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.


Diplomacy scuppered by a joke


Meeting of VIPs
Uri Avnery Social activist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

וכאמור, כשנוצר המגע עם סארטאווי הוא התנדב. הוא, זה תמיד הקבוצה הגדולה שהיה להם וילה, אחד מהם הייתה לו וילה נהדרת ברמבוייה, ליד פריז כולם היו עשירים כקורח והם פרסו את חסותם על הפגישות האלה. והפגישה הראשונה, שבה לא הייתי, הייתה ברמבוייה. רמבוייה זה הווילה הגדולה שגרו בה. לא סתם נפגשו, כי אם הפגישות נמשכו כמה ימים, אז היו גם ישנים שם. ואני יודע רק ממה שסיפרו לי מה שקרה שם. הייתה פגישה טובה והצטרף לעניין אדם מאוד מאוד חשוב, פייר מנדס פראנס, שהיה יהודי ממוצא טוניסי, סוציאליסט, שהיה ראש ממשלת צרפת, היה ראש אחת המפלגות בצרפת. יהודי ספרדי אופייני כזה, חכם כמו לא יודע מה. ממש יהודי חכם. והוא גם נרתם למאמץ הזה. ומנדס פראנס היה קשור עם בורגיבה נשיא טוניס. הוא רצה להפגיש את לובה, שהוא היה כאילו הכי בכיר בקבוצה הזאת, מפני שהוא היה מזכ"ל לשעבר של מפא”י. לא הולך ברגל. ומנדס פראנס החליט שהוא רוצה להפגיש את לובה עם בורגיבה. לובה אליאב היה עוף מוזר כפי שנוכחתי לדעת הרבה פעמים. במקום לקפוץ על ההצעה הזאת כפי שאני הייתי - לא הייתי מחכה אפילו לקנות כרטיס, הייתי עולה על מטוס - הוא סירב להיפגש בחשאי. רק לפרסום. לובה, שהיה איש מאוד צנוע, וכמו אנשים מאוד צנועים לעיתים קרובות הוא גם היה אגו מניאק, והוא רצה שאם הוא עושה דבר כזה מהפכני אז שהעולם ידע. בורגיבה סירב להיפגש בפומבי וככה לא יצא כלום מהיוזמה הזאת. חזרו לארץ וסיפרו ניסים ונפלאות על סרטאווי כמה שהוא מרשים וכו’. וכעבור כמה חודשים הייתה פגישה שנייה עם סרטאווי והפעם גם אני הייתי שם עם מאיר פעיל, מתי פלד ויעקב ארנון כמובן. מתי פלד ויעקב ארנון זה היה בלתי נפרד, אם בא אחד גם בא השני.‏

As I said, when contact was established with Sartawi, [Henri Curiel's] group volunteered. Is it always the largest group that has the villa? One of them had a wonderful villa in Rambouillet near Paris, where everyone was extremely rich and they provided sponsorship for these meetings. The first session, which I did not attend, was in Rambouillet. Rambouillet was this large villa where they resided. They did not simply meet, but the meetings continued for several days, and they also slept there. I only know what they told me about what happened there. It was a good meeting and a very, very important person joined in, Pierre Mendès-France, who was a Jew born in Tunisia, a socialist, who was the Prime Minister of France, and was the leader of one of the parties in France. A typical Spanish Jew, extremely bright. A really smart Jew. He also became involved in this effort. And Mendès-France was connected with the Tunisian President, Bourguiba. He wanted to introduce him to Lova, who was the most senior person in this group because he was the former Secretary General of the party. Not inconsequential. Mendès-France decided that he wanted to introduce Lova to Bourguiba. Lova Eliav was a strange bird as I observed many times. Instead of jumping at this proposal as I would have − I would not even have waited to purchase a ticket, I would have jumped on a plane − he refused to meet clandestinely. Only for the publicity. Lova, who was a very, very modest individual, and as people who are very modest often are, he was also an egomaniac. He wanted − if he would do something as revolutionary as that − he wanted the whole world to know. Bourguiba refused to meet publicly and so nothing came of this initiative. They returned to Israel and told all sorts of wonderful things about Sartawi, how impressive he was, etc, and a few months later there was a second meeting with Sartawi and this time I was there together with Meir Pa'il, Matti Peled and Ya'akov Arnon, of course. Matti Peled and Ya'akov Arnon were inseparable − if one came so did the other.

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: Rambouillet, Issam Sartawi, Habib Bourguiba, Lova Eliav, Matti Peled, Ya’akov Arnon, Pierre Mendès-France

Duration: 3 minutes, 48 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017