A poignant and powerful collection of essays and lectures focusing primarily on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Bestselling Israeli novelist (Fima, 1993) and essayist Oz pleas for moderation from both sides in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Mideast conflict, contends Oz, should not be viewed as a religious war or as an ethnic clash between two communities within one society. It should, instead, be treated as a dispute over real estate in which both parties have convincing claims. And the compromise that leaves no one completely happy, Oz ardently (and, perhaps, prophetically) insists, is a two-state solution. He fiercely condemns the extremists on both sides. This extremism is rooted in the inability of the Israeli and the Palestinian to see each other as individuals, rather than as shadows of their "former persecutors and oppressors.'' To the Arab, the Jew represents the European colonialist and imperialist. When the Jew views the Arab, he sees "Cossacks, dressed now in Arab robes and headclothes, come to continue the work of the pogrom-makers in previous generations.'' Oz cannot be accused of being either a self-hating Jew or a romantic apologist for murderous Arab terrorists. He regards the Palestine national movement as "one of the most extremist and uncompromising national movements of our times.'' Oz acknowledges that any conciliation between these two antagonists will not begin as a love affair; the opposite of war is not love, but peace. The rage and insecurity and frustration will not disappear overnight. Oz updates his older material with two 1993 pieces that see hope in the anticipated Oslo accords. Both sides will finally face the reality that peace is essential to the survival of both peoples, since neither one can successfully eliminate the other.
Though many of the ideas here have been aired in his recently published compilation of essays (Under the Blazing Light), Oz's lyrical prose continues to delight.