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The three writers

Whether you think of them as Israel’s collective literary concience or three blind mice, Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua and David Grossman are the writers whom the media loves to quote.

And now they have spoken.

According to this report in Ha’aretz, Oz and Yehoshua both argued in separate articles written for Italian publications that the strikes against Hamas in Gaza were necessary, but need to end quickly:

Writing in Ha’aretz, Grossman was much tougher on Israel:

Israel’s leaders know well that given the situation in the Gaza Strip, it will be very hard to reach a total and unequivocal military solution. The lack of a solution might result in an ongoing ambiguous situation where we have already been: Israel will strike Hamas, it will strike and be struck, strike and be struck, and will become unwillingly enmeshed in every trap a situation like this entails, and will not attain its true and essential goals. It might very quickly discover that it is swept up – a strong military power, but helpless to get itself out of the entanglement – into a maelstrom of violence and destruction.

Therefore, stop. Hold your fire. Try for once to act against the usual response, in contrast to the lethal logic of belligerence. There will always be a chance to start firing again. War, as Barak said about two weeks ago, will not run away. International support for Israel will not be damaged, and will even grow, if we show calculated restraint and invite the international and Arab community to intervene and mediate.

It is true that Hamas will thus receive a respite with which to reorganize, but it has had long years to do so, and two more days will not really make a difference. And such a calculated lull might change the way Hamas responds to the situation. The response could even give it an honorable way out of the trap it has set for itself.

And one more, unavoidable thought: Had we adopted this attitude in July 2006, after Hezbollah abducted the soldiers, had we had stopped then, after our first response, and declared we were holding our fire for a day or two to mediate and calm things down, the reality today might be entirely different.

This is also a lesson the government should learn from that war. In fact, it might be the most important lesson.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is meant to reflect — not endorse — the general media view that Israel has only three writers with something worth saying.

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