Eleven of Israel’s most prominent leftist authors and members of the intellectual elite have published a call to negotiate with the Islamist Hamas terror group.
The statement, which was dispatched to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and published in Haaretz, calls upon Olmert to “make every possible effort” to reach a diplomatic agreement with Mahmoud Abbas and to open up negotiations with Hamas for a ceasefire.
"We believe an opportunity to promote the peace process ahead of the international conference in November has been created,” the statement says. “We urge the prime minister to make the greatest effort to reach substantial agreements with the PLO head and not miss this opportunity."
"The continued Qassam attacks from the Gaza Strip are intolerable. In the past Israel has negotiated with its worst enemies. And now, the correct course of action is to negotiate with Hamas in an effort to foment a general cease fire that will prevent further suffering on both sides.
"These talks must include an attempt to reach a complete ceasefire, without preconditions. An end to the mutual attacks would give the residents of the western Negev a sense of security, would spare the Gaza vicinity residents any further suffering, and would increase the political process' chances of succeeding."
The signatories are A. B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, David Grossman, Meir Shalev, Eli Amir, Savion Librecht, Yehoshua Sobol, Esti G. Haim, Prof. Alice Shalvi and Dorit Ravinian.
The signers are featured as commentators on state-run television on a nearly daily basis and represent the trend among the Tel Aviv café crowd and privileged political elite. Oz was one of the founders of Peace Now and most of the signatories are affiliated with the far-left Meretz Party.
Grossman, Oz and Yehoshua, along with several other of the signatories, took part in the signing of the Geneva Accords initiative, which is very similar to the leaked versions of PM Olmert’s negotiated settlement with Mahmoud Abbas. During the height of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the three held a press conference calling for a UN-backed cease-fire. Grossman lost his son, Uri, in the Second Lebanon War.
The cease-fire was adopted in the end, but has been severely criticized for entrusting the UN with preventing Hizbullah from rearming. IDF intelligence has reported that Hizbullah has reached and even surpassed its pre-war capabilities with the help of the cease-fire.