Amos Oz and Sari Nusseibeh on Mideast Peace

Sari Nusseibeh and Amos Oz were jointly awarded the Siegfried Unseld Prize in Berlin on September 28, 2010. “A Tragic Struggle” and “The Magic Within Us” are drawn from their acceptance speeches.

From the New York Review of Books:

A Tragic Struggle by Amos Oz

ScreenHunter_02 Oct. 14 11.24 When I was small my parents told me: One day, not during our lifetimes but during yours, our Jerusalem will develop into a real city. I didn’t understand what they were telling me. Jerusalem was the only real city in my life then—even Tel Aviv was just a dream. But today I know that when my parents said “real city,” they meant a city with a river in the middle and bridges over it—a European city. And in Jerusalem of the 1930s and 1940s they nearly succeeded in creating a little Europe, with good manners—Frau Doktor and Herr Direktor, peace and quiet between two and four in the afternoon, and red shingled roofs. I know that my parents’ love for Europe is called unrequited love. And I know that this feeling of love unrequited by the land of one’s birth is also felt by millions of Israeli Jews who fled or were expelled from Islamic countries—from Iraq, Morocco, and Egypt. Jewish Israel is a refugee camp. Palestine is also a refugee camp.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a tragic struggle between two victims of Europe—the Arabs were the victims of imperialism, colonialism, repression, and humiliation. The Jews were the victims of discrimination, persecution, and finally of a genocide without parallel in history. On the face of it, two victims, especially two victims of the same oppressor, should become brothers. But the truth, both when it comes to individuals and when it comes to countries, is that some of the worst fights break out between two victims of the same oppressor. The two sons of an abusive father will each see in his brother the face of his cruel father.

More here.