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.


My party gains a second seat in the Knesset


Held or occupied territories?
Uri Avnery Social activist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

היו בחירות רגילות, די נורמליות. זה היה כבר שנתיים אחרי המלחמה, היה הכיבוש, הכיבוש התחיל להתייצב, אנחנו דיברנו על מדינה פלסטינית בעיקר. הטרמינולוגיה השתנתה בהדרגה: לגמרי בהתחלה היה מלחמה בין "השטחים המוחזקים" ו"השטחים הכבושים". מבחינת החוק הבינלאומי אלה היו שטחים מוחזקים. למה מוחזקים? באנגלית זה נקרא Occupied Territories וכך גם בגרמנית ובצרפתית, בכל השפות. בעברית הבעייה "כבושים" יש לזה שתי משמעויות שונות, הדו-משמעות רודפת אותנו עד היום. אתה כובש שטח, השטח כבוש. אתה מחזיק אותו. אבל "כבוש" יש לזה גם משמעות אחרת: occupied באנגלית כולל את התחושה של הזמניות. בעברית אתה כובש שטח - השטח הוא כבוש. זה יכול להיות זמני, לפי החוק הבינלאומי, אבל "כבוש" זה גם שאתה מחזיק בזה, אתה כובש, אתה מדכא וכן הלאה. צה"ל לא אהב את הדו-משמעות הזאת וצה"ל המציא מילה חדשה: "מוחזק", שזה די דומה ל-occupied במובן הצבאי הצר. ואנחנו כולנו התחלנו לדבר על "שטח מוחזק" בשביל לשים את הדגש שזה זמני, לא שלנו, אנחנו מחזיקים. והימין התחיל לדבר "שטח כבוש”. והתחילה מלחמה בין המושגים האלה. ב"העולם הזה" לא תמצאי "שטח כבוש" בשום מקום, תמיד “מוחזק". ולאט-לאט אנחנו אימצנו את השטח “הכבוש", בשביל לשים דגש שזה שטח תחת דיכוי, תחת משטר עוין. ו"שטח כבוש" הפך למושג שלנו, של השמאל כאילו, והימין פחות ופחות אהב את זה. למרות שהימין התחיל במושג הזה ולאט-לאט הוא התחיל לא למצוא חן בעיניו והתחילו לדבר על "יהודה ושומרון”. ואם תשימי לב למה שקורה עכשיו בארץ, כולם מדברים על "יהודה ושומרון", כולל השמאל, כולל מפלגת העבודה, כולל מר"צ. "הגדה המערבית" זה מושג ירדני. ירדן, כמו שהיא הייתה לפני מלחמת שת הימים הייתה ירדן משני עברי הירדן והם היו צריכים מושג בשביל זה לכן לעבר הירדן קראו "הגדה המזרחית" וממערב לירדן – "הגדה המערבית". כשכבשנו את זה אנחנו דבקנו במושג הזה. דבקנו בשביל להילחם בכל המושגים שרמזו על סיפוח. ואנחנו מאז ועד היום משתמשים במושג "הגדה המערבית". ברגע שהתחיל הכיבוש, הימין התחיל לדבר על "יהודה ושומרון”. לקח לו מעט מאוד זמן, ולמעלה על "הגולן", ולמטה על "אופירה" וסיני. סיני זה בכל השפות. והקרב הזה הלשוני נמשך למעשה עד היום. כשאני שומע את הרצוג מדבר על יהודה ושומרון אני כל פעם מזדעזע מחדש. לאנשים אין להם בכלל תחושה לשפה. מה השפה אומרת? שפה יוצרת עובדות.‏

The elections were normal, quite normal. It was already two years after the war, there was the occupation which had started to stabilise, and we talked primarily about a Palestinian state.

[Q] Did you call it occupation from the start?

The terminology changed gradually: initially, it was a battle between the 'held areas' and the 'occupied territories'. In terms of international law these were held areas. Why 'held'? In English it is referred to as occupied territories, as it is in German, French and all other languages. In Hebrew there is a problem with the word 'occupied'. In Hebrew it has two different meanings, and the ambiguity haunts us to this day. You occupy an area, the area is occupied. You hold it. But occupied also has another meaning: occupied in English includes the sense of being impermanent. In Hebrew you occupy an area – the area is occupied. It can be temporary, according to international law, but occupied also means that you hold it, you have conquered it, you oppress it and so on. The IDF didn't like the ambiguity so the IDF invented a new word: 'held' is quite similar to 'occupied' in the narrow military sense.

And we all started talking about 'held territory' to emphasize that it is temporary, not ours, we are just 'holding' it. The right-wing began to speak about 'occupied territory' and a war started between these concepts. In HaOlam HaZeh you would not find the term 'occupied territory' anywhere, it was always 'held'. But slowly we adopted 'occupied territory' to emphasize that it is an area under oppression, under a hostile regime. And occupied territory became our term - that of the left-wing - and the right-wing liked it less and less. Although the right had coined this term, slowly they started not to like it, and started talking about Judea and Samaria.  And if you pay attention to what is happening now in Israel, everyone is talking about Judea and Samaria, including the left, including the Labour Party, including Meretz.

[Q] Where does the term 'West Bank' come from?

The West Bank is a Jordanian term. Jordan - as it was before the Six Day War - Jordan was on both sides of the River Jordan and they needed a term for it, so they called Transjordan the East Bank and to the west of the Jordan the West Bank. When we occupied it we kept this name in order to combat any terms that suggested annexation. And to this day we use the term West Bank. As soon as the occupation began, the right began to talk about Judea and Samaria. It didn't take very long – to the north the Golan Heights and to the south Ophira and Sinai. It is called Sinai in all languages. And this linguistic battle continues to this very day. When I hear [Isaac] Herzog talking about Judea and Samaria I feel a new sense of shock each time. People have no sense of language. What does language do? Language creates facts.

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: Judea, Samaria, West Bank, HaOlam HaZeh, Meretz, Golan Heights, Ophifa, Sinai, Isaac "Bougie" Herzog

Duration: 5 minutes, 8 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017