Tom Friedman on Giving Chances

NY Times columnist Tom Friedman has a piece today calling for greater Israeli “initiative” toward peace. Here’s an excerpt:

If the Palestinians are going to miss another opportunity to miss an opportunity, let it be a real opportunity — one that any fair-minded person would deem fair. At best, Israel would enable the real interests of the Palestinians to emerge, and at worst it would create a moral clarity where Israel can fight a permanent war with the Palestinians, without 27 Israeli Air Force pilots going on strike, saying justice isn’t on their side.

First, a literary note: The Aba Eban quote that Friedman aludes to is “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” What Friedman meant to say is “If the Palestinians are going to have another opportunity…”

Now, the substance: Friedman states that Israel needs to give the Palestinians “a real opportunity — one that any fair-minded person would deem fair.”

Yet didn’t Israel try that already in Taba 2001, when Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians 97% of the West Bank and Gaza, and a capital in Jerusalem? If Friedman does not regard that as an opportunity that “any fair-minded person would deem fair,” then perhaps Friedman is not a fair-minded person.

Missing here is the danger Israel would irresponsibly place its citizens in by making another major commitment to the PA leadership at this juncture, while the terror organizations remain intact and strong.