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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
Writer explains his Mid-East hopes
By Marcelo Starobinas
BBC Brasil

The Israeli writer Amos Oz has stated that the peace proposal finalised this weekend between Israel's opposition and Palestinian politicians is the most "comprehensive and detailed" that has ever existed.

Israeli writer Amos Oz
Amos said there was "a kind of intimacy" between the two sides
Mr Oz is internationally known due to his peaceful militancy in the Middle East.

He has taken part in more than two years of negotiations, supported by the Swiss Government, that have resulted in a new document.

"This is the first document that covers absolutely every area of the disputes, and covers it in a detailed, legalistic way, not just with generalisations, cliches and manifestations of good intentions and goodwill", he told BBC Brasil.

He also confirmed that the two delegations have proposed difficult compromises that involve the question of the rights of the Palestinian refugees to return and the sovereignty over the Temple Mount, a place sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Jewish state

"The crux of the deal is an open and explicit acceptance by the Palestinians of the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people," said Mr Oz, author of fiction books such as Black Box and Fima and essays on politics of the Middle East.

If he [Ariel Sharon] implements this peace draft I and my colleagues will carry him on our shoulders in the streets of Israel
Israeli writer Amos Oz
"This is a first, they've never used these words before."

"[They] acknowledge the right of the Jewish people for a homeland state in the land of Israel, which means and implies that there will be no such thing as the right of return.

"Small numbers of refugees will be allowed to enter Israel, but only with the consent of the sovereign Israeli Government."

In exchange, said Mr Oz, Israel will allow the future Palestinian state to have sovereignty over the Temple Mount - where both the Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques are found - in the old city of Jerusalem.

"The greatest sacrifice which the Israeli side has made - an acceptance painful for every one of us, including the secular doves - was the acceptance of Palestinian sovereignty over Temple Mount, whilst the Wailing Wall will remain under Israeli sovereignty."

'Life and death'

The new document, which will only be revealed in full at the beginning of November in an official launch ceremony in Geneva, has no legal worth, as the governments of Israel and the Palestinian Authority did not take part in its making.

Its authors, however, hope that the ideas contained in the proposal will be adopted by the current or future governments in order to end the cycle of violence in this region.

Palestinian militants
The authors believe the plan could end the cycle of violence
"[The Israeli prime minister] Sharon is physically a very heavy man," Mr Oz said.

"If he implements this peace draft I and my colleagues will carry him on our shoulders in the streets of Israel."

Mr Sharon has criticised the left-wing Israeli opposition for formulating this parallel deal.

He said it had political motives with the aim of bringing down his coalition government.

"It is not about the future of power in Israel", said Mr Oz.

"It's about life and death. What we have done is not an alternative peace treaty. It is a working paper which the two leaderships could use as a basis for a future agreement."

Family dispute

The writer said that for 30 years he has participated in meetings with Palestinians searching for a viable solution to put an end to the conflict.

He says, in the last two years of meetings between Israeli and Palestinian politicians and pacifists, "there have been highs and lows, delusions, anger, moments of despair and of elation".

He added that he was impressed with "the kind of intimacy that exists between the two nations".

"We know each other very well; we can easily make one another laugh," he says.

"We can repeat or even represent each other's historical, ethical and political arguments fluently - we know each other by heart.

"It is a kind of family quarrel, fierce, painful, bloody, but it is a family quarrel and can be concluded by a fair and painful divorce between the parties.

"And, by divorce, I mean creating two sovereign, independent states, neighbours who recognise each other's borders and the rights and live in peace."




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