Israel Should Recognise Unilateral Palestinian State: Amos Oz
If Palestinians unilaterally declare a Palestinian state next month, Israel should be the first country to recognise it. That was the most challenging observation by Israeli novelist Amos Oz, speaking at the Ervin Graf Oration in Sydneylast night.
He added Israel should reserve the right to dispute the boundaries of the new nation.
What prospect did he see for peace? He pointed to what he called “a syndrome of fatigue and exhaustion” between Palestinians and Israelis. He said both are tired “and it is a blessed fatigue.”
Oz is a long term supporter of the peace movement in Israel.
His address was on fanaticism. He said it is a basic component of human nature, a bad gene. Osama bin Laden differs only in degree, in scale, from the fanaticism of someone who blows up abortion clinics in the United States. Fanatics lack imagination. They live without curiosity or humour which are the best antidotes to fanaticism. Another antidote to fanaticism is being able to accept “an open ended situation.”
He said comparing Israeli occupation of the West bank to apartheid is a flawed analogy. From his perspective both are evils. But they are different forms of evil. The Israeli occupation is not apartheid because it is not based on race but insecurity. He said to equate it with apartheid is laziness.
Oz views Israel’s moral standing with Palestinians, he says, sinking lower and lower. On the other hand the forthcoming Durban Conference will simply be a festival of anti-Jewish, anti-Israel fanaticism.
He concluded by quoting the wisdom of his grandmother who lectured young Amos on the need to avoid any prejudice towards Christians. She told him that Christians believed that the messiah has come and will come again. Jews believe the messiah will come. She said, so we just wait. If the messiah comes and says, “I am here again,” then the Jews apologise. Likewise for the Christians. If the messiah comes and says “this is my first time,” then they apologise to the Jews.
Just wait and we’ll see, she said.
That’s an intuitive tolerance. We’ll see, one way or another.
“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a tragic clash between right and right, and sometimes between wrong and wrong.”