As anyone who has been involved in peace-making efforts between Israelis and Palestinians knows, there comes a moment where you are compelled to say “fuck it.” This is the moment when you say to yourself: “Let’s be honest, this peace-process is an exercise in futility. These people deserve each other. I am going to wash my hands clean of this mess. Fuck it!”
Yesterday, Thomas Friedman had his own “fuck it” moment. He shared it with the world, arguing in the NYT that until Israelis and Palestinians reach a mutually hurting stalemate, until both parties prove they really want peace, the United States should remove itself completely from the peace process.
Have a read:
Today, the Arabs, Israel and the Palestinians are clearly not feeling enough pain to do anything hard for peace with each other — a mood best summed up by a phrase making the rounds at the State Department: The Palestinian leadership “wants a deal with Israel without any negotiations” and Israel’s leadership “wants negotiations with the Palestinians without any deal.”
It is obvious that this Israeli government believes it can have peace with the Palestinians and keep the West Bank, this Palestinian Authority still can’t decide whether to reconcile with the Jewish state or criminalize it and this Hamas leadership would rather let Palestinians live forever in the hellish squalor that is Gaza than give up its crazy fantasy of an Islamic Republic in Palestine.
If we are still begging Israel to stop building settlements, which is so manifestly idiotic, and the Palestinians to come to negotiations, which is so manifestly in their interest, and the Saudis to just give Israel a wink, which is so manifestly pathetic, we are in the wrong place. It’s time to call a halt to this dysfunctional “peace process,” which is only damaging the Obama team’s credibility.
If the status quo is this tolerable for the parties, then I say, let them enjoy it. I just don’t want to subsidize it or anesthetize it anymore. We need to fix America. If and when they get serious, they’ll find us. And when they do, we should put a detailed U.S. plan for a two-state solution, with borders, on the table. Let’s fight about something big.