Ten years ago, Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat signed a Declaration of Principles—known as the Oslo Accords—in which both sides agreed "that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize [our] mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence." It was a time of great hope for the Israeli peace movement, and the Accords enjoyed popular support among both Israelis and Palestinians. However, the following years brought a series of reversals, including Rabin's assassination and the rise of the right-wing Likud Party. Since then, provocations on both sides have led to suicide bombings on an unprecedented scale, military retaliations, and increasingly aggressive Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Ten years after Oslo, peace has never seemed further away.
What went wrong? How can Israelis and Palestinians recapture the lost momentum of the peace process? How has all the violence changed their lives, and their souls? For the last ten years David Grossman, one of Israel's most celebrated novelists and journalists, has addressed these questions in a series of passionate essays, writing not only as a political commentator, but also as a husband and father, and as a peace activist disillusioned with the leaders on both sides.
These essays, many of which first appeared outside Israel—in American, English, French, German, Italian, and Palestinian publications—show us the Israel-Palestinian conflict from the inside, and in the moment. They are indispensable reading for anyone who wants to understand the roots and consequences of the turmoil in the Middle East.
This paperback edition of Death as a Way of Life includes six new essays, all composed since the hardcover publication and offered here in the final pages, which together end the book on a note of cautious hope. The last of these addresses why Grossman joined the Geneva initiative.