a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Syrians opposed Palestinian independence


One of the biggest mistakes of my life
Uri Avnery Social activist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Once the Egyptian operation was over, the operation against Jordan started. We expelled Jordan from the West Bank and they fled back across the Jordan. Then began a debate about whether to attack in the north, to attack the Syrians. That's where I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life: I advocated in favour of an attack on Syria. Meanwhile our daily newspaper, which we called Daf, appeared and I wrote an article Towards Damascus! Exclamation point. Why did I do that? It's really a good question that I thought about a lot. The logical reason was that at that stage Syria was a deadly enemy of Fatah. They had imprisoned all the leaders of Fatah. Arafat would not take orders from anyone, certainly not from Syria. The modern Palestinian people who after World War I, during World War I and immediately afterwards… it was not clear who the people were who were living there, the Arab people living in this country, and there was disagreement about their identity. The overwhelming consensus was that this nation and this country make up southern Syria. In Arab history there is the concept of al-Sham. And al-Sham in Arabic historical awareness is what we call Greater Syria or Syria as we know it. Lebanon, Transjordan and the Land of Israel, all of that was called al-Sham.

Now, when Fatah was established and began to talk about Palestine, the Syrians did not really like that. At first they supported them because they were interested in Fatah conducting attacks from the Syrian border and the Jordanian border against Israel under Syrian control.

ברגע שנגמר המבצע המצרי, התחיל המבצע נגד ירדן. גירשו את ירדן מהגדה המערבית והבריחו אותו אל מעבר לירדן. ואז התחיל ויכוח האם לתקוף גם בצפון, לתקוף את הסורים. ושם עשיתי את אחד המשגים הגדולים של חיי: אני צידדתי בהתקפה על סוריה. בינתיים הופיע העיתון היומי שלנו, שנקרא "דף", וכתבתי מאמר: "אל דמשק!” סימן קריאה. למה עשיתי את זה? זו ממש שאלה טובה שחשבתי עליה הרבה. הסיבה ההגיונית הייתה: סוריה באותו שלב הייתה האויבת בנפש של “פת״ח”, הם שמו את כל הנהגת “פת״ח" בכלא. ערפאת לא שמע לפקודות של אף אחד, בוודאי לא של סוריה. העם הפלסטיני המודרני, שאחרי מלחמת העולם הראשונה, בימי מלחמת העולם הראשונה ומיד אחריה לא היה ברור מה זה העם הזה שיושב כאן, העם הערבי שיושב בארץ הזאת, והיו חילוקי דעות. הדעה השלטת היא שהעם הזה והארץ הזו היא סוריה הדרומית. בהיסטוריה הערבית יש המושג "אַל שַם”. "אל שם" זה, אם אתה עומד פה ומסתכל על מכה אז תימן היא מימין וסוריה היא משמאל. תימן זה "ימין" Yemen, ימין, תימן זה ימין בערבית, זו הארץ הימנית. "אל שם" זו הארץ השמאלית. ו"אל שם" בתודעה הערבית ההיסטורית "אל שם" זה מה שאנחנו קוראים "סוריה רבתי”. כלומר סוריה כפי שאנחנו מכירים אותה. לבנון, עבר הירדן וארץ ישראל, כל זה נקרא "אל שם". עכשיו, כשקם “פת״ח" והתחיל לדבר על פלסטין, זה לא כל כך מצא חן בעיניי הסורים. בהתחלה הם תמכו בהם מפני שהם היו מעוניינים ש”פת״ח" יערוך פיגועים מגבול סוריה ומגבול ירדן לארץ ישראל תחת פיקוח סורי.


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: Jordan, West Bank, Syria, Palestine, Damascus, Yasser Arafat

Duration: 3 minutes, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017