Amos Oz

Ik ben geen grote bewonderaar van de Irsaelische schrijver Amos Oz, ik zeg het er maar even bij. Wel als schrijver, maar politiek gezien heeft hij het meermalen af laten weten. Onder andere ging hij ook mee in de absurde hype als zou Barak destijds de Palestijnen een genereus aanbod hebben gedaan. Hij had er ook en handje van om op oud-koloniale of neo-zionistische wijze de Palestijnen de les te lezen. Maar okee. Hier is hij in een interview, opgetekend door Adam Keller. Sluit een wapenstilstand met Hamas, zegt hij nu.

Amos Oz against Gaza invasion: `Ceasefire with Hamas`
Kol Israel radio
noted down [not verbatim] by Adam Keller
Feb. 12, 2008
Interview at the occasion of Amos Oz receiving the Dan David Prize
see also: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/953559.html

Oz: Israel must not invade Gaza. One day of invasion will cost more of Israeli casualties than seven years of Qassams. And also the invasion will not stop the Qassams. There were Qassam attacks also when the army was inside the Gaza Strip. And in addition there will be attacks on the occupying army, shootings, explosives, ambushes, suicide bombings.

Question: You say what we should not do, but what should we do to stop the Qassams?

Oz: A ceasefire with Hamas is possible. There is a political price to be paid, but the price of ceasefire is the smallest and the least lethal of all the alternatives we have.

Question: But how can we make ceasefire with a group which does not recognize Israel and seeks its destruction?

Oz: We had armistices for thirty years with Arab countries which did not recognize us, and declared their wish to destroy Israel, but the ceasefires worked.

Question: If it is possible, then why are our leaders not doing it?

Oz: Of course a leader has to choose between the alternatives. They know that ceasefire with Hamas will require a political price. I don`t know whether they realize that the price is smaller than what the other alternatives will exact from us.

Question: As a left-winger, are you not angry with the Palestinians for not making things better for us?

Oz: First of all I am angry that they did not make things better for themselves, for the mistakes of the Palestinian leadership, and for the voters who voted for Hamas. But, by the way, they were not the majority. Only 35% voted for Hamas. Only due to their twisted electoral system this was translated into a parliamentary majority. 65% of the Palestinians voted against Hamas. We should remember that.

Question: Is it not true that many supporters of the left-wing have moved to the center or even to the right-wing, because they feel that every concession of Israel is only answered by aggression and terrorism from the Palestinian side?

Oz: There is such a phenomenon, but I think much more significant is the move in the opposite direction. Olmert and Livni are now talking of two states for two peoples, like me and my friends talked twenty years ago and we were then isolated. Even Netanyahu and the other Likud leaders are saying things they would not have dreamed of saying 20 years ago.

Question: Do you have confidence in the government after the Winograd report?

Oz: The Winograd report was about whether the [2nd Lebanon] war was conducted well or badly, but I think the whole going to war was a mistake. When two soldiers were killed, and two others kidnapped that is a reason for a military operation of two or three days. It is not a reason for a full-scale war. But right now I don`t see anything better than the present government. If we have elections nobody knows where it will lead.

Question: For lack of a better alternative?

Oz: Yes.

Question: Whenever negotiations start, there start also pressures inside the government coalition. Lieberman has already withdrawn, and Shas is putting all kind of conditions and pressures. Where will this lead?

Oz: That is really a big problem. There is a majority of 70 Knesset Members who are willing to support a historical compromise with the Palestinians, I mean with Abu Mazen and his people, the P.L.O. But because of all kind of small-minded party considerations this majority is not always manifesting itself.

Question: Minister Meir Sheetrit proposed to respond the Qassams by totally wiping out a neighborhood in Gaza. He said `we are not talking to the Gazans in the language which they understand; we should talk to them Gazan and not Hebrew.`

Oz: This is a hysterical reaction. What Sheetrit mentioned is not talking Hebrew, and also not Gazan. It is the language of monsters.

Question: Do you really think with everything which happens that there is a chance for ceasefire – let alone peace – with our Palestian ian neighbors?

Oz: Yes, definitely, there is a very real chance for peace. The factor which is overlooked is that now the overwhelming majority of Israelis know what will be the solution, and also the overwhelming majority of Palestinians know it. Both sides know what the map will look like. The remaining differences are in the order of two kilometers here or there. What is mainly lacking is a brave leadership on both sides to implement what both sides know is the solution.

bz