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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Oz calls upon Israelis and Palestinians to come together

Published: November 20, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.

Israeli novelist Amos Oz spoke about the need for compromise between Israelis and Palestinians at Hassenfeld Conference Center Sunday night in a lecture sponsored by the Schusterman Center for Israeli Studies.

Oz, who grew up on a Kibbutz, a communal living environment based on utopian society in Israel, explained that “Israel was born out of a dream,” and said that though they may be reluctant, both Israelis and Palestinians need to put aside their differences to resolve the issues they are fighting over.

In his opinion, many Israelis and Palestinians know the eventual resolution of the conflict over their land will result in a two state solution.

“In my vocabulary, the word ‘compromise’ is synonymous with the word life,” Oz said.

Highlighting the argumentative nature of Israel, Oz said the diversity of opinion within the Jewish state makes Israel a diverse nation, despite what could be perceived as religious homogeny.

Oz explained that although there will be debate over a two-state solution, the very essence of Israel is about disagreement.

“It’s a civilization of doubt and argument…and it will prosper despite all of the terrible noises it’s making,” he said.

The current problems Israel faces, including the condemnation of the Israeli Defence Forces’ use of military force in the Goldstone report, are still solvable, Oz said.

Oz called on Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank, and voiced his opinion that the occupation was “deeply corrupting the Israeli society,” Oz said.

He added that the nature of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is “a clash between right and right and recently a clash between wrong and wrong.”

Acknowledging that such cooperation will be difficult Oz spoke about the need for a “painful compromise.”

“The Palestinians should renounce their dream of a greater Palestine just as the Israelis should renounce their dream of a greater Israel,” he said.

Oz felt the key to resolving a two-state solution will be a new form of leadership.

“The patient is reluctantly ready for the surgery,” he said. “All we need now is a bold and courageous leadership” he said.

“The appropriate leader will arise sooner or later,” Oz said, “history is full of surprises.”

Predicting plans for the future, Oz expects to see a division of East and West Jerusalem.

He also hopes for future cooperation between all people in Israel.

“One day there will be a Palestinian embassy in Israel and an Israeli embassy in Palestine,” said Oz.

Oz said one reason he loves his country so much is because of the ability he has to speak his opinion and argue with others over what he believes is right.

“At long last, I can conduct my disagreements with the next Jew at the top of my voice, and the hell with the neighbors. That’s independence for you,” he said. “Such a juxtaposition of loving without being able to stand someone is common in the best of families.”