Letters to the Editor

I Was Never in Favor of Annexation - A.B. Yehoshua

After his call for giving Palestinians in parts of West Bank civil rights makes waves, famed Israeli author responds to his critics.

Author A.B. Yehoshua.
Author A.B. Yehoshua. Tomer Appelbaum

I was never in favor of annexation

In response to “The two-state solution remains a viable option” (Shaul Arieli, Opinion, January 1).

It’s quite unfortunate that my friend Shaul Arieli, who in my eyes is one of the top experts on the situation in the West Bank, didn’t ascertain earlier whether I had ever said anywhere that I was in favor of annexing Area C. I’ve never said that, nor do I think that we need to annex Area C. Moreover, there’s no risk that this annexation will occur, if only because the Netanyahu government (as opposed to Habayit Hayehudi) prefers to hold Area C as a perpetual no-man’s land to maintain the illusion of a policy of two states for two peoples, which eases things for it in both the domestic and international arenas.

The only thing that I said related to some kind of upgrade in the status of the Palestinian residents of Area C so as to prevent, or at least reduce the difficulty of, their being positioned on the firing line of the Israeli occupation. According to the most recent B’Tselem report, 2016 was a record year for the demolition of Palestinian homes in Area C.

That’s why the right shouldn’t be celebrating and the left should not be sorry. The right hasn’t gained an elderly soldier and the left hasn’t lost one. Based on all the signs, we all will be continuing to wade through this interim situation.

A.B. Yehoshua

A Palestinian shepherd tending her flock alongside a section of Israel's separation barrier near El Za'im checkpoint, East Jerusalem, December 28, 2016.
Oded Balilty/AP

They’re all correct

In response to “Reducing the malignancy of the Israeli occupation” (A.B. Yehoshua) and “The two-state solution remains a viable option” (Shaul Arieli) both Jan. 1.

Both writers are grappling with the question of how to reach a solution of two nation-states living side by side. To them we can add the address/lecture by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week, which tried to explain the dangers inherent in Israel’s settlement policy.

I was reminded of the story of the rabbi who told each of two adversaries who came to consult with him that they were right, and when the rabbi’s wife wondered how they could both be right, he told her, “You are also right.”

All of the above offered worthy proposals to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and all are aimed at the same goal – to reach an agreement on two states, Jewish and Palestinian, side by side. I have also been among those making suggestions to this end.

The problem, unfortunately, is that we are standing on the sidelines and have no influence on the decisions being made by the two players at the chessboard. Neither my opinions, nor those of Yehoshua or Arieli, have any practical impact. We are deliberating solely among ourselves.

I have no doubt that in the long term the choice will be a cruel one, but whether we have to wait 10 years or 100, the ultimate goal is clear. Either there will be two states, Jewish and Palestinian, or the State of Israel will disappear from the map.

Shlomo Gazit

Kfar Sava