web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Question the Palestinians Aren’t Being Asked


Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman

Share Button

Almost all the focus in the mainstream media on the Middle East peace process tends to be on the decision taken by only one of the parties involved in the negotiations.

The perennial question from pundits and even veteran kibitzers like The New York Times’s Thomas Friedman is whether Israelis are ready to take risks in order to achieve peace. That was the conceit of a column he wrote last week titled “Israel’s Big Question,” and if it seemed familiar to readers, it was no accident. Friedman has been writing the same column for decades in which he asks Israelis whether they will leave the West Bank in order to retain both the Jewish and democratic identities of their nation. If they don’t, and Secretary of State Kerry’s initiative fails, Israel’s doom is, he says, sealed.

But of course Israel has already tried to trade land for the promise of peace and failed. The Palestinians turned down three offers of statehood and there is every indication they will turn down a fourth offer of up to 90 percent of the West Bank that is being mulled by the Netanyahu government.

Friedman’s assumption – as well as that of many of Israel’s critics – is that if the Israelis are sufficiently forthcoming those problems will disappear. They should instead be asking what it is about the political culture of the Palestinians that makes their intransigence not merely possible but inevitable. The answer comes in two separate stories that touch on what it is that both the PA’s negotiators and Hamas believe.

In Gaza, the Hamas government has apparently rejected the textbooks provided for schools by UNRWA, the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees and their descendants. UNRWA has hired Hamas terrorists as staffers and has been rightly accused of helping to perpetuate the conflict by not seeking to resettle refugees so as to keep them in camps as props in the long Arab war against Israel. But while the textbooks UNRWA has published for Gaza schools apparently accept the Palestinian narrative of victimization and the illegitimacy of Israel, they also encourage non-violence. The Hamas education ministry is particularly angry since the books emphasize the examples of peaceful protests.

Education Minister Mu’tasim Al-Minawi had the following objections: “The vast majority of examples [in the books] refer to [Mahatma] Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Helen Suzman, the Soweto Uprising, the Magna Carta and Apartheid, even though Islamic-Arab-Palestinian alternatives exist. There are many models which could be used which are closer to the students’ understanding.”

This tells us Hamas is educating the children of Gaza not just to hate Israel and Jews but also to reject the Western frame of reference about human rights, even in the context of support for anti-Israel activism, which was clearly the intention of the UNRWA curriculum.

Also instructive is the mini-controversy inspired by Saeb Erekat, the man who represents the Palestinians in peace talks. Earlier this month at the Munich Security Conference, Erekat told his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni that asking him to recognize the Jewish state was impossible since it would force the Palestinians “to change their narrative” about their history. He also claimed his family – as well as the rest of the Palestinians – has a claim to the land prior to that of the Jews since they are descended from the biblical Canaanites and were there when Joshua Bin Nun “burned my hometown Jericho.”

Suffice it to say that there is no evidence that Palestinian Arabs have any connection with the inhabitants of the country prior to the Arab conquest that occurred in the seventh century CE.

But if even Erekat – whom we are told by the media and the U.S. government is a man of peace – is determined to cling to a historical narrative that is based in rejection of Jewish rights to any part of the country, then what hope is there for peace?

Both Fatah and Hamas continue to educate their peoples in a culture that is not only steeped in hatred of Jews and Israel but in a worldview in which the rejection of Zionism is integral to Palestinian identity. The question Kerry, Friedman, and others who continue to hound Israel should be asking is this: When will the Palestinians give up their culture of hate and embrace one that would give peace a chance?

Share Button

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

4 Responses to “The Question the Palestinians Aren’t Being Asked”

  1. Just like the traitor Friedman has been writing his same old article for years so too you (we) have been responding to it the same way for the same amoubnt of years. Lets trying saying something new. Or better yet something old. The only one who seems to have been right over the long term is the jewish martyr Rabbi Kahane.

  2. George Harsanyi says:

    He is boring.

  3. One may disagree with Mr Friedman, but to publish a picture of him with a jester hat is distasteful

  4. Gary Schrank says:

    hes always been a prick about israel,liberal kiss ass self hating jew

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Hamas terrorists prepare their version of peace.
Terrorists Greet Hamas-Fatah Unity with Rocket Attacks on Israel
Latest Indepth Stories
Al-Aksa Mosque was claimed to be the site from which Mohammed ascended to Heaven, but it was built nearly 50 years after Mohammed died.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Israeli police enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
Mahmoud Abbas, acting leader of the Palestinian Authority

To admit Israel is a Jewish State would undo Arabs’ claimed victimhood and plans to eliminate Israel.

Robert Malley

When it became known in May 2008 that Malley had met with Hamas terrorists, the Obama campaign severed ties with him.

Friedman has been writing the same column for decades in which he asks Israelis whether they will leave the “West Bank.”

Issuing a statement dredging up Wildstein’s life, Christie’s office raised as many questions as it answered.

No matter how wrong Israel’s leaders may think their American counterparts are, little good comes from public spats.

Lieberman has repeatedly dismissed the Palestinian Authority as not being a peace partner.

This is a political version of replacement theology.

Like Chamberlain, Obama sued the ayatollahs for peace, insisting the only alternative to appeasement is war.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-question-the-palestinians-arent-being-asked/2014/02/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: