OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Recognizing a Palestinian state will lose the game

Thomas Friedman and Antony Blinken don’t understand the Middle East time zone.

“New York Times” columnist Thomas L. Friedman discusses “The Divide Between Order and Disorder,” Sept. 16, 2014. Credit: Chatham House Photo via Flickr/Wikimedia Commons.
“New York Times” columnist Thomas L. Friedman discusses “The Divide Between Order and Disorder,” Sept. 16, 2014. Credit: Chatham House Photo via Flickr/Wikimedia Commons.
Charles A. Stone
Charles A. Stone is a professor in the Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the Koppelman School of Business at Brooklyn College.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is urging President Joe Biden to recognize a Palestinian state unilaterally the day before the day before Israel has defeated Hamas and liberated the women, children and men the terror group kidnapped.

Freidman wrote on Feb. 13, “Your job now, Joe, is to carry those ideas forward to forge two states for two peoples in one land. This is your time to make bold moves that will signal to Israelis and Palestinians, to the Middle East and the world: America is serious about seeing through the two-state solution. Since Netanyahu won’t negotiate a Palestinian state, you can recognize the Palestinian Authority as a state unilaterally.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken seems to be on the same page. At the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17, he said, “And there’s also, I think, the imperative … that’s more urgent than ever: to proceed to a Palestinian state, one that also ensures the security of Israel and makes the necessary commitments to do so.”

Apparently, the security of Israel will be guaranteed by the United States, Saudi Arabia and other partners. Such guarantees, however, are frequently open to interpretation and do not stand the test of time, as the Ukrainians, Taiwanese, Kurds and the women of Afghanistan can testify. Israeli leaders know that “the day after the day after,” Israel could be at the mercy of an anti-Israel platoon in the U.S. Congress rather than just a squad.

Of course, Friedman is constrained by deadlines and Blinken by the U.S. electoral calendar. On this issue, however, it’s time for both of them to set their watches to the Mideast time zone. In this time zone, people think in generations.

A single sentence from the PLO’s 1974 Phased Plan demonstrates this fact: “The Liberation Organization will struggle against any proposal for a Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition, peace, secure frontiers, renunciation of national rights and the deprival of our people of their right to return and their right to self-determination on the soil of their homeland.”

Hamas considers every inch of Israel that “homeland”—from the river to the sea. There is no “day after” for Hamas and Iran that includes Israel.

If Biden listens to Thomas Friedman and decides that now is the time to recognize a Palestinian state, then his speechwriters might want to quote Neville Chamberlain, who after the 1938 Munich agreement handed Czechoslovakia to Hitler, said. “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British prime minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time. … Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.”

Yes, people of Israel and Jews of the world, “get a nice quiet sleep” while the next phase of Israel’s destruction is planned.

An important aspect of being a very good backgammon player is the ability to time the progress of your pieces. Rushing to the finish will leave you with a weak defense and an ineffective offense. Thus, players must quickly and objectively calculate the odds. My advice to Blinken and Friedman is not to play backgammon in the Mideast. Or, at least, they shouldn’t play for such high stakes until they have mastered the timing of the game.  

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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