BUCHAREST, Romania — Acclaimed Israeli novelist and peace activist Amos Oz said that most Israelis and Palestinians want peace, even if only for pragmatic reasons, and are grudgingly accepting the concept of a "two-state solution."

In an interview with the Associated Press late Wednesday, Oz said even some hardline Israelis had reached a more pragmatic position.

"I say more pragmatic. I do not say pragmatic enough. It is a positive development, but it's not positive enough," Oz said.

"We have (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon openly promising to remove all the Jewish settlements from Gaza and some from the West Bank," Oz said during a visit to Romania.

Sharon says the Gaza withdrawal plan, which faces mounting opposition from within his own party, would help reduce friction between Israelis and Palestinians after four years of fighting.

Although a comprehensive agreement involving direct negotiations with the Palestinians would have been better than a unilateral pullout, "an Israeli (move) is better than no move at all," Oz said.

Oz said he was encouraged by a shift of sentiment among Israelis and Palestinians.

"In the last year or two, a solid majority of Israeli Jews and a solid majority of Palestinian Arabs have accepted unhappily the idea of a two-state solution," he said. "This does not guarantee miracles but it's a very important change that it is manifested in public opinion surveys in Israel and Palestine week after week after week."

A two state solution — an Israeli state alongside a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza — was at the core of the 1990s Oslo peace process that broke down as new fighting broke out.

The acclaimed author of the novel "My Michael" is among the leading supporters of the Geneva accord, a peace plan drawn up last year by prominent Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals and former negotiators that was never endorsed by officials on either side.