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Lobbying Knesset on the establishment of a Palestinian state


'We want our own state'
Uri Avnery Social activist
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אבל בשנים הטובות, ואני הסתובבתי המון בגדה המערבית, הרי בכל עיר גם בכל כפר ערבי יש, בעיר ערבית יש שלוש-ארבע המשפחות ה”כבדות”-הגדולות-החמולות, עם אלפי בני משפחה שהם המושלים בעניין והן מיוצגות בכל המפלגות. אז אני חיפשתי אותם ואני התיידדתי עם כולם. עם ג'עברי בחברון ואח"כ קוואסמה. קוואסמה זה משפחה, עד היום הזה. המחבל האחרון בחברון היה ממשפחת קוואסמה. זו משפחה מאוד גדולה. בירושלים יש ה"חוסיינים", ה"נאשאשיבים" שקצת ירדו מנכסיהם, חאלדי, ועוד שתיים-שלוש משפחות. נוסייבה קצת פחות, שקעה ומסרי בשכם, וכן הלאה. אז הכרתי אותם כולם ונכנסתי עם כולם לשיחות פוליטיות ואת כולם שאלתי בסופו של דבר: "מה אתם רוצים? איך אתם רואים את העתיד שלכם? אתם רוצים לחזור לירדן? אתם רוצים להישאר אצל ישראל? אתם רוצים להקים מדינה משלכם?" בהתחלה רובם אמרו “ירדן". אבל כשקצת יותר דיברנו והתחיל להיווצר בינינו אמון, כולם בלי יוצא מן הכלל, אמרו: "אנחנו רוצים מדינה משלנו”. כולל ג'עברי שהיה שר בירדן. שר מושחת. זאת אומרת, מי שרצה להיות מורה, ידע שהוא צריך לשלם כך וככה דינר לשר ג’עברי.‏


But during the good years, I went a lot to the West Bank. After all, in every city in every Arab village and also in every Arab city there are three or four honourable families – large clans with thousands of family members who are the rulers and are represented in all the parties. So I looked for them and I made friends with all of them. With Jabari in Hebron and later with Qawasmeh. Qawasmeh is the head family to this day. The last terrorist in Hebron was from the Qawasmeh family. This is a very large family. In Jerusalem there are the Husseins, the Nashashibis who have lost their properties, Khalidi and another two or three families. Nusseibeh are somewhat less important, their status has dropped, Shakaa and Masarii in Nablus, and so on. So I knew them all and got into political discussions with them all and eventually I asked, 'What do you want? How do you see your future? Do you want to go back to Jordan? Do you want to stay in Israel? Do you want to establish your own country?' At first, most of them replied, 'Jordan'. But when we talked a little more and a trust started to form between us, everyone, without exception, said, 'We want our own state', including Jabari who was a minister in Jordan. A corrupt minister. What that means was that whoever wanted to be a teacher knew he had to pay a certain number of dinars to Minister Jabari.

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: West Bank, Jordan

Duration: 2 minutes, 19 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017