David Grossman, writing in Haaretz, has a proposal on what to do in Gaza that is logical, moral, and concrete. Read it. His proposal is for a unilateral 48 hour ceasefire on the part of the Israelis, even if the rockets keep coming. During that time other countries are invited to mediate a longer truce. The problem, though, according to Grossman, is that the natural Israeli reaction to threats is the use of force. Lots of force. He calls it “the familiar ceremony of war.” But this time they should try something different. He writes:
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.
Grossman is a writer, not a diplomat or a politician or even a pundit or scholar. He is primarily a novelist. But Israel is a country that has deep respect for its literary voices. (In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about the country.) I hope that
Barak, Livni and Olmert will give Grossman’s idea some consideration.