JERUSALEM (Oct. 14)
A group of left-wing Israeli writers and intellectuals have issued a surprising manifesto asking that Jewish settlements not be removed from the territories — not even under a permanent settlement with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Among the signatories are writers Amos Oz, Professor Yirmiyahu Yovel and A.B. Yehoshua, who initiated the document.
The signatories, despite their support for the Israel-PLO accord spelling out self-rule for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho, called on the government to protect the security and welfare of the Jewish settlements.
“Good neighborly relations between Israelis and Palestinians will help reach a permanent solution,” the manifesto reads.
It further asks that the Jewish settlements be allowed to remain in their places even under Palestinian rule, as a “recognized minority.”
Yehoshua said the idea to issue the manifesto follows an ongoing dialogue with Rabbi Menachem Fruman of the West Bank settlement of Tekoah, near Bethlehem.
Fruman, who is known for his continuing efforts to talk with both the Palestinians and the Israeli left, told Yehoshua of the growing sense of despair among Jewish settlers in the territories. Many of them fear they will have to leave their homes, he said.
Fruman said that now is the time to renew the “historic alliance between the nationalist-religious bloc and the left in Israel.”