One of Friedman’s points is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only a tiny part of the conflicts in the Middle East – most of the countries that have invaded Israel are not Palestinian, and some are not even Arab. Friedman identifies Tehran and its proxies (Hezbollah and others) as a more prevalent issue – Iran even funds Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group – suggesting that the Israeli-Palestinian issue is larger than just whether the Palestinians have their own territory. The many conflicts in the Mideast are driven by hatreds and ideologies going back millennia, and would still be there even if Israel never existed. Israel is only one small piece and solving their problem with the Palestinians is not going to immediately end all the conflicts.
While I largely agree with Friedman’s take, one thing he does not mention is the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian relations on other Arab countries that see Shiite Iran as a major threat and it being in their best interests to ally with Israel, but are held back by the ongoing tensions between Israel and Palestinian Arabs and Muslims. Even if the question is only one of narrative, it is still something that must be addressed by Israel and other nations that would seek greater stability in the Mideast.