(photo credit: REUTERS)
Famous author Amos Oz said on Sunday that “in a few short months we can reduce the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an Israel-Gaza conflict.”
In a speech on the IDF and Israeli society at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Oz was explaining that he believes peace could be reached quickly with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the West Bank Palestinians, so that the conflict with the Palestinians would be limited to a conflict with Hamas in Gaza.
Oz urged accepting the principles of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, saying that if it had been offered to Israel 50 years ago, the country “would have been dancing in the streets.”
Next, he said that Israel did not win the 1973 war as many think, but “Sadat won the war because he broke the status quo.”
He explained that Egypt’s attack, led by then president Anwar Sadat, pushed Israel eventually into making peace with it and giving up the Sinai Desert.
Further, Oz slammed right-wing politicians from Bayit Yehudi and the Likud as trying to “start a religious war over the Temple Mount.”
He said that if they want this religious war, it should be “without me and my children.”
Oz said that he is not disputing Israel’s right to ascend the Temple Mount, which he said is undisputed.
Rather, he said that just as he may have the right to cross a road where the light is green and a policeman signals him to go, but he might decline to go if a truck is bearing down on the intersection at a dangerous speed, the state should decline to exercise its right to make praying on the Temple Mount into a bigger conflict.
Oz also slammed the government on “trying to put America in its place,” implying that the current government has played diplomatic hardball too roughly with its big brother diplomatic ally.
He added that continued “occupation of over two million Palestinians” could kill the country.
Following Oz, former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Ami Ayalon slammed the government’s war policy in the summer Gaza war.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz have all said repeatedly that Israel won the war because it accomplished the objective of destroying Hamas’s attack tunnels.
Ayalon cited the relatively long war, 72 Israeli dead, over 2,100 Palestinian dead and the widespread destruction of Gaza residences as evidence to the contrary.
But more importantly, he said, three key categories of citizens all likely feel worse off after this war.
He said citizens in towns near Gaza likely feel less safe, Israeli-Arabs probably feel more persecuted and Israeli diplomats probably feel the country’s international standing has eroded.
IDF Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yishai Beer said that many had set unrealistic expectations for the war, hoping for a decisive victory over Hamas.
Beer said the country’s goals should be more focused on improving deterrence by whatever degree possible and then achieving calm, and that decisive victory is no longer possible.