Israeli poet Nathan Zach.
(photo credit: MOSHE MILNER / GPO)
Nathan Zach, the famed poet and Israel Prize laureate, was quoted in Hebrew-language media outlets on Tuesday as saying that he supported Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s characterization of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip this past summer as “genocide.”
In an interview with Army Radio, Zach said it was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech that was “slanderous” while Abbas “spoke the truth.”
“If I were to speak to Netanyahu, I’d quote him a passage from the Book of Isaiah, [chapter 49, verse 17]: ‘Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you’,” Zach said.
When asked about Abbas’s use of the word “genocide” to describe Operation Protective Edge, Zach said: “Israeli politicians have said things that are even more awful, or no less awful, than what Abbas said about genocide.”
“To some extent, whenever someone is angry after having been strung along for over a year with fruitless negotiations, then one tends to use words that aren’t so effective,” he said. “For Abbas, that word was genocide, or a mini genocide.”
In his interview with Army Radio, Zach even questioned the wisdom of Israelis living in towns near the Gaza border.
“Look at the map,” he said. “Around tiny, miserable Gaza they surrounded them with a network of kibbutzim,” he said. “Why there of all places? The Negev is a big place. It’s not genocide. It’s ‘enveloping them with love’.”
When reminded that residents of Tel Aviv also absorbed rocket fire, Zach said: “I could be hit with a rocket in Tel Aviv? So be it. War is war. The Jews have absorbed much worse in other countries.”