Thomas Friedman: 'Netanyahu thinks he can fly'

'NY Times' columnist says US has resorted to bribing PM; says he is committed to peace, while refusing to halt settlement building for talks.

Thomas Friedman NYT (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Thomas Friedman NYT
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
For the second time in recent weeks, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman took a shot at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his statecraft. A few days prior, the Times wrote an editorial accusing Netanyahu of valuing his government coalition over peace. The Friedman article, entitled "I believe I can fly," equates several world politicians, firstly Netanyahu, to a man who jumps off the 80th floor of a building and thinks he is flying for 79 floors - until he hits the ground.
Friedman chided Netanyahu for "telling everyone how committed he is to peace with the Palestinians while refusing to halt settlement building as a prerequisite for negotiations."
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Almost mocking the effort that Netanyahu has exerted in order to not renew the construction freeze, Friedman said, "At a time when Israel already has 300,000 settlers in the West Bank, Bibi says he can't possibly take another pause in building to test" whether Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "can forge a safe two-state deal for Israel."
Noting with a hint of desperation and disappointment that the US has resorted to "trying to bribe Bibi to reverse his position," Friedman wrote that instead of taking the opportunity presented by pressure from Washington to test the sincerity of the Palestinians. He said, "Netanyahu toys with President Obama, makes Israel look like it wants land more than peace and risks never forging" a peace deal, a scenario which he concludes would lead to absorbing 2.5 million Palestinians and the end of a Jewish majority in Israel.