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Shin Bet’s advice on how to conduct meetings with the PLO
Uri Avnery Social activist
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Let's get back to the meeting with Rabin. I told him: 'With all due respect, it seems to me that this approach does not make sense'. We parted amicably. And as we were already standing at the door and we were saying goodbye, he said: 'Look, I am opposed to these meetings of yours, but I do not forbid them; if you hear something at these meetings that you think the Prime Minister of Israel should know, my door is always open'. I think that was typical of Rabin. He also said something else: 'One thing − I want you to meet with the head of the Shin Bet and the head of the Shin Bet will advise you about what you must not do, in order to stay within the law'. So I went, I met with the head of the Shin Bet whose name was Achituv, a very sympathetic man. You know that the Shin Bet and I had conducted rather devastating battles. We sat down and he told me: 'You must have all of your telephone conversations with the PLO from your phone at home, not from telephone kiosks and not from anywhere secretive. Also, you must not use code. Everything must be in clear, simple and good Hebrew'.  And some other instructions that never bothered me, not at all − quite the contrary. This was how I got the blessing of the Shin Bet. They never asked me to report to them, not by any means, but they knew that I would report to Rabin, so to all intents and purposes it was the same thing. And that was how we continued, Said Hammami and I, during 1974 and 1975.

נחזור לפגישה עם רבין. אמרתי לו: "עם כל הכבוד זה נראה לי לא הגיוני הגישה הזאת". נפרדנו בידידות, כשעמדנו כבר בדלת ונפרדנו הוא אמר: "תראה, אני מתנגד לפגישות האלה שלך, אבל אני לא אוסר אותן, ואם בפגישות האלה אתה תשמע משהו שאתה חושב שראש ממשלת ישראל צריך לדעת, הדלת שלי פתוחה”. זה לדעתי היה אופייני לרבין. ועוד הוא אמר לי משהו: "דבר אחד, אני רוצה שתיפגש עם ראש השב"כ וראש השב"כ יסביר לך מה אסור לך לעשות כדי להישאר במסגרת החוק". אז הלכתי, נפגשתי עם ראש השב"כ ששמו היה אחיטוב, איש מאוד סימפטי. ואת הרי יודעת שהשב"כ ואני היו לנו מלחמות כמעט עד לאובדן, אולי כן. וישבנו והוא הסביר לי: "אתה צריך להשתמש בכל השיחות הטלפוניות שלך עם אנשי אש"ף בטלפון שלך בבית. לא מתא טלפונים ולא ממקום נסתר. בי״ת, אתה לא משתמש בצופן, הכל בעברית פשוטה וטובה”. ועוד כמה הוראות כאלה שבכלל לא הפריעו לי, לגמרי לא, להיפך. ועם זה קיבלתי את הברכה של השב”כ. הם לא דרשו ממני לדווח להם, בכלל לא, אבל ידעו שאני אדווח לרבין כך שמבחינה מסוימת זה היה אותו הדבר. וככה אנחנו המשכנו, סעיד חמאמי ואני במהלך 74' ובמהלך 75’.‏

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: Yizhak Rabin, Said Hammami

Duration: 2 minutes, 54 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017