It is necessary to start from the book written by David Grossman's Yellow Wind. When David Grossman's youngest son, Uri, was getting ready to join the Israeli army, the award-winning author decided that it was time to write a new book that he hoped might serve as a talisman for his boy as he went off to battle.
Together, father and son worked to tell the story of a mother's attempts to save her boy, an Israeli tank commander, who she knows is heading into a fatal firefight. Uri passed along tales of his time serving as a tank commander in the West Bank. Grossman wove them into the unfolding novel. Then reality overwhelmed their imaginations. In the waning days of Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah Islamist militants, Uri and his three-man crew were sent to southern Lebanon. They never returned alive. The team became four of Israel's final battlefield fatalities when a Hezbollah rocket hit their tank. Grossman was devastated.
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Instead of the still-incomplete novel protecting his 20-year-old son as he'd intended, Grossman wondered aloud whether the book had been a bad omen. When author Amos Oz came to pay his respects, Grossman said he wasn't sure he could save the book. But Oz told Grossman that completing the novel would save the author. "I told him that writing this book would be his salvation and that he must go on," said Oz, one of Israel's best-known writers.
"I know, in bad times, when everything goes wrong, writing is the writer's salvation."
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He first challenged Israel's conventional wisdom in 1987 by writing "The Yellow Wind," an unvarnished look at Israel's occupation of the Palestinians. Grossman saw the occupation as a morally corrosive cancer likely to destroy both Israel and the Palestinians. Soon after the best-seller was published, the simmering frustration that Grossman documented in the West Bank and Gaza Strip exploded into the first Palestinian uprising. From then on, many on the left viewed Grossman as Israel's conscience.
Grossman is disturbed, and disturbing, as he tells of a man whose house has been destroyed because a son turned terrorist, of a child whose doll is confiscated at the Allenby Bridge even though a soldier carefully disassembled it to check for explosives, of a young man who spends weeks in prison for no reason. However well-intentioned Israel was in 1967, in many ways the lives of the Arabs in the West Bank have not improved.
While graphically documenting the price the Arabs pay for Israeli rule, Grossman's main concern is the cost to Israel, which he regards as nothing less than the loss of the country's soul.
No occupying force can remain moral, and the Arabs are too numerous to be absorbed into the country; if Israel granted them full citizenship, they would control the government in a few decades and so destroy the Jewish character of the country. Grossman therefore urges the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and Gaza, lest the fabled yellow wind swirl out of the east to set the land ablaze and destroy the evildoers.
There is one more visison for Israel from Yitzhak Rabin proposed in his book Speech to the Knesset. In this speech, he stated clearly that in our view for a permanent solution to the strife, the Palestinians would have an entity which is less than a state. The borders of Israel would be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. Israel would not return to the 4 June 1967 lines. Jerusalem would be united and would include Ma'aleh Adumim and Givat Ze'ev. Moreover, Israel envisaged, under a permanent settlement, that the security border would be located in the Jordan Valley. Gush Etzion, Efrat and Betar would be in Israel. Rabin even mentioned the establishment (my italics) of settlements in Judea and Samaria. Clearly, this was offering the Palestinians less than what is being proposed by the current government. Critics, both here and abroad, should take note when decrying our government for not being serious about negotiating a peace settlement, while remembering Rabin as a dedicated man of peace.
Nikita Krushchev once stated that the West was in such moral decline that it would sell the USSR the very rope that it would use to hang the West. Russia and China and even Europe are today in such moral disarray that they refuse to authorize the toughest of sanctions against Iran. Iran is now not only on the verge of having a nuclear bomb but it has long-range missiles that can reach Tel Aviv. The United States keeps issuing declarations - most recently by Congressman Howard Berman - about imposing tough sanctions ("Berman: New sanctions on Iran likely," November 4). However the United States cannot issue sanctions by itself and every country decides on its own what is important to them. Russia and China have evidently decided that they will never be affected by Iranian missiles or nuclear catastrophe. The rest of the world be damned! If Europe, Russia and China do not act now to avert an Iranian horror that will blacken the earth for centuries, their countries will be taken over by the Shi'ite dictatorship which is Iran.
They are threatened just as much as Israel .Wake up world! Such is the slogan of the book.
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