Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Amos Oz in The Guardian

'We have done the gruntwork of peace'

For those who think that Israelis are just being paranoid about the Arab threat to Israel:

"...the document we signed, the Geneva Initiative, recognises, unequivocally, the right of the Jewish people to their own country, alongside the state of the Palestinian people.

"As far as I am aware, we have never [ie before now] heard from any representative Palestinian actor the words "the Jewish people," and we have certainly not heard any word of recognition of the Jewish people's national right to establish an independent state in the Land of Israel."

This is the first time in 60 years such statements have been made.

The sad fact is that for 60 years the fantasy of destroying Israel has been kept alive by Arab dictators, using the Jews as scapegoats for their own failures.

If the Israeli Left is to wrestle back political influence from Sharon then they need to be able to take to the Israeli public conclusive evidence of the Palestinian acceptance of Israel's right to exist. And hopefully the Geneva Initiative will do the trick.

A sad irony of the whole business is that it is possible that the Palestinians will have their own state precisely because Israel came into existence. Other ethic minorities from the defunct Ottoman Empire, such as the Kurds, have not do so well. Without the creation of Israel, the region of Palestine would have been absorbed into its Arab neighbours who did not show much sympathy for Palestinian nationalism when it was they who occupied the West Bank and Gaza.


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