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International Reflective Writing


David Grossman

Leading Israeli novelist David Grossman (b. 1954, Jerusalem) studied philosophy and drama at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and later worked as an editor and broadcaster at Israel Radio. Grossman has written seven novels, a play, a number of short stories and novellas, and a number of books for children and youth. He has also published several books of non-fiction, including interviews with Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. Among Grossman`s many literary awards: the Valumbrosa Prize (Italy), the Eliette von Karajan Prize (Austria), the Nelly Sachs Prize (1991), the Premio Grinzane and the Premio Mondelo for The Zig-Zag Kid (Italy, 1996), the Vittorio de Sica Prize (Italy), the Juliet Club Prize, the Marsh Award for Children`s Literature in Translation (UK, 1998), the Buxtehude Bulle (Germany, 2001), the Sapir Prize for Someone to Run With (2001), the Bialik Prize (2004), the Koret Jewish Book Award (USA, 2006), the Premio per la Pace e l`Azione Umanitaria 2006 (City of Rome/Italy), Onorificenza della Stella Solidarita Italiana 2007, Premio Ischia - International Award for Journalism 2007, the Geschwister Scholl Prize (Germany), the Emet Prize (Israel, 2007)and the Albatross Prize (Germany, 2009). He has also been awarded the Chevalier de l`Ordre des Arts et Belles Lettres (France, 1998) and an Honorary Doctorate by Florence University (2008). In 2007, his novels The Book of Internal Grammar and See Under: Love were named among the ten most important books since the creation of the State of Israel. His books have been translated into over 25 languages.

Uri, my dear son

As the Lebanon war raged in 2008, David Grossman, the celebrated Israeli writer, publicly urged his government to accept a ceasefire. Just days later, his soldier son was killed by one of Hizbollah's final anti-tank missiles. This is the eulogy he read at the funeral.

At 20 to three in the morning, between Saturday and Sunday, the doorbell rang. Over the intercom, they said they were from the army. For three days, every thought begins with: 'He/we won't.'

He won't come. We won't talk. We won't laugh. He won't be that kid with the ironic look in his eyes and the amazing sense of humour. He won't be that young person with understanding deeper than his years. There won't be that warm smile and healthy appetite. There won't be that rare combination of determination and gentleness. There won't be his common sense and wisdom. We won't sit down together to watch The Simpsons and Seinfeld, and we won't listen to Johnny Cash, and we won't feel the strong embrace. We won't see you going to talk to your brother, Yonatan, with excited hand movements and we won't see you hugging your sister, Ruthie, the love of your life.

Uri, my love. All your short life, we have all learned from you, from the strength and determination to go your own way. To go your own way even if there is no way you could succeed. We followed with amazement your struggle to get into the tank commanders' course. How you never compromised with your commanders, because you knew you would be a great commander. You were not satisfied to give less than you thought you could. And when you succeeded, I thought here's a man who knows his own abilities in such a simple and wise way. Here's a man who has no pretensions or arrogance, who isn't influenced by what others say about him, whose source of strength is internal.

From childhood, you were like that. A child who live in harmony with himself and those around him. A child who knew his place, and knew that he was loved, who recognised his limitations and strengths. And truly, from the moment you forced the army to make you a commander, it was clear what kind of commander and person you were. We hear today from your comrades and your subordinates about the commander and friend. About the person who got up before everyone else in order to organise everything and who went to sleep only after everyone else had. And yesterday, at midnight, I looked at our house which was quite a mess after the visits of hundreds of people who came to console us and I said to myself: 'Well, now we need Uri, to help us organise it again.'

You were the leftie of your battalion and you were respected for it, because you stood your ground, without giving up even one of your military assignments ...

You were a son and a friend to me and to Mummy. Our soul is tied to yours. You felt good in yourself and you were a good person to live with. I cannot even say out loud how much you were 'Someone to Run With'. Every furlough you would say: 'Dad, let's talk' and we would go, usually to a restaurant, and talk. You told me so much, Uri, and I felt proud that I was your confidante.

I won't say anything now about the war you were killed in. We, our family, have already lost in this war. The state of Israel will have its own reckoning ...

Uri was such an Israeli child; even his name was very Israeli and Hebrew. He was the essence of Israeli-ness as I would want it to be. An Israeli-ness that has almost been forgotten, that is something of a curiosity. And he was a person so full of values. That word has been so eroded and has become ridiculed in recent years. In our crazy, cruel and cynical world, it's not 'cool' to have values, or to be a humanist, or to be truly sensitive to the suffering of the other, even if that other is your enemy on the battlefield.

However, I learned from Uri that it is both possible and necessary to be all that. We have to guard ourselves, by defending ourselves both physically and morally. We have to guard ourselves from might and simplistic thinking, from the corruption that is in cynicism, from the pollution of the heart and the ill-treatment of humans, which are the biggest curse of those living in a disastrous region like ours. Uri simply had the courage to be himself, always and in all situations - to find his exact voice in every thing he said and did. That's what guarded him from the pollution and corruption and the diminishing of the soul.

'In the night between Saturday and Sunday, at 20 to three in the morning, our doorbell rang. The person said through the intercom that he was from the army, and I went down to open the door, and I thought to myself - that's it, life's over. But five hours later, when Michal and I went into Ruthie's room to wake her and tell her the terrible news, Ruthie, after first crying, said: 'But we will live, right? We will live and trek like before and I want to continue singing in a choir, and we will continue to laugh like always and I want to learn to play guitar.' And we hugged her and told her that we will live.'

We will derive our strength from Uri; he had enough for many years to come. Vitality, warmth and love radiated from him strongly, and that will shine on us even if the star that made it has been extinguished. Our love, we had a great honour to live with you. Thank you for every moment that you were ours.

Father and Mother, Yonatan and Ruthie.

Translated from the original Hebrew by Joseph Millis, world news editor of the Jewish Chronicle

Source: The Guardian:

Grossman's Speech at the Yitzhak Rabin Memorian June 11, 2006

The annual memorial ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin is the moment when we pause for a while to remember Rabin the man, the leader. And we also take a look at ourselves, at Israeli society, its leadership, the national mood, the state of the peace process, at ourselves as individuals in the face of national events.

It is not easy to take a look at ourselves this year. There was a war, and Israel flexed its massive military muscle, but also exposed Israel's fragility. We discovered that our military might ultimately cannot be the only guarantee of our existence. Primarily, we have found that the crisis Israel is experiencing is far deeper than we had feared, in almost every way.

I am speaking here tonight as a person whose love for the land is overwhelming and complex, and yet it is unequivocal, and as one whose continuous covenant with the land has turned his personal calamity into a covenant of blood.

I am totally secular, and yet in my eyes the establishment and the very existence of the State of Israel is a miracle of sorts that happened to us as a nation - a political, national, human miracle.

I do not forget this for a single moment. Even when many things in the reality of our lives enrage and depress me, even when the miracle is broken down to routine and wretchedness, to corruption and cynicism, even when reality seems like nothing but a poor parody of this miracle, I always remember. And with these feelings, I address you tonight.

"Behold land, for we hath squandered," wrote the poet Saul Tchernikovsky in Tel Aviv in 1938. He lamented the burial of our young again and again in the soil of the Land of Israel. The death of young people is a horrible, ghastly waste.

But no less dreadful is the sense that for many years, the State of Israel has been squandering, not only the lives of its sons, but also its miracle; that grand and rare opportunity that history bestowed upon it, the opportunity to establish here a state that is efficient, democratic, which abides by Jewish and universal values; a state that would be a national home and haven, but not only a haven, also a place that would offer a new meaning to Jewish existence; a state that holds as an integral and essential part of its Jewish identity and its Jewish ethos, the observance of full equality and respect for its non-Jewish citizens.

Look at what befell us. Look what befell the young, bold, passionate country we had here, and how, as if it had undergone a quickened ageing process, Israel lurched from infancy and youth to a perpetual state of gripe, weakness and sourness.

How did this happen? When did we lose even the hope that we would eventually be able to live a different, better life? Moreover, how do we continue to watch from the side as though hypnotized by the insanity, rudeness, violence and racism that has overtaken our home?

And I ask you: How could it be that a people with such powers of creativity, renewal and vivacity as ours, a people that knew how to rise from the ashes time and again, finds itself today, despite its great military might, at such a state of laxity and inanity, a state where it is the victim once more, but this time its own victim, of its anxieties, its short-sightedness.

One of the most difficult outcomes of the recent war is the heightened realization that at this time there is no king in Israel, that our leadership is hollow. Our military and political leadership is hollow. I am not even talking about the obvious blunders in running the war, of the collapse of the home front, nor of the large-scale and small-time corruption.

I am talking about the fact that the people leading Israel today are unable to connect Israelis to their identity. Certainly not with the healthy, vitalizing and productive areas of this identity, with those areas of identity and memory and fundamental values that would give us hope and strength, that would be the antidote to the waning of mutual trust, of the bonds to the land, that would give some meaning to the exhausting and despairing struggle for existence.

The fundamental characteristics of the current Israeli leadership are primarily anxiety and intimidation, of the charade of power, the wink of the dirty deal, of selling out our most prized possessions. In this sense they are not true leaders, certainly they are not the leaders of a people in such a complicated position that has lost the way it so desperately needs. Sometimes it seems that the sound box of their self-importance, of their memories of history, of their vision, of what they really care for, exist only in the miniscule space between two headlines of a newspaper or between two investigations by the attorney general.

Look at those who lead us. Not all of them, of course, but many among them. Behold their petrified, suspicious, sweaty conduct. The conduct of advocates and scoundrels. It is preposterous to expect to hear wisdom emerge from them, that some vision or even just an original, truly creative, bold and ingenuous idea would emanate from them.

When was the last time a prime minister formulated or took a step that could open up a new horizon for Israelis, for a better future? When did he initiate a social or cultural or ideological move, instead of merely reacting feverishly to moves forced upon him by others?

Mister Prime Minister, I am not saying these words out of feelings of rage or revenge. I have waited long enough to avoid responding on impulse. You will not be able to dismiss my words tonight by saying a grieving man cannot be judged. Certainly I am grieving, but I am more pained than angry. This country and what you and your friends are doing to it pains me.

Trust me, your success is important to me, because the future of all of us depends on our ability to act. Yitzhak Rabin took the road of peace with the Palestinians, not because he possessed great affection for them or their leaders. Even then, as you recall, common belief was that we had no partner and we had nothing to discuss with them.

Rabin decided to act, because he discerned very wisely that Israeli society would not be able to sustain itself endlessly in a state of an unresolved conflict. He realized long before many others that life in a climate of violence, occupation, terror, anxiety and hopelessness, extracts a price Israel cannot afford. This is all relevant today, even more so. We will soon talk about the partner that we do or do not have, but before that, let us take a look at ourselves.

We have been living in this struggle for more than 100 years. We, the citizens of this conflict, have been born into war and raised in it, and in a certain sense indoctrinated by it. Maybe this is why we sometimes think that this madness in which we live for over 100 years is the only real thing, the only life for us, and that we do not have the option or even the right to aspire for a different life.

By our sword we shall live and by our sword we shall die and the sword shall devour forever. Maybe this would explain the indifference with which we accept the utter failure of the peace process, a failure that has lasted for years and claims more and more victims.

This could explain also the lack of reaction by most of us to the harsh blow to democracy caused by the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as a senior minister with the support of the Labor Party - the appointment of a habitual pyromaniac as director of the nation's firefighters.

And these are partly the cause of Israel's quick descent into the heartless, essentially brutal treatment of its poor and suffering. This indifference to the fate of the hungry, the elderly, the sick and the disabled, all those who are weak, this equanimity of the State of Israel in the face of human trafficking or the appalling employment conditions of our foreign workers, which border on slavery, to the deeply ingrained institutionalized racism against the Arab minority.

When this takes place here so naturally, without shock, without protest, as though it were obvious, that we would never be able to get the wheel back on track, when all of this takes place, I begin to fear that even if peace were to arrive tomorrow, and even if we ever regained some normalcy, we may have lost our chance for full recovery.

The calamity that struck my family and myself with the falling of our son, Uri, does not grant me any additional rights in the public discourse, but I believe that the experience of facing death and the loss brings with it a sobriety and lucidity, at least regarding the distinction between the important and the unimportant, between the attainable and the unattainable.

Any reasonable person in Israel, and I will say in Palestine too, knows exactly the outline of a possible solution to the conflict between the two peoples. Any reasonable person here and over there knows deep in their heart the difference between dreams and the heart's desire, between what is possible and what is not possible by the conclusion of negotiations. Anyone who does not know, who refuses to acknowledge this, is already not a partner, be he Jew or Arab, is entrapped in his hermetic fanaticism, and is therefore not a partner.

Let us take a look at those who are meant to be our partners. The Palestinians have elected Hamas to lead them, Hamas who refuses to negotiate with us, refuses even to recognize us. What can be done in such a position? Keep strangling them more and more, keep mowing down hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are innocent civilians like us? Kill them and get killed for all eternity?

Turn to the Palestinians, Mr. Olmert, address them over the heads of Hamas, appeal to their moderates, those who like you and I oppose Hamas and its ways, turn to the Palestinian people, speak to their deep grief and wounds, acknowledge their ongoing suffering.

Nothing would be taken away from you or Israel's standing in future negotiations. Our hearts will only open up to one another slightly, and this has a tremendous power, the power of a force majeur. The power of simple human compassion, particularly in this a state of deadlock and dread. Just once, look at them not through the sights of a gun, and not behind a closed roadblock. You will see there a people that is tortured no less than us. An oppressed, occupied people bereft of hope.

Certainly, the Palestinians are also to blame for the impasse, certainly they played their role in the failure of the peace process. But take a look at them from a different perspective, not only at the radicals in their midst, not only at those who share interests with our own radicals. Take a look at the overwhelming majority of this miserable people, whose fate is entangled with our own, whether we like it or not.

Go to the Palestinians, Mr. Olmert, do not search all the time for reasons for not to talk to them. You backed down on the unilateral convergence, and that's a good thing, but do not leave a vacuum. It will be occupied instantly with violence, destruction. Talk to them, make them an offer their moderates can accept. They argue among themselves far more than we are shown in the media. Make them an offer that will force them to choose between accepting it or prefering to remain hostage to fanatical Islam.

Approach them with the bravest and most serious plan Israel can offer. With the offer than any reasonable Palestinian and Israeli knows is the boundary of their refusal and our concession. There is no time. Should you delay, in a short while we will look back with longing at the amateur Palestinian terror. We will hit our heads and yell at our failure to exercise all of our mental flexibility, all of the Israeli ingenuity to uproot our enemies from their self-entrapment. We have no choice and they have no choice. And a peace of no choice should be approached with the same determination and creativity as one approaches a war of no choice. And those who believe we do have a choice, or that time is on our side do not comprehend the deeply dangerous processes already in motion.

Maybe, Mr. Prime Minister, you need to be reminded, that if an Arab leader is sending a peace signal, be it the slightest and most hesitant, you must accept it, you must test immediately its sincerity and seriousness. You do not have the moral right not to respond.

You owe it to those whom you would ask to sacrifice their lives should another war break out. Therefore, if President Assad says that Syria wants peace, even if you don't believe him, and we are all suspicious of him, you must offer to meet him that same day.

Don't wait a single day. When you launched the last war you did not even wait one hour. You charged with full force, with the complete arsenal, with the full power of destruction. Why, when a glimmer of peace surfaces, must you reject it immediately, dissolve it? What have you got to lose? Are you suspicious of it? Go and offer him such terms that would expose his schemes. Offer him a peace process that would last over several years, and only at its conclusion, and provided he meets all the conditions and restrictions, will he get back the Golan. Commit him to a prolonged process, act so that his people also become aware of this possibility. Help the moderates, who must exist there as well. Try to shape reality. Not only serve as its collaborator. This is what you were elected to do.

Certainly, not all depends on our actions. There are major powers active in our region and in the world. Some, like Iran, like radical Islam, seek our doom and despite that, so much depends on what we do, on what we become.

Disagreements today between right and left are not that significant. The vast majority of Israel's citizens understand this already, and know what the outline for the resolution of the conflict would look like. Most of us understand, therefore, that the land would be divided, that a Palestinian state would be established.

Why, then, do we keep exhausting ourselves with the internal bickering that has gone on for 40 years? Why does our political leadership continue to reflect the position of the radicals and not that held by the majority of the public? It is better to reach national consensus before circumstances or God forbid another war force us to reach it. If we do it, we would save ourselves years of decline and error, years when we will cry time and again: "Behold land, for we hath squandered."

From where I stand right now, I beseech, I call on all those who listen, the young who came back from the war, who know they are the ones to be called upon to pay the price of the next war, on citizens, Jew and Arab, people on the right and the left, the secular, the religious, stop for a moment, take a look into the abyss. Think of how close we are to losing all that we have created here. Ask yourselves if this is not the time to get a grip, to break free of this paralysis, to finally claim the lives we deserve to live.

Translated by Orr Scharf  

An Evening with David Grossman

Gross Talks at the PEN International Writers' Festival

Amos Oz: The Gruntwork of Peace

The Palestinians and Israelis have been in the news the last few days, March 14-16, 2010, as there is an effort by the U.S. to help resume peace talks between the two.  Most people who listen to the reports about how efforts are progressing or coming to a halt, and who see the media, are possibly moved to a new level of despair.  Can peace ever be accomplished?  We have seen previous "talks" come and go.  Prizes have been awarded, declarations and accords made, but still no resolution.  In October 2003, nearly seven years ago, a group of Israeli and Palestinians entered into negotiations which are called the Geneva Accord.  One of the participants in this dialogue was Amos Oz, one of Israel's leading novelists and a founder of the Peace Now Movement.  Following the Accords, Oz wrote an editorial for London's Guardianentitled, "We Have Done the Gruntwork of Peace."   Though the Geneva Accord was not signed by any government or institution, and probably is not acceptable to a large percentage of people in either group, the document is still important for the work it accomplished. Oz wrote about the Accord:

"The goal of the exercise is solely to present the Israeli and Palestinian publics with a window through which they can view a different landscape - no more car bombs and suicide bombers and occupation and oppression and expropriation, no more endless war and hatred. Instead, here is a detailed, cautious solution that does not circumvent any one of the fundamental questions." 

Perhaps the document should be explored again as an introduction to the gruntwork that has already been accomplished.  Visit Reflective Writings and the Arts,, to read a synopsis of the Geneva Accord.

'We have done the gruntwork of peace'

 By Amos Oz

The Guardian (UK), Friday October 17, 2003  

I went to the Israeli-Palestinian conference in Jordan in a sceptical frame of mind. I estimated that, as so often in the past, we might succeed in drafting a joint declaration of principles about the need to make peace, to halt terror, to end the occupation and oppression, to mutually recognise each other's rights, and to live as neighbours in two states for two peoples.

We have done all that many times before, at all kinds of conferences and gatherings and with agreements and public statements and what have you. At many points in the past 10 years we have been in striking distance of peace, only to slide again into the abyss of violence and despair.

The same old points of dispute would, I feared, trip us up again: "the right of return" or a solution to the refugee problem? "Return to the 1967 borders" or a logical map that also takes the present into account, and not just history? Open and explicit recognition of the national rights of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples to live each in its own country, or just some equivocating platitude about "peaceful coexistence"? Explicit Palestinian assent to finally and absolutely renounce any additional future claims, or "black holes" that would permit an eventual renewal of conflict and violence?

In previous agreements, including the Oslo agreement, the two sides were very careful not to get caught in the "radioactive core" of the conflict. Refugees, Jerusalem, end of the conflict, permanent borders - all these minefields were marked off by white ribbons and their resolution put off to a better future. The Camp David conference collapsed, after all, the minute it trod on those mines.
A two-family house, not a double bed

On the first evening, the members of the two groups meet for an opening talk. It is a few days after the murder of families and children at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa, a few hours after the killing of several innocent Palestinians in Rafiah, children also among them. A strange ambience pervades the room. Here and there someone tries to crack a joke, perhaps in order to mask the mixture of emotion, resentment, suspicion, and goodwill.

Colonel Shaul Arieli, former commander of the Israel Defence Forces in the Gaza Strip, sits facing Samir Rantisi, a cousin of Hamas leader Abd al-Aziz Rantisi. The son of the late Faisal Husseini, Abd al-Qader al- Husseini (named after his grandfather, who in my childhood was referred to as the commander of the Arab gangs, and who was killed in 1948 in a battle with Israeli forces) sits facing Brigadier General Shlomo Brom, a former deputy commander of the Israeli army's strategic planning division. Next to David Kimche, formerly senior Mossad official and director-general of Israel's foreign ministry, sits Fares Kadura, a leader of the Tanzim, a Palestinian militant guerrilla group.
Through the window, beyond the Dead Sea, we can see the small cluster of lights that marks Kibbutz Kalia, which the Geneva document would transfer to Palestinian control. We also see the large dome of lights marking Ma'aleh Adumim, the Jerusalem suburb along the road to Jericho that, according to the same document, would become an inalienable part of the State of Israel.

We talk and debate (in fluent Hebrew) until after midnight with Hisham Abd al-Raziq, who spent 21 years - half his life - in Israeli prisons. Now he serves as the country's minister for prisoners' affairs. He is almost certainly the world's only cabinet minister for prisoners' affairs. But our own minister-prisoner, Natan Scharansky, is apparently the only person in the entire world who bears the title "minister for diaspora affairs". Some day, Palestine will most likely have a minister for diaspora affairs instead of a minister for prisoners' affairs.

There is a certain intimacy at such meetings: the Israelis and Palestinians are enemies, but not strangers. The Swiss observer at the conference was certainly astonished to see the frequent switches that took place here, in the rooms and in the corridors, between anger and back-slapping and between jabs as sharp as slivers of glass and simultaneous outbursts of laughter. (Nervous but liberating laughter was brought on by unintentional double-entendres, such as when an Israeli said, "Could I detain you for a moment?" and when a Palestinian said "I'll blow up the meeting on this point.")

When the day comes to sit down with the Syrians, faces will be rigid and stern on both sides of the negotiating table. So the Palestinians are, they say, with the Saudis. But here, in the hotel on the Dead Sea shore (Israeli Knesset member Chaim Oron and former Palestinian cabinet minister Yasir Abd-Rabbo walk around in sandals and shorts) we are more like a long-married couple in their divorce attorney's waiting room. They and we can joke together, shout, mock, accuse, interrupt, place a hand on a shoulder or waist, throw invective at each other, and once or twice even shed a tear.

Because we and they have experienced 36 years of intimacy. Yes, a violent, bitter, warped intimacy, but intimacy, because only they and we, not the Jordanians and not the Egyptians and certainly not the Swiss, know exactly what a roadblock looks like and what a car-bomb sounds like and exactly what the extremists on both sides will say about us. Because since the Six Day War, we are as close to the Palestinians as a jailer is to the prisoner handcuffed to him. A jailer cuffing his wrist to that of a prisoner for an hour or two is a matter of routine. But a jailer who cuffs himself to his prisoner for 36 long years is himself no longer a free man. The occupation has also robbed us of freedom.
This conference was not meant to inaugurate a honeymoon between the two nations. Quite the opposite - it was aimed at, finally, attenuating this warped intimacy. At drafting a fair divorce agreement. A painful, complicated divorce, but also one that unlocks the handcuffs. They will live in their home and we will live in ours. The Land of Israel will no longer be a prison, or a double bed. It will be a two-family house. The handcuffed link between the jailer and his prisoner will become a connection between neighbours who share a stairwell.

A common memorial

Nabil Qasis, a former president of Bir-Zeit University and the Palestinian Authority's minister of planning, is a polite, introverted, melancholy man. He is also a tough negotiator. He is perhaps the only member of the Palestinian group who has no inclination to jest or trade mild jabs with the Israelis. He stops me by the bathroom door to say: "Try, please, to understand: for me, giving up the right of return to the cities and villages we lost in 1948 is to change my identity from here on out."

I really do "try to understand". What the words mean is that Qasis's identity is conditional on the eradication of my identity.

Afterwards, during a discussion in the meeting room, Nabil Qasis raises his voice and demands that the word "return" appear in the document. In exchange, he and his associates will consent to the word being accompanied by reservations. Avraham Burg, a religious Labor member of the Knesset and its former speaker, also raises his voice. He, too, is angry: let Nabil Qasis give up part of his national identity just as I, Avraham Burg, hereby relinquish no less than a part of my religious faith, inasmuch as I am prepared to agree, with a broken heart, to Palestinian sovereignty on the Temple Mount.

For my part, I say that as far as I'm concerned, "return" is a code name for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of two Palestinian states on its ruins. If there's return, there's no agreement. Furthermore, I will be a party only to a document that contains explicit recognition of the Jewish people's national right to their own country.
This was one of any number of difficult moments of crisis during the conference. In the end, neither the term "right of return" nor the word "return" appear anywhere in the document. It speaks of a comprehensive solution of the entire Palestinian refugee problem, outside the borders of the State of Israel. Moreover, the document we signed, the Geneva Initiative, recognises, unequivocally, the right of the Jewish people to their own country, alongside the state of the Palestinian people.

As far as I am aware, we have never heard from any representative Palestinian actor the words "the Jewish people," and we have certainly not heard any word of recognition of the Jewish people's national right to establish an independent state in the Land of Israel.

At 2.30am, over the 15th cup of coffee, in a break between argument and drafting and between discussion and bargaining, I tell Yasir Abd-Rabbo and several of his associates: some day we will have to erect a joint memorial to horrible folly, yours and ours. After all, you could have been a free people 55 years ago, five or six wars ago, tens of thousands of dead ago - our dead and your dead - had you signed a document similar to this one in 1948. And we Israelis could have long ago lived in peace and security had we offered the Palestinian people in 1967 what this document offers them now. Had we not been inebriated with victory after the conquests of the Six Day War.
We'll even bear Sharon on our shoulders

There is no point at all to the hysteria that the document's opponents are now encouraging. Its authors know very well that Sharon and his cabinet are the legal government of Israel. They also knew that their initiative, which is the fruit of an intense series of meetings between the parties, conducted in strict secrecy during a period of two years, is no more than an exercise.

The goal of the exercise is solely to present the Israeli and Palestinian publics with a window through which they can view a different landscape - no more car bombs and suicide bombers and occupation and oppression and expropriation, no more endless war and hatred. Instead, here is a detailed, cautious solution that does not circumvent any one of the fundamental questions.

Its fundamental principle is: we end the occupation and the Palestinians end their war against Israel. We give up the dream of Greater Israel and they give up the dream of Greater Palestine. We surrender sovereignty in parts of the Land of Israel where our hearts lie, and they do the same. The problem of the 1948 refugees, which is really the heart of our national security predicament, is resolved comprehensively, completely, and absolutely outside the borders of the State of Israel and with broad international assistance.

If this initiative is put into action, not a single Palestinian refugee camp, afflicted with despair, neglect, hatred, and fanaticism, will remain in the Middle East. In the document we have in hand, the Palestinian side accepts contractually, finally, and irrevocably that it does not have and will never have any future claims against Israel.
At the end of the conference, after the signing of the Geneva initiative, a representative of the Tanzim told us that we now perhaps see on the horizon the end of the 100-year war between the Jews and the Palestinians. It will be replaced, he said, by a bitter struggle between those on both sides who promote compromise and peace, and a fanatical coalition of Israeli and Palestinian extremists.

That struggle is now in full force. Sharon opened it even before the Geneva initiative was published, and the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad rushed to support him, using the very same vocabulary of vituperation.
What does the Geneva initiative document not have? It has no teeth. It is no more than 50 pages of paper. But if the people on both sides accept it, tomorrow or the day after, they will find that the gruntwork of making peace has already been done. Almost to the last detail. If Sharon and Arafat want to use this paper as a basis for an agreement, its authors will not insist on their copyright. What if Sharon presents a different, better, more intricate, more patriotic plan that is also accepted by the other side? Let him do it. We'll congratulate him. Even though Sharon, as everyone knows, is a weighty personage, my friends and I will bear him on our shoulders.

(c) Amos Oz 2003. Translated by Haim Watzman.
Guardian Unlimited (c) Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003


Israeli opposition leaders, led by Yahad (then Shachar)  movement leader Yossi Beilin and Palestinians led by Yasser Abd-Rabbo, negotiated a new draft agreement, that would supposedly replace the Oslo accords as the basis for Israeli-Palestinian peace. The draft document was  finalized, and a ceremony marking the agreement was conducted in Jordan October 12, though the text has not yet been released and the document was not signed. Yossi Beilin had negotiated an analogous draft document with Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) in 1995 when he was working for then Israel Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

The document is incomplete and is missing several appendices that are still in the process of negotiation. The key innovations of the agreement:

Palestinians give up Right of Return of Palestinian refugees

Israel gives up sovereignty over the Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif, and evacuates Ariel, Efrat, Kiryat Arba, Ofra, Elon Moreh, Bet El, Eli  Har Homa, the Hebron settlement and many others.

Access to the Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif would be regulated at the discretion of the Muslim Waqf committee as at present.

Israel gets to keep the wailing wall, the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus and the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem, as well as Ma'aleh Edumim and the Gush Etzion settlement block and settlements around East Jerusalem.

The implementation of the accord will be overseen by an international committee, which would also ensure access to holy places,  and security will be the responsibility of a multinational force.

Under the agreement about half of the 220,000  Jewish settlers in the West Bank would have to evacuate their homes while the other half live in settlements that would be incorporated into Israel. The agreement makes no provisions whatever for Israeli Arabs living in portions of Jerusalem that will be given to the Palestinian authority.

The Geneva Accord apparently intends to say that Palestinian refugees will be compensated and will be resettled in Palestine or other countries, with only a few coming to live in Israel. A specific stipulation states that the number of refugees returning to Israel will be determined by Israel alone. On the other hand, the document refers to UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and UN Security Council resolution 242. Palestinians believe that Resolution 194 gives refugees the right to return to Israel if they so chose. Some Palestinian negotiators immediately denied that the document gives up right of return. Eventually most Palestinian organizations condemned the Geneva Accord for giving up right of return. Israel government figures and especially PM Ariel Sharon were quick to condemn the document, and even former Labor  party PM Ehud Barak heaped scorn on it. Yasser Arafat and Fatah Tanzim leadership cautiously welcomed the document.

Opinion polls showed that 20 to 50% of Palestinians and Israelis approved of the accord, depending on who asked the questions and how they were asked. Israeli Jews objected to losing sovereignty over the temple mount, excessive (in their view) territorial concessions, and ambiguous provisions concerning right of return for Palestinian refugees. Jews fear that if large numbers of refugees are allowed into Israel, they will constitute a majority within a short time because of higher Palestinian birth rate, and would put an end to Israel as a homeland as a Jewish people. Palestinian refugees insist on the right to return to the homes they abandoned or were forced to flee in 1948. Many have kept keys to their houses, though the houses themselves no longer exist. Israeli Jews have also raised the issue of compensation for over 600,000 Jews who were forced to flee Arab countries and lost their property when the State of Israel was created.

The Israeli government slammed the accords because they conceded much more than the government is willing to concede, and because they attempted to leapfrog the roadmap process,  which was not supposed to discuss final status until a much later phase.

Yossi Beilin is a very unpopular figure among large segments of the Israeli population, who were unhappy that he had gone over the heads of the elected government to conclude an agreement. Palestinians objected to giving up the Right of Return, and those, like Hamas, who who do not recognize Israel at all, objected to recognizing Israel as a separate Jewish state.

The negotiating teams do not represent their governments and the document is not a peace treaty that would be binding on any government. It is a proposal for a solution that has been worked out by both sides in the hope that the ideas will become part of the political mainstream in each society. As such it is an important milestone that has generated a great deal of discussion, and attracted the attention of the US Department of State. US Secretary of State Colin Powell met with the negotiators as did UN Secretary General Annan, and it was decided to follow up on progress in implementing this document.

Following the release of the Geneva Accord in December, Yossi Beilin's Shahar movement was merged with the Meretz party to form a new party called Yahad. Yahad adopted the Geneva accord as the basis of its platform regarding the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israel Labor Party also adopted features of the accord, though Labor party leaders objected to the accord itself. Perhaps stimulated by the Geneva Accord, PM Ariel Sharon announced a unilateral "solution" that Israel would adopt if there was no further progress in implementing the roadmap.

Right wing Zionist commentators have characterized the Israeli signers as "leftist extremists." One article averred that Yossi Beilin, an admirer of Reaganomics, is a "Stalinist," but the list of participants includes people from the Israeli center and left and a Likud member of Knesset (parliament). Likewise, the Palestinians present were representative of the mainstream of Palestinian political life.

Following were some of the persons who participated in the meeting and who signed the cover letter accompanying the release of the accord:

 Palestinian participants: 

Yasser Abed-Rabbo, former Minister of Information and Culture;Prisoners Affairs Minister Hisham Abd-el Razek; Nabil Qassis. former Minister of Tourism; Qadoura Fares and Mohamed Horani, members of the PLC associated with the Fatah/Tanzim movement; Ghadi Jarei, member of the Prisoners Committee and Fatah member; General Zoheir Manasra, former governor of Jenin and head of Preventative Security in the West Bank; Samih al-Abed; Bashar Jum’a;  Dr. Nazmi Shuabi; Gheith al-Omri; Jamal Zakut;   Nazmi Jub’a.

 Israeli participants: 

Yossi Beilin, former Justice Minister; Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, former IDF Chief of Staff and head of the Center party; Member of Knesset (Labor) and former Labor party leader Amram Mitzna; Member of Knesset (Labor) and former Speaker of the Knesset Avraham Burg; Brigadier General (res.) Giora Inbar, a former division commander; Brigadier General (res.) Gideon Sheffer, former director of the IDF Personnel Branch and deputy director of the National Security Council; Brigadier General (res.) Shlomo Brom, former head of the strategy staff; Colonel (res.) Shaul Arieli;  Former Minister of Immigrant Absorption and Member of Knesset (Labor) Yuli Tamir; Member of Knesset (Meretz) and former Minister of Agriculture Haim Oron; Member of Knesset (Meretz) and former Minister of Education Yossi Sarid; Professor Aryeh Arnon (a leader of Peace Now); former Member of Knesset (Likud) Nehama Ronen; authors Amos Oz, David Grossman, and Zvia Greenfield; Dr. Menachem Klein; and Yoram Gabay.

Dahlia Ravikovitch

Dahlia Ravikovitch (1936-2005), one of the great Hebrew poets of our time -- indeed, many believe, the greatest Hebrew woman poet of all time -- was widely honored for her artistry and admired for her courage as a peace activist. Power and powerlessness is her defining subject: the devastating consequences of unequal power relations for the individual and for society, the self in a state of crisis refracting the state of the nation. Her early work articulates the asymmetries of power in poems about fathers and daughters, men and women, kings and their subjects. The later work focusses more intently on the precarious position of women and, with increasing directness, the plight of Palestinians under the Occupation. A raw openness to pain, her own pain and that of others, hurts her into poetry, as Auden famously said of Yeats.

The last twenty-five years of her life mark the crowning achievement of Ravikovitch’s poetic project—the period when the private and the public merge with extraordinary expressive force in her work. Now she is haunted by the inseparability of concerns with war, woman, and child. She explores the parallels between the plight of the Palestinians, the suffering of Jews in the diaspora, and the constraints on women in patriarchal society. Her heightened focus on abuse is accompanied by a keen awareness of the moral responsibility of the writer. It is notoriously difficult to write political poetry without lapsing into harangue. Ravikovitch meets this challenge head-on by situating the protest in the crosscurrents of her own conflicted life, expressing her own sense of guilt and complicity—a strategy that enables the wary reader to hear her out.

Her fragile health and reclusiveness did not deter Ravikovitch from becoming deeply involved in the cause of Palestinian human rights. She often joined demonstrations against forced evacuations, land confiscation and the mistreatment of women and children in the West Bank. She frequently spoke out on television and in print, condemning the messianic nationalist settlers, and didn’t hesitate to confront Israel’s leaders directly. One of her targets was the abuse of language in the political realm. Such activism required no small measure of courage. “Like deep-sea divers,” she wrote, “most poets lead a high-risk life because they are compelled to listen with such scrupulous attention to the very essence of words.” Her standing as a beloved poet laureate of sorts allowed her protest to carry some weight with the Israeli public. Still, she was frank about the reception of her political poems in Israel: “There has been a lot of protest,” she told us, “because those poems seem to some readers like an admission of guilt, but I’m happy with them. I want to do something. I can't stand my impotence.” In a 2004 television interview she elaborated: “Because I hold an Israeli passport, I have a share in all the wrongs that are done to the Palestinians. . . . I want to be able to say that I did all I could to prevent the bloodshed.”

Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld

The Fruit of the Land

a farewell song to the good old days

You asked if we've got enough cannons
They laughed and said: More than enough
and we've got new improved anti-tank missiles
and bunker busters to penetrate
double-slab reinforced concrete
and we've got crates of napalm and crates of explosives
unlimited quantities, cornucopias,
a feast for the soul, like some finely seasoned delicacy
and above all, that secret weapon,
the one we can't talk about.
Calm down, man,
the Intell Officer and the CO
and the Chief of Police
who's also a colonel in that hush-hush commando unit
are all primed for the order: Go!
and everything shined-up like the skin of a snake
and we've got chocolate wafers on every base
and grape juice and Tempo soda
and that's why we won't give in to terror
we will not fold in the face of violence
we will never fold, no matter what
with our heavy-duty billy clubs.
God who has chosen us from all the nations
comforteth with apples
the fighting arm of the IDF
and the iron boxes and the crates of fresh explosives
and we've got cluster bombs too,
though of course that's off the record.
Serve us bourekas and cake, O woman of the house
for we were slaves in the land of Egypt
but never again
and blot out the remembrance of Amalek
if you can track him down, and if you seek him in vain,
Blessed be the tiny match
that a soldier in some crack unit will suddenly strike
and set off the whole bloody mess.

Hovering at a Low Altitude

I am not here. 
I am on those craggy eastern hills 
streaked with ice 
where grass doesn ’t grow 
and a sweeping shadow overruns the slope. 
A little shepherd girl 
with a herd of goats, 
black goats,
emerges suddenly
from an unseen tent.
She won’t live out the day, that girl,
in the pasture.

I am not here.
Inside the gaping mouth of the mountain 
a red globe flares, 
not yet a sun. 
A lesion of frost, flushed and sickly, 
revolves in that maw.

And the little one rose so early
to go to the pasture. 
She doesn’t walk with neck outstretched 
and wanton glances. 
She doesn’t paint her eyes with kohl. 
She doesn’t ask, Whence cometh my help.

I am not here. 
I’ve been in the mountains many days now. 
The light will not scorch me. 
The frost cannot touch me.
Nothing can amaze me now. 
I’ve seen worse things in my life.

I tuck my dress tight around my legs and hover 
very close to the ground. 
What ever was she thinking, that girl? 
Wild to look at, unwashed. 
For a moment she crouches down. 
Her cheeks soft silk, 
frostbite on the back of her hand. 
She seems distracted, but no,
in fact she’s alert. 
She still has a few hours left. 
But that’s hardly the object of my meditations. 
My thoughts, soft as down, cushion me comfortably. 
I’ve found a very simple method, 
not so much as a foot-breadth on land 
and not flying, either— 
hovering at a low altitude.

But as day tends toward noon, 
many hours 
after sunrise, 
that man makes his way up the mountain. 
He looks innocent enough. 
The girl is right there, near him, 
not another soul around. 
And if she runs for cover, or cries out— 
there’s no place to hide in the mountains.

I am not here. 
I’m above those savage mountain ranges 
in the farthest reaches of the East. 
No need to elaborate. 
With a single hurling thrust one can hover 
and whirl about with the speed of the wind. 
Can make a getaway and persuade myself: 
I haven’t seen a thing. 
And the little one, her eyes start from their sockets, 
her palate is dry as a potsherd, 
when a hard hand grasps her hair, gripping her 
without a shred of pity.

Title, Hovering at a Low Altitude. Israeli army language to describe helicopter patrols. “To hover” (le-rachef) is also slang for “to stay cool, dissociated from the political situation.”

Lines 21-3, neck outstretched . . . wanton glances . . . paint her eyes. Negating Isa. 3:16 ff., Jer. 4:30, Ezek. 23:40, the prophets' denunciations of Zion as a whoring woman.

Line 24, Whence cometh my help. Negating Psalm 121:1-2, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills. From whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the Lord.”

Line 43, foot-breadth (Heb. midrakh kaf-regel). Deut. 2:4-5, God enjoining the people of Israel: “You are crossing into the territory of your brothers the sons of Esau, who dwell in Seir. . . . Do not provoke them, for I shall not give you of their land, not so much as a foot-breadth” (literal translation).

Line 59, hurling. Isa. 22:17-18, lit. “Behold, the Lord will hurl you away. . . ; there you will die.”

The Poetics of Applying “Moderate Physical Pressure”

dedicated to those who labor in the cause

Not to take any of it by force 
one should never take anything by force. 
One must always come carefully from behind 
quickly cover the eyes of the man 
and ask: Don’t you recognize my voice? 
How can it be you don’t know my name? 
Surely you must be jesting now, 
what a subtle sense of humor you have 
(the sweat begins to bead on his brow). 
You’re the father of my daughter, isn’t that so? 
She just turned seven years old this spring 
(here I begin to tread on his toes). 
Perhaps by now you’ve recalled my name 
(with a blade to the nape, I part his skin). 
The man cries and falls on all fours 
but I don’t release my hold on his eyes. 
With his eyes blinded, he’s got to guess
my name and learn about his daughter’s birth 
that I made up just as I opened my mouth.
The man writhes in the dust and cries, 
blood runs down his neck, his eyes are inflamed. 
Genteel as I am, and oh so well-bred, 
I do not injure his testicles. 
His mouth contorts in the effort to guess 
my name in a flash of illumination. 
Sigalit, he tells me in a phony voice, 
I have never forgotten you, Sigalit. 
Now's when I bash his head to the ground; 
there’s no doubt the man deliberately lies, 
his only wish is to save his own skin. 
With a builder’s spike I’ll chisel on his skin: 
“Keep thee ever far from a lie.” 
Then I’ll lay him down on the sand to bleed; 
by now my rage exceeds every bound. 
How debased and despised was that man in my eyes 
when he kept trying to guess my name. 
But I did not take anything by force 
one should never take anything by force.

Title, “moderate physical pressure” (Heb. lachatz fizi matun). The language of the Israeli Supreme Court, establishing what is permissible in interrogating Palestinian detainees. The expression is generally used as a euphemism for “torture.”

Line 32, Keep thee ever far. Exod. 23:7.

A Mother Walks Around

A mother walks around with a child dead in her belly.
This child hasn't been born yet.
When his time comes the dead child will be born
head first, then belly and buttocks
and he won't wave his arms about or cry his first cry
and they won't slap his bottom
won't put drops in his eyes
won't swaddle him
after washing the body.
He will not resemble a living child.
His mother will not be calm and proud after giving birth
and she won't be troubled about his future,
won't worry how in the world to support him
and does she have enough milk
enough clothing
and how will she fit a cradle into the room.
The child is a perfect tsaddik already,
unmade ere he was ever made.
And he'll have his own little grave at the edge of the cemetery
and a little memorial day
and there won't be much to remember him by.
These are the chronicles of the child
who was killed in his mother's belly
in the month of January, in the year 1988,
"under circumstances relating to state security."

Abraham B. Yehoshua

Avraham ("Bulli") Yehoshua was born to a fifth-generation Jerusalem family of Sephardi origin. His father, Yaakov Yehoshua, was a scholar and author specializing in the history of Jerusalem. His mother, Malka Rosilio, immigrated from Morocco in 1932. Yehoshua served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army from 1954 to 1957. He attended Gymnasia Rehavia. After studying literature and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he began teaching. He lived in Jerusalem's Neve Sha'anan neighborhood.

From 1963 to 1967 Yehoshua lived and taught in Paris and served as the General Secretary of the World Union of Jewish Students. Since 1972, he has taught Comparative and Hebrew Literature at the University of Haifa, where he holds the rank of Full Professor.  In 1975 he was a writer-in-residence at St. Cross College, Oxford. He has also been a visiting professor at Harvard (1977) the University of Chicago (1988, 1997, 2000) and Princeton (1992).

From the end of his military service, Yehoshua began to publish fiction. His first book of stories, "Mot Hazaken" (The Death of the Old Man) was published in 1962. He became a notable figure in the "new wave" generation of Israeli writers who differed from earlier writers in their focus on the individual and interpersonal rather than the group. Yehoshua names Franz Kafka, Shmuel Yosef Agnon, and William Faulkner as formative influences. Harold Bloom compared Yehoshua to Faulkner in an article in the New York Times and also mentions him in his book The Western Canon.

Yehoshua is the author of nine novels (for a complete list see below), three books of short stories, four plays, and four collections of essays, most recently "Ahizat Moledet" (Homeland Lesson), a book of reflections on identity and literature. His most acclaimed novel, Mr Mani, is a multigenerational look at Jewish identity and Israel through five conversations over the span of a century. It was adopted for television as a five-part series by director Ram Loevy. His most recent novel, Friendly Fire,explores the nature of Israeli familial relationships.  In a drama that moves back and forth between Israel and Tanzania, Yehoshua explores personal grief and bitterness. His works have been published in translation in 28 countries, and many have been adapted for film, television, theatre, and opera.


Yehoshua's A Woman in Jerusalem, deals with what he calls Israel's repression of its civilian deaths. Unlike the death of a soldier, he says, his countrymen don't know how to mourn the deaths of those killed while simply drinking coffee or riding a bus. Yehoshua focuses on this problem by telling the story of a woman who lies unclaimed in a morgue and the personnel manager who takes responsibility for and ultimately falls in love with her.

But Yehoshua says his message doesn't only apply to Israeli deaths.

"This is in a certain way the universal sentiment of this anonymous death in our streets — and how we can relate ourselves to this and take our identification and responsibility," Yehoshua says.

Excerpt: 'A Woman in Jerusalem'


Even though the manager of the human resources division had not sought such a mission, now, in the softly radiant morning, he grasped its unexpected significance. The minute the extraordinary request of the old woman who stood in her monk's robe by the dying fire was translated and explained to him, he felt a sudden lifting of his spirits, and Jerusalem, the shabby, suffering city he had left just a week ago, was once more bathed in a glow of importance, as it had been in his childhood.

And yet the origins of his unusual mission lay in a simple clerical error brought to the company's attention by the editor of a local Jerusalem weekly, an error that could have been dealt with by any reasonable excuse and brief apology. However, fearing that such an apology — which might indeed have laid the matter to rest — would be deemed inadequate, the stubborn eighty-seven-year-old owner of the company had demanded a more tangible expression of regret from himself and his staff, a clearly defined gesture such as the one that had resulted in this journey to a distant land.

What had upset the old man so? Where had the almost religious impulse that drove him come from? Could it have been inspired by the grim times that the country, and above all Jerusalem, were going through, which he had weathered unharmed; so that his financial success, as other businesses foundered, called for vigilance in warding off the public criticism that now, ironically, was about to be aired in newsprint of which he himself was the supplier? Not that the reporter whose scathing feature article would break the story — a political radical and eternal doctoral candidate with the restraint of a bull in this intimate china shop of a city — was aware of all this when he wrote the piece, or he would have toned it down. Yet it was the paper's editor and publisher, loath to ruin a colleague's weekend with an unpleasant surprise that might spoil their business relations, who had decided, after taking a look at the story and its accompanying photograph of the torn, bloodstained pay stub found in the murdered woman's shopping bag, to let the old man respond in the same issue.

Nor was it really such a shocking expose. Nevertheless, at a time when pedestrians were routinely exploding in the streets, troubled consciences turned up in the oddest places. And so at the end of that particular workday, when the human resources manager, having promised his ex-wife that he would leave the office on time to be with their only daughter, had tried to evade the owner's summons, the old man's veteran office manager had refused to let him. Sensing her boss's agitation, she’d hastened to advise the resource manager to put his family duties aside.

On the whole, relations between the two men were good. They had been so ever since the resource manager, then in the sales division, had unearthed several Third World markets for the company's new line of paper and stationery products. And so, when his manager's marriage was on the rocks, in part because of his frequent travels, the old man had reluctantly agreed to appoint him temporary head of the human resources division, a job that would allow him to sleep at home every night and try to repair the damage. Yet the hostility engendered by his absence was only distilled into a more concentrated poison by his presence, and the chasm between them — at first psychological, then intellectual, and finally sexual — continued to grow of its own accord. Now that he was divorced, all that kept him from returning to his old job, which he had liked, was his determination to stay close to his daughter.

As soon as he'd appeared in the doorway of the owner's spacious office, where the elegantly muted light never changed with the time of day or year, the article due to appear in the local weekly was dramatically hurled at him.

"An employee of ours?" The resource manager found that hard to credit. "Impossible. I would have known about it. There must be some mistake."

The owner did not answer. He simply held out the galleys, which the resource manager read quickly while still standing. The odious article was entitled "The Shocking Inhumanity Behind Our Daily Bread." Its subject was a forty-year-old woman found critically wounded after a bombing in the Jerusalem market the week before. Her only identifying mark had been a pay stub issued by the company. For two days she had fought for her life in the hospital without any of her employers or fellow workers taking the slightest interest in her. Even after her death, she had lain in the hospital morgue abandoned and unidentified, her fate unmourned and her burial unprovided for. (There followed a brief description of the company and its larg

An Evening with David Grossman


Gross Talks at the PEN International Writers' Festival


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