Oz sees hope for resolution to Israeli-Arab conflict

Nov. 11, 2003 3:24 p.m.

Both sides in the Israeli-Arab conflict are ready to make the painful sacrifices required to achieve peace, Israeli author and peace advocate Amos Oz said in a lecture Monday, Nov. 10, at Princeton University.

Speaking before a packed audience in McCosh 50, Oz said "the vast majority of Israeli Jews and Palestinians are unhappily ready to accept a two-state solution," meaning the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel.

Oz was among a group of Israeli and Palestinian politicians, human rights advocates and intellectuals that recently unveiled a new blueprint for peace in the Middle East after two years of secret talks. The group's work "is shaking and challenging the long-standing convention that there is no one to talk to on the other side," he said. The 50-page document, titled the "Geneva Accords," is being distributed to every Israeli and Palestinian family.

The document proposes resolutions for the most contested issues in the dispute, Oz said. "This time everything has been dealt with, and dealt with in a way that means very painful compromises for both sides," said Oz, who was a visiting professor at Princeton in 1997. Oz currently holds the Agnon Chair of Hebrew Literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is the author of works including "Where the Jackals Howl," "My Michael" and "Black Box." In 1998 he won the Israel Prize for literature.

He described the conflict between the two sides as a bitter feud benefiting neither one. "We've been handcuffed to one another for more than 30 years now," he said. "The jailor is no freer than the prisoner in such a situation."

Noting that the "Geneva Accords" cannot be forced on the Israeli and Palestinian leaders and their people, he said, "We cannot open the door, but we did open a window for a new vista, hoping to generate a certain movement in public opinion on both sides."

Oz's talk was designated as the Walter Edge Lecture and was part of the University's Public Lectures Series. Arrangements were made through the B'nai B'rith Lecture Bureau. An archived Webcast of the lecture is available.

Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601