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TOM FRIEDMAN: The most revealing moment from my trip to Israel

TJI Wrap
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Published: 17 November 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israel and the US do not share a vision of how Israel can convert this war into a lasting peace with the Palestinians.

During my nine days of reporting recently in Israel and the West Bank, little did I know that the most revealing moment would come in the final hours of my visit.

As I was packing to leave, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a news conference in which he indicated that Israel and the United States do not have a shared vision of how Israel should complete its war in Gaza or how to convert any Israeli victory over Hamas into a lasting peace with the Palestinians.

Without such a shared strategy, the Biden administration, the American people and particularly American Jews who support Israel will need to make some fateful decisions.

We will either have to become captives of Netanyahu’s strategy — which could take us all down with him — or articulate our own American vision for how the Gaza war must end. That would require a Biden administration plan to create two states for two indigenous peoples living in the areas of Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.

Yes, I am talking about a wartime peace plan that, if Israel agreed, could help give it the time, legitimacy, allies and resources it needs to defeat Hamas — without getting stuck governing all of Gaza and all of the West Bank forever, with no political horizon for the Palestinians.

And have no illusion, this is the only vision Netanyahu is offering right now: Seven million Jews trying to govern five million Palestinians in perpetuity — and that is a prescription for disaster for Israel, America, Jews everywhere and America’s moderate Arab allies.

The Biden plan — are you sitting down? — could actually use as one of its starting points President Donald Trump’s proposal for a two-state solution, because Netanyahu warmly embraced that in 2020, when he had a different coalition.

The Most Revealing Moment From My Trip to Israel (DYNUZ)

Biden’s initial confidence on Israel gives way to the complexities and casualties of a brutal war (AP)
In the early days and hours after the horrific Hamas attack on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, President Joe Biden spoke with stark declarations and unqualified support for the longtime U.S. ally.

Blinken acknowledges disagreements within State Department on Israel-Hamas war in email to staff (CNN)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged disagreements within the State Department over the Biden administration’s approach to the Israel-Hamas war in an email to staff Monday.

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

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