Israeli writer David Grossman has no faith in the good intentions of the Arab countries, according to an interview he gave last month to the French daily, Liberation. "The Jews are a minority in the Middle East and therefore I don't preach pacifism or suggest forgoing a strong army," Grossman said in an interview to mark the publication of the French-language edition of his book, "To the End of the Land."

Grossman told the French newspaper that the Arab states had not demonstrated goodwill toward Israel "just as we have not demonstrated such intentions toward them," adding: "Therefore, we need a strong army, but not of the sort that it is the only means that will sustain us here. That would transform the army into a means unto itself, rather than a tool that would ensure a better life.

"I assume that if it is in our capacity to overcome the obstacles on the road to peace, there is a chance that we will develop good neighborly relations. Israelis and Palestinians falling in love with one another is not a sure thing; after all, nations don't look to love one another," Grossman continued.

"If peace enables us to recognize the language and the landscapes of others, perhaps a certain kind of sympathy will be created, even if the process takes years. It involves a difficult process accompanied by painful concessions that will awaken extremists on both sides who will do everything possible to kill the newly-born peace," he told the French daily.

In his interview with Liberation, the Israeli writer said the world would be surprised to see how Israelis and Palestinians were capable of working together to carry on normal lives if there was peace. "I can imagine what it is for the Palestinians to live removed from Israel's shadow, to raise their children without fear, to live in dignity," he said.

In other news related to Grossman, the White House announced that among the reading material U.S. President Barack Obama took with him on his current family vacation at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, was the English-language edition of Grossman's "To the End of the Land."