In his latest New York Times opinion piece, Thomas Friedman advocates Palestinian “non-violent resistance”:
By Palestinians engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience in the West Bank with one hand and carrying a map of a reasonable two-state settlement in the other, they will be adopting the only strategy that will end the Israeli occupation: Making Israelis feel morally insecure but strategically secure. The Iron Law of the peace process is that whoever makes the Israeli silent majority feel morally insecure about occupation but strategically secure in Israel wins.
What strikes me most about Friedman’s opinions is just how out of touch he is with the everyday reality of ordinary Israelis (and I count myself as one). His idea rests on the faulty premise that the so-called peace process is about ending Israeli control over disputed territories claimed by the Palestinians.
This cannot be the end game of a peace process. The vast majority of Israelis of all political colors yearn for real peace. If Friedman believes that the relinquishing of Israeli controlled territory is a successful outcome of his vision of Palestinian non-violent resistance then he’s deluding himself.
What about peace itself? Friedman mentions Egypt’s Anwar Sadat as an example of successful peacemaking. Yet, it wasn’t “moral insecurity” or even “strategic security” that convinced mainstream Israelis to support giving up the Sinai and concluding a peace treaty. It was the simple act of Sadat clearly and publicly stating his desire for peace with Israel that broke down the barriers of mistrust.
This is something that Israelis have yet to hear from the Palestinian leadership whose idea of “non-violent resistance” is not Friedman’s naive vision of sit-ins, boycotts and hunger strikes but a full-on campaign of delegitimization of Israel being waged via diplomatic, political, cultural and media spheres.
This form of so-called “non-violent resistance” isn’t going to make Israelis feel morally insecure even if they are in favor of relinquishing territory.
Instead of encouraging an assault on Israel by non-military means, isn’t it about time that Thomas Friedman started to advocate for a peace process that actually involves making peace?
The land for peace formula has been proven faulty by virtue of Palestinian reactions to Israeli concessions. So why then is Friedman intent on promoting a land for nothing formula?