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It's Simple:
Two Peoples, Two States

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Amos Oz, The Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2003

Der israelische Schriftsteller Amos Oz hat in Frankfurt den Friedenspreis der Geschwister Korn und Gerstenmann-Stiftung erhalten. Bundesaußenminister Joschka Fischer bezeichnete Oz bei seiner Laudatio als "einen der größten Schriftsteller Israels" und als "unermüdlichen Kämpfer für den Frieden". Die mit 40.000 Euro dotierte Auszeichnung wird alle zwei Jahre an Persönlichkeiten vergeben, die sich für den Frieden im Nahen Osten einsetzen.
[Rede von Amos Os (ra)] [
Tel Aviv, 11. Mai, Rabin-Platz]

For the first time in 100 years of conflict, the two peoples - the Israeli Jews and the Palestinian Arabs - are ahead of their leaders. The people know that the disputed land must be divided into two nation-states, while the leaders are being drawn into the peace process reluctantly.

The basic facts are actually very simple. A country that is roughly the size of Sicily is now inhabited by 5.5 million Jews and 3 million to 4 million Arabs. They cannot share the land - so they must divide it into two. The Czechs and the Slovaks did the same not very long ago without shedding any blood at all.

After three years of bloody Palestinian intifada and of bloody Israeli oppression, it has become clear to the majority of the Israelis that most of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza will have to be removed; otherwise there cannot be a viable state of Palestine. At the same time, more and more Palestinians realize now that the 1948 refugees will have to be resettled in Palestine, not in Israel; otherwise there will be no viable state of Israel.

This process of sobering up hurts. For both sides it means an injured self-image, a compromised sense of justice, shattered dreams and a heavy sense of loss. Both parties are going to feel as if they were amputated once the two-state solution is implemented.

This is the time for the rest of the world to offer both sides as much help, empathy and understanding as possible. This is the time for well-meaning governments and individuals to come forth with a mini-Marshall Plan in order to resettle the Palestinian refugees in the state of Palestine. It is also the time to offer Israel the security guarantees it will need in return for renouncing the occupied territories.

This is time for compassion, not for historical accounting and not for blaming. The photos out of Aqaba mean little. Neither Ariel Sharon nor Mahmoud Abbas is likely to become a Nelson Mandela. But whether they like it or not, it looks as if their sleeves are now caught in the cogwheels of the peace process. They are being pulled into it, kicking and screaming and trying to appease their fanatics back home. Yet it will be almost impossible for those two leaders to run away from the peace process now.

Let us not expect a sudden honeymoon between deadly enemies. Let us expect and encourage a painful divorce and a partition of the very small home into two even smaller apartments. The time is ripe.

Amos Oz is an Israeli novelist.

From the Common Ground News Service
hagalil.com 15-06-2003



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