New York Times Middle East expert Tom Friedman had a column yesterday that hit a lot of nails on their heads.
Netanyahu, an aspiring autocrat, has courted Israeli extremists to protect himself from criminal prosecution and stay in power.
2. Netanyahu has practiced apartheid and bullied Palestinians living in the West Bank
3. Israel’s disarray and unpreparedness for Hamas’s attack is to a large degree a consequence of Netanyahu’s behavior in these respects.
3. Israel and Saudi Arabia, with the encouragement of the U.S., have been working toward a rapprochement and normalization of their relationship.
4. Extremists enemies of Israel — Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran —are revolted and infuriated by this development.
5. It appears that the only way that Hamas thought that it could stop this from happening would be to launch last weekend’s horrific attack on Israel. There was, of course, no chance that Hamas could conquer Israel or prevail against it. Their purpose was to provoke Israel into massive retaliation, inflicting so much death and suffering upon Palestinian civilians that sympathy for Israel would turn into hostility, and the chances for a rapprochement would evaporate into thin air.
6. Hamas is led by people who are willing to bring about mass pain and suffering on their compatriots to achieve their nihilistic goal.
7. Netanyahu would serve everyone’s interest by pursuing an enlightened and civil policy toward Palestinians living in the West Bank, working to strengthen, rather than undermine, Israel’s democratic institutions, exercising forbearance in retaliating against Hamas, and pursuing rapprochement with Saudi Arabia.
8. Given Netanyahu’s record and his rhetoric, it’s more likely that he will play into Hamas’s hands and do just what they want him to.