“…this miserable people, whose fate is entangled with our own…”

November 7, 2006

So David Grossman, the celebrated Israeli author, described the Palestinians in a speech at the recent memorial commemorating the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The text of the speech is here.

I was uncomfortable with the speech although, God knows, Grossman knows more about this than I do. It struck me as defeatist, self-regarding and unrealistic.

Upbraiding current Prime Minister Olmert, he said:

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.

But the Palestinians elected Hamas as their government, Mr Grossman. Where are the moderates of whom you confidently speak? Do they have power and guns? Hamas is militarising in Gaza along the lines mapped out by Hizbollah in Southern Lebanon. More heavy armaments are being smuggled in daily through tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. From a rag-tag-and-bobtail Islamist murder outfit, Hamas bids fair to become a genuine terrorist army — another one, committed and disciplined to Israel’s destruction, with lots of help from Iran.

However, Norm Geras, who is wiser than I, seems to have a different view.


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