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May 19, 2005

Thomas Friedman - Clarity and Confusion

Yesterday's column by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times raised some noteworthy points about the retracted Newsweek report and subsequent riots.

The Muslim world's silence about the real desecration of Iraqis, coupled with its outrage over the alleged desecration of a Koran, highlights what we are up against in trying to stabilize Iraq

However, when it comes to Friedman's comments on the situation in Israel, the columnist — again — is well off target.

He states:

If the Arab world, its media and its spiritual leaders, came out and forcefully and repeatedly condemned those who mount these suicide attacks, and if credible Sunnis were given their fair share in the Iraqi government, I am certain a lot of this suicide bombing would stop, as happened with the Palestinians.

If only Friedman's delusion were a reality. Far from it.

A May 2005 JMCC poll shows that 49.7 percent of Palestinians still support suicide bombings (vs. 48 percent who oppose them). This plurality of Palestinians in favor of suicide bombings underscores the fact that there is no "forceful" and "repeated" condemnation of such attacks in the Palestinian media and by spiritual leaders.

Suicide bombings tapered off long before democratic reforms started taking hold in the PA. On July 1, 2004, while Arafat was still overseeing anti-Israel violence as despot of the PA, the Israeli government noted that terror attacks had decreased by 90 percent in areas where Israel's security fence had been erected.

That is, Palestinian suicide bombings have slowed not because of Palestinian condemnation, but because of Israeli measures to protect its citizens, including the security barrier, targeted killings of terrorist leaders, etc.

Posted by GI at May 19, 2005 03:54 PM