NY Times Friedman says many in US 'fed up' with Israel
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Columnist contends Americans no longer care about Israeli-Palestinian conflict and this could eventually hurt Israel's national security interests.
New York Times opinion columnist Thomas Friedman said that many Americans are becoming "fed up" with Israel. Friedman's comments came in an interview with Channel Two reporter Dana Weiss to be aired on Saturday.
Friedman stated that while the American public was by no means anti-Israel, they no longer care about the Israeli-Arab conflict and this could eventually hurt Israel's national security interests.
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Friedman added that he believes Israel is not doing the utmost to promote renewed peace talks with the Palestinians. Friedman derided Israel's calls for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish State in exchange for a renewed freeze on construction in the settlements that could revive peace talks. He jokingly said that Israel is asking for "Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] to sing Hatikva [Israel's national anthem] in a perfect Yiddish accent."
Friedman's comments followed a controversial op-ed entitled "Just Knock it Off" that appeared in Tuesday's New York Times in which he said "Israel today really is behaving like a spoiled child."
In the column, Friedman both defends and blasts Israel for behavior past and present, but says that ultimately, the US request for an extended settlement construction moratorium should be honored, especially in light of the "billions of dollars of US aid" the country has received. If America asks Israel to "do something that in no way touches on its vital security but would actually enhance it," he writes, "there is only one right answer: “Yes.”
In March, following US Vice President Joe Biden's visit and the unfortunately timed announcement regarding approval of 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem, he wrote:
"Israel needs a wake-up call. Continuing to build settlements in the West Bank, and even housing in disputed East Jerusalem, is sheer madness."
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