1 August 1989
My dear Assad,
When you describe the daily humiliations that you, as a Palestinian, face from Jewish Israelis, I am filled with shame. Thank goodness for the writer's group. It is one place where we can talk openly and work together for peace.
Take the 'Peace Treaty', which we presented to the public as a model for our respective leaderships to follow. Unfortunately, the Israeli Government seems no nearer to following the treaty than it was then.
But our initiative that day was more than a gesture. By a coincidence which became highly systolic, it took place a few hours after the assassination of Abu Jihad* in Tunis - an act of terrorism which shocked the world. In signing an agreement which sets out the terms of a possible peace settlement between our two peoples, we showed that there is another way, there can be an end to bloodshed and oppression. There is a path to co-existence in peace and dignity.
I am very proud of our committee. It demonstrates how creative people can resist the atmosphere of hatred and extremism, and maintain an open channel of communication. For the Jewish Israelis among us, it is a chance to express our opposition to the repression and brutality which characterize the policy of the Israeli Government towards Palestinians. Such cruelty can only continue so long as one side denies the humanity of the other - and we insist on believing in our shared humanity...
At the same time, we cannot but admire the perseverance of our Palestinian friends, for whom it is so much harder to keep this channel open in the midst of the intifada and its violent repression. The fact that you, my friend, continue to discern the friendly voices and faces out of the Israeli mass - which must appear quite horrendous to Palestinians - shows a high - mindedness and a level of humanism which are rare and wonderful.
We are both children of this country, both raised in the mountains around Jerusalem. For both of us the air and light, the sights and sounds are the very fabric of home. Only cynical and greedy people can fail to see that with a joint inheritance such as we have, the only way to live is like brothers and sisters on the estate of their ancestors.
It is very difficult, in these awful days, to retain the hope and idealism necessary to go on with the struggle. On the Israeli side there is great frustration, which often expresses itself in vicious, racist ways. But I believe this results from the obstinacy and cruelty of our so - called leadership. Israeli Jews have been infected with a very dangerous germ and we are seeing an epidemic which is destroying their moral fibre.
Those of us who believe in a two - state solution to the conflict must work harder than ever to cure our people of their delusions of grandeur. We must introduce them to a much better dream. Not only our future depends on this, but the future of the entire Middle East, the cradle of civilization which, if given peace, can again become an earthly garden of Eden.
The Palestinian national leadership has already come a very long way in offering a positive and honourable way forward. Now the Israeli leadership must be made to respond in kind. If I did not believe that this will happen, sooner or later, I would despair - and I refuse to despair.
And so, my dear friend, we must keep on trying. One day our grandchildren will visit each other and wonder what all the pain and bloodshed were for. And perhaps they will be proud of us, that we foresaw the happy future which they will take for granted. Inshallah, Halevai.
Your friend, as always