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Publishing the story of the massacre at Kafr Qasim


May Allah have mercy
Uri Avnery Social activist
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דיברנו על מלחמת סיני ועל הפעולה השמית שיצאה ממנה. דילגתי על מה שקרה בערב הראשון. מיד אחרי המלחמה בא אלי מישהו, שכחתי מי, וסיפר לי שבערב הראשון של המלחמה נערך בכפר קאסם טבח בסגנון נאצי, אין הגדרה אחרת, זה היה פשע מובהק מהסוג שהיה עושה האס.אס. הנאצי. מה שקרה בקיצור הוא שהחקלאים מהכפר, כולל נשים וילדים שלא ידעו כלום, יצאו לשדה באותו יום, לקראת ערב הוטל עוצר על כל האזור הזה, אזור המשולש, והחקלאים והנשים והילדים שחזרו מהשדה, מעבודת יומם, נתקלו בעוצר. העוצר היה בכמה כפרים, כל הכפרים של המשולש למעשה, ובכל מקום המפקדים המקומיים הבינו: איכרים לא ידעו שיש עוצר, חוזרים הביתה, לקחו להם ליווי ולקחו אותם הביתה. חוץ מכפר קאסם. כל העסק היה קצת מוזר. הרי ישראל לא תקפה את ירדן, ישראל העמידה עד השנייה האחרונה פנים כאילו היא הולכת להתקיף את ירדן ואז בשנייה האחרונה, בתמרון הסחה גאוני, תקפה את מצרים, רק. לפני זה אלוף הפיקוד נתן מסיבת עיתונאים למפקדים המקומיים, הודיע להם על העוצר, אני לא חושב שהוא הודיע להם על ההתקפה על מצרים, אני חושב שגם הם נשארו במחשבה שהולכים לתקוף את ירדן, והיה שם אחד, מפקד גדוד מטומטם בשם מלינקי, הכרתי אותו אחר-כך, גם אותו, גם את אשתו ואת משפחתו, הוא היה איש רגיל, מטומטם, ונורמלי. מטומטם-נורמלי, רב סרן. והוא הבין – פקודה זה פקודה. אז הוא שאל, להיות בטוח, שאל במקום: "גם אם הם לא יודעים שהוטל עוצר? מה עם אלו שחוזרים מהשדות ולא יודעים שהוטל עוצר?" ואז המפקד החזית, אלוף הפיקוד אמר: "אללה ירחמו" – שאלוהים ירחם עליהם. שתי מילים שנכנסו להיסטוריה. והוא, הבול עץ הזה עשה קבוצת פקודות, כלומר הוא חילק את הפקודות למפקדי הפלוגות בכפרים השונים ושמה מישהו שאל אותו אותה שאלה ואז הוא ענה את התשובה הזאת: "אללה ירחמו" – שירחם אלוהים על נשמתם, כלומר, להרוג אותם.‏

We talked about the Sinai Campaign and the 'Semitic Action' that was a result of it. I skipped over what happened the first evening. Immediately after the war, someone came to me, I forget who, and he told me the first night of the war a Nazi-style massacre took place in Kafr Qasim. There is no other definition: it was an overt crime of the type committed by the Nazis SS. What happened, in brief, is that the farmers, including women and children who did not know anything, left for the fields that day. Towards evening, a curfew was imposed on the entire region, the area of the 'triangle', and farmers and women and children returning from the field from their daily work, encountered the curfew. The curfew was imposed in several villages, all of the villages in the triangle in fact, and everywhere the local commanders realized that the farmers did not know that there was a curfew and were going home, so they escorted them and took them home. Apart from in Kfar Qasim. The whole thing was a bit strange. After all, Israel did not attack Jordan, to the last second Israel pretended that they were going to attack Jordan and then at the last second, in an ingenious diversionary maneuver, they attacked only Egypt. Before that Central Command gave a press conference for the local commanders, informing them of the curfew. I do not think he told them about the attack on Egypt; I think that they were left thinking that we were going to attack Jordan. There was one, an idiotic battalion commander named Malinki, I met him afterwards, him, his wife and his family. He was an ordinary man, dumb, and normal. A dumb-normal major. And he understood that a command is a command. Then he asked, to be sure, he asked: 'Even if they do not know there's a curfew? What about those who are returning from the fields and do not know there is a curfew?' Then the front commander said: 'May Allah have mercy' – May God have mercy on them. Words that made their way into the history books. And he, this insensitive fool, made group commands, that is, he passed on the commands to commanders of the companies in the various villages and when someone asked him the same question, he gave the same answer: 'May Allah have mercy' – May God have mercy on their souls – in other words, kill them.

Uri Avnery (1923-2018) was an Israeli writer, journalist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. As a teenager, he joined the Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. Later, Avnery was elected to the Knesset from 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981. He was also the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, 'HaOlam HaZeh' from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery was the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including '1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem' (2008); 'Israel's Vicious Circle' (2008); and 'My Friend, the Enemy' (1986).

Listeners: Anat Saragusti

Anat Saragusti is a film-maker, book editor and a freelance journalist and writer. She was a senior staff member at the weekly news magazine Ha'olam Hazeh, where she was prominent in covering major events in Israel. Uri Avnery was the publisher and chief editor of the Magazine, and Saragusti worked closely with him for over a decade. With the closing of Ha'olam Hazeh in 1993, Anat Saragusti joined the group that established TV Channel 2 News Company and was appointed as its reporter in Gaza. She later became the chief editor of the evening news bulletin. Concurrently, she studied law and gained a Master's degree from Tel Aviv University.

Tags: Kafr Qasim, Shmuel Malinki

Duration: 4 minutes, 53 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017