“Why I am angry with Yehoshua, Grossman and Oz”
Gideon Levy interviewed by Marco Cesario 27 January 2009

To Grossmann, who wrote in Haaretz that it is necessary to speak to the Palestinians and not to ignore Hamas, he replied “But he didn’t say what we should be talking about. We have to talk about the end of the occupation.” Born in Tel Aviv in 1955, Gideon Levy writes for Haaretz where he is also a member of the editorial staff. Former spokesman for Shimon Peres from 1978 to 1982, and a prominent left-wing commentator, Gideon Levy has written extensively on ‘the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and Palestinian life under occupation.’ In 1996 he was awarded the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

According to you, who will win the upcoming elections?

I guess Netanyahu is the favourite candidate to win the upcoming elections in Israel. According to the polls he’s in pole position.

What could be the post-electoral scenario?

I am sure there will be a coalition led by Netanyahu that will include Defence Minister Ehud Barak. Surely, the coalition will also include Likud and Kadima.

What are the main key election issues?

The war had an enormous impact on the election campaign. So the campaign is now all about the war. They won’t be speaking about anything else but the war. War is the key issue and Netanyahu will claim that it was too short.

What do you think about Barak’s behaviour as defence minister?

Some say that this war has given Defence Minister Ehud Barak a chance to display his leadership qualities. This is probably true but I do not believe he will get enough votes to become prime minister. He has more chances to be the defence minister in the next government.

What is your opinion of Israeli military operations in Gaza?

I believe that this war has not achieved any positive results for Israel. Tsahal certainly did not achieve its established objectives in Gaza. From a military point of view one cannot speak of success. On the contrary, this war has brought only death and not one single positive result. Nothing whatsoever.

What do you think about the attitude assumed by authors such as Abraham Yehoshua, Amos Oz, and David Grossmann during this war?

I bitterly opposed this war, denouncing the massacre of innocent people. For this reason I was greatly criticized in Israel. I think that anyone who supported this war also supports the war crimes committed there. This is why I am profoundly sorry that people of such high morals supported this war, because it was an immoral war.

What is your opinion on Grossman’s remarks in Haaretz?

David Grossmann said that this war proved that Israel is strong but did not prove that Israel is right and that it’s necessary to speak to the Palestinians without however ignoring Hamas. I absolutely share this point of view. But Grossmann did not specify what we should be talking about. We have to talk about ending the occupation, that is what we have to talk about.

How do you think this war was perceived outside Israel?

I think this war has damaged the image of Israel in Europe and in the rest of the world. This is certain, all one has to do is read the world’s newspapers.

Do you think Hamas is still capable of rearm?

The Israeli military has said that most of the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza were destroyed. I believe this war has shown that Hamas has rather modest weaponry. For this reason I believe that it will be able to obtain these weapons again and rearm.

Do you think Hamas will be capable of increasing its firepower?

Not now. But one day I am afraid that Hamas’ Qassam rockets could threaten directly Tel Aviv.

In you opinion how can we find a way out to this crisis?

The last chance is to adopt the two-states solution proposed in 2003. But I believe this is truly our last chance.




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