Israeli playwright and Hebrew Literature Professor AB Yehoshua, often referred to as “the William Faulkner of Israeli literature,” spoke to a crowd in Corwin Pavilion on Sunday and asked the United States to recognize the importance of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Yehoshua was a child during the Israeli war for independence in 1948, after armies from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon invaded the recently declared Jewish State. He was involved in both the Sinai Affair – when Egypt blocked Israeli ships from going through the Suez Canal – and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on the first day of Yom Kippur in October.
Yehoshua said he supports Zionism – a movement that supports Israel as a Jewish national state – which he said can be described with two words: borders and serenity. A completely Jewish state would allow the Jewish people a place where a sense of normalcy is possible, he said.
State borders, Yehoshua said, become the most precious aspects of a country because they raise consciousness of the borders and unite people who fight to defend them. He believed the implementation of a strong border for Israel, along with a complete separation of the Israelis and the Palestinians, would eventually lead to peace. He has also argued against Palestinian return to Israeli homelands.
All the settlements and agreements that have taken place between the Israelis and Palestinians negate the current disputes, Yehoshua said, and lead to a false sense of serenity that could only occur with the complete separation of Israelis and Palestinians.
“We must not create an illusion of serenity in a place that can never have serenity,” he said.
Yehoshua said that there is no possibility that one side will be able to expunge the other completely through violence and that peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis will come from their own solutions not from settlements.
“Settlement is an obstacle to peace,” he said. “By settlement you are closing the opportunity of the future.”
Yehoshua, called for an immediate decrease in the violence to help protect the future.
“I put this assumption to say continuation of the conflict is becoming very dangerous,” he said, “and the dimension that it is taking is far more dangerous than before.”