We are now at the watershed. There is no turning back. The state of Israel has raped the recognition of the world and shall have no peace until it lays down its arms.”
And, here’s the conclusion:
Calm and mercy
We do not recognize the state of Israel. Not today, not as of this writing, not in the hour of grief and wrath. If the entire Israeli nation should fall to its own devices and parts of the population have to flee the occupied areas into another diaspora, then we say: May the surroundings stay calm and show them mercy. It is forever a crime without mitigation to lay hand on refugees and stateless people.
Peace and free passage for the evacuating civilian population no longer protected by a state. Fire not at the fugitives! Take not aim at them! They are vulnerable now like snails without shells, vulnerable like slow caravans of Palestinian and Lebanese refugees, defenseless like women and children and the old in Qana, Gaza, Sabra, and Chatilla. Give the Israeli refugees shelter, give them milk and honey!
Let not one Israeli child be deprived of life. Far too many children and civilians have already been murdered.”
Evidently, such strong writing has evoked strong reactions. The critics’ mantra is well-known: anti-semitism and Europe’s deep-rooted bias against Jewish people. Noting the international outrage, Gaarder has written a sequel to his earlier article. Again, I have been able to read this courtesy Sirocco‘s translation. Some excerpts here:
“A symbol of intransigence
“May spirit and word sweep away the apartheid walls of Israel,” I write. Thus I hope that diplomacy and intellectual force will suffice to convince Israel that the illegal wall on occupied land must be torn down, not least because it will otherwise remain as a monumental symbol of intransigence. The wall does not only cause daily irritation and harm to the Palestinian people, but may in a somewhat longer term be a greater danger to Israel than the country will appreciate.
In other words, I fear Israel’s intransigent policies with respect to its neighbors may in the long term pose a threat to Israel itself.
Violence against civilan population
I naturally do not advocate that any citizens of Israel should ever have to leave their country. I do not even consider it a possibility. When I evoke an image of Israeli civilians fleeing the ‘occupied areas’ (such as Jerusalem and the West Bank), I realize that this may elicit strong emotions.
Yet the message is crystal clear: Whatever the background and context — whatever religious or eschatological conceptions we might have — we never can tolerate violence against a civilian population.”
Jostein Gaarder’s novel Sophie’s World subtitled A Novel about the History of Philosophy was translated into fifty-three languages; there are over thirty million copies in print.