And if Israelis turned their eyes from their neighbor to the southwest to their neighbor to the north, Lebanon, the picture was also something less than inspiring. On Wednesday Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Hezbollah terror organization, threatened in a ceremony in Beirut to take over the Galilee in the event of another war with Israel.
“I’m telling the Zionist commanders and generals,” he said, “wherever you go, anywhere in the world and at any time, you always need to look out, because Imad Mugniyeh’s blood has not been spilled in vain”—referring to the terror master assassinated by Israel in Damascus in 2008.
Israelis can remember another “Arab spring” not long ago—in Beirut in 2005. Then too democracy protesters—many of them undoubtedly authentic—thronged the streets and succeeded in getting Hezbollah’s ally Syria to withdraw its army from Lebanon. But today Lebanon is very much in the grip of Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, and tens of thousands of Hezbollah missiles cover every inch of Israel.
One does not have to be Israeli—just intelligently sympathetic—to understand that such experiences dispose Israelis to caution about purported transformations in the Middle East. Intelligently sympathetic, and a good deal less arrogant than Thomas Friedman.
And what about Israel’s neighbor to the east, Jordan—with which, like Egypt, it signed a peace treaty, this one in 1994?
Some rather unpleasant winds blew from that direction, too, this week when Jordan’s new justice minister Hussein Mjali called for the release from a Jordanian prison of Ahmed Daqamseh—a Jordanian who murdered seven 11-year-old Israeli schoolgirls in 1997.
Mjali had been appointed by King Abdullah a week earlier “in a shakeup,” the Jerusalem Post noted in a stinging editorial, “geared to stem protests inspired by Egypt’s turmoil” and “facilitate greater democratic freedoms.” But
the fact that Mjali, who served as Daqamseh’s attorney during his trial, could be appointed minister of justice in the first place raises gave questions…. It would have been no great surprise that he’d be the blusterous chief speaker at a demonstration [pictured here] for Daqamseh’s release.
For now Jordanian officials have told Israel that there are no plans to free Daqamseh—even though “Jordan’s powerful Islamist movement and the country’s 14 trade unions, comprising over 200,000 members, relentlessly campaign for [his] release.”
Thomas Friedman, of course, does not live in a country surrounded by neighbors where journalists are beaten and sexually abused by a mob of “democracy supporters,” where a terror potentate threatens invasion and conquest, or where much of the population is enamored of a mass child-murderer. How much easier to visit the Middle East for a jaunt, hobnobbing with the Facebook and Twitter-savvy youth in Tahrir Square, and direct one’s bile at Israel.
At least Thomas Friedman fits in.
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