Gaza Encapsulates Mideast Strife: Friedman

Can the Jews have a room at this hotel?
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2009 9:19 AM CST
A rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip is seen from southern Israel, near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009.    (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
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(Newser) – The bloody scene playing out in Gaza is painful, but “all too familiar,” writes Thomas Friedman of the New York Times: It’s “a mini-version of three great struggles that have been playing out since 1948.” Those struggles:

  • Who Owns This Hotel? Who’s the Mideast superpower? Is it Egypt? Saudi Arabia? Or ascendant Iran, which can "stop and start the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at will" through Hamas and Hezbollah?

  • Can the Jews Have a Room Here? Hamas and its refusal to even consider a role for Israel must go. "Hamas’s attacks on towns in southern Israel is destroying a two-state solution."
  • Shouldn’t We Blow Up the Bar And Replace It With a Mosque? Hamas’ rivalry with Fatah is the latest front in “a regionwide civil war between Islamists and modernists.”

Gaza is “basically ground zero” for all three conflicts. Obama must tread lightly to preserve his Middle Eastern popularity.