VIDEO - In a press conference convened by author David Grossman along with fellow writers A.B. Yehoshua and Amos Oz last week, the three pled with the Israeli government to reach a cease-fire agreement – two days later, Grossman's son, Uri, was killed in Lebanon.
Uri Grossman, 20, died after an anti-tank missile hit his tank in southern Lebanon Saturday. His name was cleared for publication Sunday evening.
A statement issued by the family read: "Uri Grossman was born on August 27, 1985. He was supposed to celebrate his 21st birthday in two weeks. Uri studied at the experimental school in Jerusalem. He reached the armored corps and fulfilled his aspiration to be a tank commander. He was about to be released (from the army) in November, travel the world, and then study theater. Friday evening he spoke, from Lebanon, with his parents and sister. He was glad that a decision on a ceasefire was taken. Uri promised that he will be eating the next Shabbat dinner at home. Uri, son to David and Michal and brother to Yonatan and Ruthie, had a fabulous sense of humor and a big soul filled with life and emotion."
The three authors initially expressed unequivocal support for a military act of self-defense at the outbreak of the war, but later changed their position in the face of the cabinet's decision to expend operations in Lebanon. Grossman himself argued that Israel already exhausted its self-defense right.
"The argument that an Israeli presence on the Litani (River) would prevent the firing of missiles on Israel is an illusion. Even the argument that we mustn't give Hizbullah a sense of security has been irrelevant for a long time. Hizbullah wishes to see us sink deeper into the Lebanese swamp," Grossman said.
He also joined, along with Meretz and Peace Now, left-wing protesters who demonstrated against the war and called on the defense minister and government to halt military operations.
"Now we must look three steps ahead and not to the regular direction, not to the familiar, instinctive reaction of the Israeli way of fighting – that is, what doesn't work with force will work with much more force," Grossman said. "Force, in this case, will fan the flames of hatred to Israel in the region and the entire world, and may even, heaven forbid, create the situation that will bring upon us the next war and push the Middle east to an all-out, regional war."
Turning his attention to a cease-fire deal, Grossman said: "Had they proposed to us (Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad) Siniora's agreement a month ago, wouldn't we have received it gladly and with cries of joy? We won't receive a better offer than this, even after we pulverize the rest of Lebanon and ourselves."
|Authors' press conference (Video: Shai Rosenzweig)|
"Such an agreement is the victory Israel wants," Grossman added. "Leaders must recognize the moment where they can get the maximum achievements for their people. Out of concern to the future of the State of Israel, to our place here, to our relations with our neighbors, and to our deterrence power that is being eroded by the day, stop the fighting and give negotiations a chance."
Turning his attention to the fact the current war is being led by civilian politicians and not former generals, Grossman said: "… the hope was that a civilian government would turn to different ways of action. It turns out there's a sort of coercion of surrender to the logic of force once it's in your hands. The government decision repeats the Israeli behavioral pattern to the point it appears our leaders are destined to act like this."
Referring to the ruling Kadima party, Grossman said: "Kadima is an internal transaction between the anxieties of the centrist Left and the centrist Right. Its connection (Kadima's) to reality is slight and that's the reason that time and again we're surprised."
"I think that the temptation to adopt the way of force is a default option. I think a little modesty in the Middle East wouldn't hurt us and I hope that the fact we're being exposed to the limits of our power these days would lead us to act modestly," Grossman added. "There's no chance for dialogue with Hizbullah, but there's certainly a chance with the Lebanese government and with Syria."
"Maybe it's worthwhile for us, for a change, not to break their arm during negotiations, but rather, engage in genuine dialogue," Grossman said. "This is a weapon we haven't used yet, and when an enemy turns to an enemy out of respect for the other's anxieties, it could have an immense impact."