Talking Palestine-Israel


A Conversation With Amira Hass

There Are No Solutions

By David Kattenburg

Interviews that go sideways, or south. They tend to end abruptly, in response to the question that shouldn’t have been asked. A very sudden change in mood, followed by the scraping of chairs, and finito!

This was the direction my conversation with Ha’aretz columnist Amira Hass seemed to be heading, in response to a question she didn’t let me finish, about Canada and the rest of the ‘international community”s declared, though deceitful support for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Uh oh. I had “completely deviated” our conversation, Amira shouted. I was “fixated on the two-state solution,” and was clearly one of those “radicals” who argue that the TSS is dead, thereby accepting “the superiority of Jews.”

No amount of digital adjustment can eliminate the overmodulation in this segment of my exchange with the redoubtable Israeli journalist and correspondent, sitting in the shaded garden of the Ramallah municipality, her voice rising, the red light on my Zoom H4N flashing angrily, my blood pressure rising and heart pounding in silence.

But Amira Hass did not walk away. Ignorant of the fact that history offers no examples of “final solutions,” just “phases,” and that seeking the elimination of illegal Jewish settlements is far more crucial than bickering over one or two or 100-state solutions, I had simply hit a nerve — a productive one at that.

Amira Hass has been writing for the left-centre newspaper Ha’aretz since the late 1980s. The child of eastern European holocaust survivors, the Jerusalem-born Hass is the only Jewish-Israeli journalist to have lived in and reported from the Palestinian territories — in Gaza from 1993 to 1997 and in Ramallah since then. In the time-honoured tradition of essayists like Tom Paine, she has fallen dangerously out of favour with Israeli and Palestinian authorities alike.

Read more about Amira Hass here.

And listen to our conversation here: