Sunday, August 03, 2014

Amos Oz on the War in Israel and Gaza

Through the Facebook page of a friend and colleague who was born and raised in Switzerland I came across an interview, published and broadcast in German by Deutsche Welle, with the always wise and sincere Amos Oz. Here I found an English translation (transcription) of the article. Philip Gourevitch, in The New Yorker, calls Mr. Oz "that rarest thing in this war - an honest voice".

Some quotes:
...for Israel it is a lose-lose-situation. The more Israeli casualties, the better it is for Hamas. The more Palestinian civilian casualties, the better it is for Hamas. 
My suggestion is to approach Abu Mazen and to accept the terms - which the whole world knows - for a two-state-solution and coexistence between Israel and the West Bank: Two capitals in Jerusalem, a mutually agreed territorial modification, removal of most of the Jewish settlements from the West Bank. 
I believe the majority of the Palestinians are not in love with Israel, but they do accept with clenched teeth that the Israeli Jews are not going anywhere, just like the majority of Israeli Jews - unhappily and with clenched teeth - accept that the Palestinians are here to stay. This is a basis not for a honeymoon, but perhaps for a fair divorce just like the case of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. 
I have been a man of compromise all my life. But even a man of compromise cannot approach Hamas and say: 'Maybe we meet halfway and Israel only exists on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.'
A relative of mine who survived the Nazi Holocaust in Theresienstadt always reminded her children and her grandchildren that her life was saved in 1945 not by peace demonstrators with placards and flowers but by Soviet soldiers and submachine guns. 
Occupation is corrupting, even if it is unavoidable. Brutality, chauvinism, narrow-mindedness, xenophobia are the usual syndromes of conflict and occupation. 
 

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