Yossi’s response to the Iraqi reader Ibn Dijlah. You can read Ibn Dijlah’s response here 

Dear Ibn Dijlah,

First, thank you for your generous response to my book. Forgive the long delay in my response. I’ve been traveling abroad and only recently returned home.

I also want to express my solidarity and concern with the aspirations of the Iraqi people for freedom and safety. My prayers are with you all, wherever you live, especially in these difficult days for Iraq.

I agree with you: My book will not likely find many sympathetic Palestinian readers. But the truth is, I wrote the book with the hope of finding even a few Palestinians who would be prepared to model, together with me, a different kind of Israeli-Palestinian conversation – a respectful disagreement over bitterly contested narratives. Palestinians and Israelis will likely never agree which side bears primary responsibility for the nakba; whether Israel acted in self-defense or aggressively in 1967; why the Oslo process failed in 2000. I am not looking for agreement, or to convince readers that I’m right. I am hoping to give Palestinian readers – and Arab readers generally – a window into how Israelis think about this conflict. And to invite readers to respond with their own narratives.

Fortunately, I have found Palestinian partners prepared to model precisely that kind of conversation with an Israeli. I have gone on speaking tours with several Palestinians who are now my friends, even as we continue to deeply disagree.

Neither people is going away – the Jews are not going into the sea, the Palestinians are not going to the desert. By the same measure, neither people’s narrative is going to disappear. Each side has tried hard to erase the legitimacy of the other’s story, without success. Instead, our narratives seem to only be getting stronger. And this is understandable: For both peoples, our stories are our essence. Both Arabs and Jews are in constant dialogue with their past, with the ancestors who helped shape us; that is an approach to life very different from the West, where what matters most of all is the here and now.

I well recognize the limitations of my efforts. All I can do as a writer is to try to come up with a language for reconciliation that might be useful for those curious about the other side – and peace begins with precisely that kind of curiosity.

I am grateful for your open mind and open heart. Thank you for reaching out and enriching the conversation around this book.

With warm personal regards,