palestinians are on the brink of a civil war and such "infighting is worse than Israeli military rule", implicitly acknowledging that Israeli rule at least brought some degree of order and security from the Hobbesian world Hamas has created. Even the Druze who live on the Golan Heights (formerly held by Syria) admit that friends and relatives who live in Syria tell them how lucky they are to live under Israeli laws and to have the freedoms that Syrians are denied.  One Druze expressed relief that he does not live in Syria: 

Although Suleiman has never been to Syria, he said he was scared by stories from friends permitted to study there.
"Here, there's TV, the Internet, democracy and freedom of thought. Those things aren't available in Syria," he said, asking that his last name not be used for fear his comment would be reported to Syrian authorities in Damascus.

My Syrian friends tell me I'm lucky I live under occupation," said Firas, a 25-year-old doctor who graduated from a Syrian university and vowed never to return. "I hated life there, the political regime, (the lack of) freedom, lies, hypocrisy."
Surely, Tom Friedman, famously well-informed on the Middle East, is aware that Hamas "won" the election because too many candidates ran in local elections and the split votes led to the Hamas victory. Had the Palestinians ran a better campaign, Hamas might never have won. It is at best unclear that Hamas truly is representative of the views and desires of the Palestinians.

As Hamas focuses on launching missiles and killing innocent Israeli civilians, its negligence and incompetence toward its own people have created a situation that is evolving toward a view among the Palestinians that terror "does not pay".  The lack of international recognition and funding has hurt the Hamas regime (incidentally, aid to the Palestinian people themselves has soared) and people are turning against Hamas. This the esteemed New York Times columnist Tom Friedman for some reason finds distressing. Instead of putting a nail into the heart of Hamas, he wants to put them on life support and rejuvenate them

A few years ago, Tom Friedman (and the New York Times) introduced to the world the "Saudi Peace Plan" that called for Israel to pull back to the pre-Six Day War lines (otherwise called the "Auschwitz borders") and called for a return of Palestinian refugees into Israel. The plan was pushed for months by Friedman and the Times but faded. Now the Saudis and others are again floating the "Peace Plan". Friedman's ego appears to be stoked by this development. Now he wants to push for a Hamas Peace Plan. Methinks Friedman feels frustrated merely being a Pulitzer-prize winning columnist at the Times. Perhaps he has reached a time in his life where he asks himself, "Where do I go now that I have reached the pinnacle of journalism?"  

I think his dream is to be Secretary of State.