Amos Oz. Fully conscious
Photo: Colin McPherson
Barghouti. Initiator of second intifada
Photo: Yariv Katz

Amos Oz defends gift to Barghouti

After sparking public row for sending his novel to convicted murderer, Israel Prize laureate tells Italian newspaper that 'peace is made with enemies'

Israel Prize laureate Amos Oz sparked a public row last week when he sent an Arabic-language copy of his successful novel "A Tale of Love and Darkness" to convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti.


Oz even added a dedication to the person serving five life terms for his involvement in murders and terror attacks in Israel, saying that he hopes the book will help Barghouti better understand the story of the Israeli society.


In an interview to Italian newspaper La Stampa several days later, the well-known Israeli author responded to the public criticism directed at him by right-wing elements for the first time. According to Oz, the public response to the affair was hysterical.


He explained that he had decided to send the book to Barghouti, because it had given many Arabs a better understanding of the Israeli side's intentions.


"It wasn't a symbolic act, but a fundamental act," Oz stressed, saying he was certain that one day Israel would hold a dialogue with Barghouti, despite the fact that he was the initiator of the al-Aqsa Intifada and the executor of many suicide bombings which left many Israeli citizens dead.


"The novel I wrote is the deep and personal history of my family," the author said, "but it mainly tells the story of Zionism, its reasons and origins."


"A Tale of Love and Darkness," which was a best-seller in Israel and has been translated into dozens of languages across the world, was first released in Arabic by a Lebanese publisher in 2007. The publication of the Arabic version was funded by a lawyer from an Arab Jerusalem family, whose son was killed by a Palestinian terrorists in 2004 while running at the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus, where he studied law.


"The goal of the translation was to advance an understanding between the sides," said Oz, "and this was a courageous gesture on the part of the family."


Asked whether his decision to send the book to Barghouti had anything to do with the upheavals in the Arab world, Oz replied that the public response to his actions was emotional and hysterical, and that we are experiencing event with historical meaning through the Arab world.


"What is happening in Libya has nothing to do with what is happening in Syria or in Egypt or Tunisia," he explained. "Each country has its own history and present, and this is not the time to judge. I was fully conscious when I sent the book to Barghouti. We must remember that peace is made with enemies, not with friends."



פרסום ראשון: 04.03.11, 07:55
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