Renowned American journalist and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman has long been known for his fascination with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His recent op-ed in The New York Times titled “Israel Is Testing Biden” is just another example of his preoccupation with the issue.
Friedman argues in his piece that Israel is taking advantage of the Biden administration’s preoccupation with domestic issues to push forward an agenda that is harmful to the peace prospects between Israelis and Palestinians. He cites the recent bombing of Gaza and the expansion of settlements in the West Bank as examples.
However, the focus on Israel seems unnecessary in the larger context of global issues. With the world facing a pandemic, climate change, and economic crises, it is worth asking whether a fixation on this one conflict is misplaced.
Furthermore, by reducing the entire conflict to one between Israel and the Palestinians, Friedman misses the involvement of various global actors. Regional and international players like the US, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have significant stakes in the matter, though they are not always consistently acknowledged.
It is also notable that Friedman’s concern for the future of Israel often seems to come at the expense of considering the Palestinian perspective. His writing almost exclusively focuses on Israel’s security needs, while barely addressing the decades-long struggle of Palestinians for self-determination and a state of their own.
It is not to say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not important or that it should not be covered by journalists. However, it is worth noting that there are many problems facing the world that require attention, and a hyper-focus on this one conflict may obscure other important issues.
While we all hope for peace and stability in the region, it is time for writers like Friedman to broaden their perspectives and take a more holistic approach to understanding the world’s problems. A nuanced view of the situation might help address the needs of all the parties involved in the long run.