Let's Not Be Netanyahu's 'Useful Idiot'

Thomas Friedman writes that Biden should float a peace plan, with Trump's 2020 plan as the framework
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2023 7:25 AM CST
President Biden, It's Time for a Peace Plan
Flares rise over Gaza City in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Monday Nov.13, 2023.   (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

In the view of Thomas Friedman in the New York Times, Benjamin Netanyahu does not have much of a plan for Gaza. Based on what the Israeli leader has been saying, his long-term vision amounts to this: "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." As an alternative, Friedman argues that President Biden must float a peace plan, and he thinks the framework could be former President Trump's plan of 2020 that put forth a two-state solution and demanded that Hamas be removed from power. At the time, Netanyahu praised it as "historic," though the Palestinian Authority "foolishly" rejected it out outright instead of viewing it as a starting point for negotiations, writes Friedman.

"It is time for President Biden to create a moment of truth for everyone—for Netanyahu, for the Palestinians and their supporters, for Israel and its supporters and for Aipac, the Jewish lobby," writes Friedman. "Biden needs to make clear that America is not going to be Netanyahu's useful idiot." One problem, he adds, is that Netanyahu wants to remain in power after the war, and the only way he can do that is to appease hardliners in his cabinet, all of which makes him resistant to a deal in which the Palestinian Authority would wind up governing Gaza. The US must convince him otherwise. "If a two-state plan were embraced by Israel, even with reservations, it would reinforce for the world that Israel sees its war in Gaza as one of necessary self-defense and a prelude to lasting peace," writes Friedman. Read the full essay, in which he explains how the Palestinian Authority must give ground as well. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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