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Golda Meir rejects Egyptian peace deal


A one-woman ministry of information
Uri Avnery Social activist
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ומאז אני הכרתי את רימונדה. ביקרתי אותה הרבה פעמים. היא מאוד מצאה חן בעיניי. היא הייתה אשה מאוד עצמאית. בעלה הקשיש הסתכל עליה כעל חיה מוזרה שהזדמנה לביתו, נתן לה חופש מוחלט. ורימונדה לימים נסעה לחו"ל לבד. בשביל אשה ערבייה זה דבר מאוד-מאוד לא מקובל, בייחוד עם בעל כזה מסורתי, והתיידדתי אתה מאוד. המשפחה עברה אח"כ משכם לרמאללה והייתי ממש אורח קבוע. היא וארבעת הבנות ובן. בנות נחמדות אחת-אחת, והכרתי אותן בתור ילדות, את אשתו של ערפאת, לימים, הרבה אחרי זה[1]. רימונדה הייתה קוץ בתחת לכיבוש. רימונדה לא פחדה מאף אחד. היא עשתה מה שהיא רוצה ואחרי שהיא עברה לרמאללה פעם אחת היא עשתה משהו בלתי נסבל אז שמו עליה מעצר בית. וביקרתי אותה במעצר בית והלכתי כתבתי מכתב לשר הבטחון, היה כבר עזר ויצמן, ולשמעון פרס, לפני זה שמעון פרס כשר בטחון, ובאמת בסופו של דבר שחררו אותה. ורימונדה הפכה למשרד הסברה של אשה אחת. אי-אפשר לתאר את זה. לבית שלה נכנסו ויצאו עיתונאים מכל העולם, כל שעות היום. והבנות התרגלו לשרת את כולם, להביא להם קפה ועוגות ודברים כאלה. והיא פתחה משרד עיתונות במזרח ירושלים והמשיכה שמה. כל עיתונאי זר שבא לארץ אמרו לו עוד בחוץ לארץ: "אתה רוצה לקבל מידע מהצד הערבי? לך לרימונדה טאוויל". הכרתי שם המון עיתונאים זרים אגב, אצלה במשרד. והיא הייתה ממש קוץ בתחת. היא הייתה יחידה במינה. ואני מוכרח לומר: העם הפלסטיני לא גמל לה. היא שירתה את העם הפלסטיני לדעתי במשך כמה שנים שירות שלא היה לו תחליף. לא היה אף אדם אחר בציבור הפלסטיני שהיה מסוגל לעשות מה שהיא עשתה. והיא הביאה את העניין הפלסטיני לכל העולם.‏‎

I have known Raymonda since then. I visited her many times. I really liked her. She was a very independent woman. Her elderly husband regarded her like a strange animal that had come into his house, and he gave her complete freedom. Raymonda later went abroad alone. For an Arab woman that is something very, very unusual, especially with such a traditional husband, and I became very friendly with her. The family later moved from Nablus to Ramallah and I was quite a regular visitor. She and their four daughters and a son. All of the girls were very nice. I knew them as children, and the wife of Arafat later, much later. Raymonda was a pain in the ass to the occupation. Raymonda was not afraid of anyone. She did what she wanted and when she moved to Ramallah she once did something intolerable so they put her under house arrest. I visited her during her house arrest and I wrote a letter to the Minister of Defence, who at that time was Ezer Weizman and to Shimon Peres – before that Shimon Peres had been Minister of Defence – and actually, they ended up releasing her. Raymonda became a one-woman ministry of information. It is impossible to describe. Journalists from around the world came to her house at all hours of the day and the girls got used to serving all of them, bringing them coffee and cakes and things like that. She opened a newspaper office in East Jerusalem and continued there. All of the foreign journalists who came to Israel were told while they were still abroad: 'You want to get information from the Arab side? Go to Raymonda Tawil'. I met a lot of foreign journalists there, by the way, in her office. She was a real pain in the ass. She was unique. I have to say that the Palestinian people didn't compensate her. In my opinion she provided the Palestinian people with many years of exceptional service. There was nobody else in the Palestinian population who was able to do what she did. She made the Palestinian cause known to the entire world.

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: Ramallah, Palestinian, Nablus, Raymonda Tawil Hawa, Ezer Weizman, Shimon Peres, Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa, Yasser Arafat

Duration: 3 minutes, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017