Kristof calls for the pre-1967 borders with land swaps. Does he tell us how that is possible when Hamas (half of the Palestinian Authority the Quartet, U.S., Russia and European Union label as a terrorist organization) believes it is entitled to occupy Tel Aviv and its charter states every Jew entering Palestine after 1917 must be expelled. Has Kristof ever criticized Hamas’ charter and its numerous acts of terrorism intended to accomplish this goal?
Kristof criticizes the fact that Israeli citizens have become more conservative on “border[s] and land issues.” Why shouldn’t they? Former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barack and Ehud Olmert offered to settle borders giving the Palestinian state 97 percent of the West Bank which they rejected. Many supporters of Israel believe Palestinians are not interested in a two-state solution, one Jewish and one Palestinian, but seek instead a return of Palestinians to Israel so as to ultimately overwhelm the Jewish state and make it a Muslim state. Has Kristof ever addressed that outcome?
The criticism that Kristof lodges against Hamas is: “And Hamas not only represses its own people, but also managed to devastate the peace movement in Israel. That’s the saddest thing about the Middle East: hardliners like Hamas empower hardliners like Mr. Netanyahu.” As Ronald Reagan once said: “There he goes again,” equating terrorists with Israeli “hardliners.” Surely, Kristof knows the difference.
The Israelis have concluded, and I agree, the Palestinian leadership does not want peace. Within the last two weeks, the Quartet asked both parties to go back to the negotiation table and negotiate without preconditions. The Israeli Prime Minister immediately said “anywhere, anyplace.” The President of the Palestinian Authority said “no” unless Israel agrees to a settlement freeze and negotiates based on indefensible 1967 borders. Has Kristof criticized Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority for his refusal?
In his column, Kristof urges Palestinian women to engage in civil disobedience which could, he knows, end in violence and be met, he says, with “tear gas and clubbing,” ending with “videos promptly posted on YouTube.” So there we have it. Kristof wants a physical confrontation or have the state of Israel and its military lay down their arms and submit to threats of violence rather than defend their people. What an outrage. I have no doubt he is repelled by the deaths of innocent civilians in Syria at the hands of the Syrian army, but expresses no qualms at what would follow to the Jews of Israel were the Arab armies or terrorists to enter a vanquished Israel.
Kristof attacks Israel for “burning bridges” with Turkey. I believe it is Turkey that has effectively declared war on Israel. Recently, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and Turkey’s prime minister Erdogan stated he will send Turkey’s navy to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, a blockade a U.N. commission has just said is legal under international law and intended to prevent the Hamas government in Gaza from bringing even more rockets and other arms from Iran into Gaza. So if the Israeli navy continues the blockade, and the Turkish navy seeks to break it, and there is a naval clash, clearly Kristof will blame Israel for protecting its people from attack, the first obligation of any government.
Kristof closes with his usual disingenuous “mea culpa,” saying, “Some of my Israeli friends will think I’m unfair and harsh, applying double standards by focusing on Israeli shortcomings while paying less attention to those of other countries in the region. Fair enough. I plead guilty. I apply higher standards to a close American ally like Israel that is a huge recipient of American aid.”
Does he care that the Palestinian Authority now includes Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, and receives millions in American aid? Does he care that Egypt which allowed the Israeli embassy to be sacked gets $2 billion in American aid? I don’t know what Turkey gets, if anything. But I do know that NATO’s expenses, and Turkey is part of NATO, are paid by the U.S. to the extent of 75 percent.
Frankly, I have no hesitation in calling Kristof by his rightful name: an enemy of Israel.
Edward I. Koch, who served as mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989, is a partner in the law firm of Bryan Cave.