Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Grossman: "not easy to look at ourselves"

Israel has squandered peace opportunities in the Middle East, says the author David Grossman. Now it's time to make an offer the Palestinians can't refuse. The excerpt below is from his hard-hitting speech, on November 4th. Grossman, a novelist and peace activist, spoke to a crowd of 100,000 Israelis at the eleventh Rabin Memorial ceremony, in Tel Aviv. (Translation by Haim Watzman; published in The Guardian and the New York Times.)

"This year, it is not easy to look at ourselves. We had a war. Israel flexed its huge military biceps, but at its back its reach proved all too short and brittle. We realised that our military might alone cannot, when push comes to shove, defend us. In particular, we discovered that Israel faces a profound crisis... When did we lose even the hope that we might some day be able to live different, better lives? More than that, how is it that we continue today to stand aside and watch, mesmerised, as madness and vulgarity, violence and racism take control of our home?"

The eloquent Grossman is a bellwether of doom. Less than 48 hours after he called for an immediate truce to the Lebanese war in August, his middle son Uri was killed minutes after his tank crossed the border to battle Hizbollah. And four days after this public plea to Prime Minister Olmert to reach out to Palestine, the world recoiled again because Israeli shells rained down on Beit Hanoun and killed 19 civilians, even though the IDF had officially concluded their Gaza offensive, Operation Autumn Clouds. Such a tragic blunder is bound to have consequences. Hamas is threatening to launch suicide attacks again in retribution. These had largely stopped after the election of the new Palestinian government.

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