Amos Oz teaches literature at Ben Gurion University. He is the author of A Tale of Love and Darkness and, most recently, Rhyming Life and Death. (November 2010)


An Unholy War

“The tunnel touches the Foundation-rock of our existence,” said Mr. Netanyahu, thus defining the crux of the division within Israeli society: Israel was not founded to dig tunnels underneath the Muslim quarter in Jerusalem, or in order to rebuild the Jewish quarter of Hebron. Israel was created in order to …

A Letter to a Palestinian Friend

Arad, Israel March 5, 1996 Dear Friend, Israel is our homeland; Palestine is yours. Anyone who refuses to live with these two simple facts is either blind or evil. Two and a half years after signing the Oslo Accords you and we have still to agree about the …

Insult and Fury

Toward the end of 1982 Mr. Oz visited the town of Bet Shemesh, some ten miles west of Jerusalem, to write the following report: It was almost twenty years since I had been in Bet Shemesh. I remembered, from my last visit, rows of cheap apartment projects on the slope …


Two Views on Mideast Peace

Boys playing on a hill overlooking Bethlehem, 2007

Amos Oz: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a tragic struggle between two victims of Europe—the Arabs were the victims of imperialism, colonialism, repression, and humiliation. The Jews were the victims of discrimination, persecution, and finally of a genocide without parallel in history. On the face of it, two victims, especially two victims of the same oppressor, should become brothers. But the truth, both when it comes to individuals and when it comes to countries, is that some of the worst fights break out between two victims of the same oppressor.

Sari Nusseibeh: In a way, Israel has fallen victim to its own power, forcing it to be alone at this juncture in being able to identify and to seek solutions for its predicament. Most likely, it will seek half-way measures, necessarily therefore with “half-way” Palestinian representation or leadership, with the hope that somehow, sometime in the more distant future, this “containment” of the problem will somehow make it, or help it disappear. On the Palestinian side, on the other hand, it is the power of their own rhetoric to which Palestinians have traditionally fallen victim.