Ronen Medzini
June 21, 2011 - 12:00am,7340,L-4085481,00.html

Author Amos Oz spoke Tuesday at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem and criticized the peace process with the Palestinians.

Oz said he believes the "ongoing occupation" of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the construction in settlements is in general immoral, as well as bad for Israel's interests.

The author, who received intermittent applause as well as a good deal of booing, added that the "expulsion of Palestinians" from their homes in Jerusalem and their "replacement" with settlers is also bad for Israel. "I am saying this as a man who loves the state," he added.

Oz also claimed Europeans tend to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of Hollywood-style good versus evil.

He said most of conflicts in the past decades had indeed been black and white – mentioning colonialism, the Vietnam War, and apartheid – but the Israeli-Arab conflict is not.

"The Israelis and Palestinians will never be one big happy family," Oz said. "(The conflict) will not end in a honeymoon between enemies, but through painful and fair divorce."

However the good news, he said, is that the vast majority of both peoples know they must eventually cede some of their ancestral homeland. "Will they dance in the streets when the solution is implemented? No," Oz said.

The author added that the solution must be based on the 1967 lines. He also gave his version of peace: One day there will be a Palestinian embassy in Israel and vice versa, he said, and they will be walking distance from one another: One in east Jerusalem and one in its west.

The Quartet's special envoy to the Middle, East Tony Blair, was also present at the conference. He commented on Iran's nuclear program, saying it will have consequences, and therefore must not be allowed to happen .

Blair also noted that in the future he sees Israel becoming a role model for the other states in the region.

President Shimon Peres launched the event. He said neither of the sides have any alternative but to make peace, and that history had been made when all parties in Israel had agreed to the two-state solution.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017