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Issam Sartawi receives death threats


Two hats for Arafat
Uri Avnery Social activist
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בינואר 83', מיד אחרי המלחמה אנחנו נסענו לטוניס להיפגש אתו שם. "אנחנו" זה "שלושת המוסקטרים" – התמסדה שלישייה לכל המגעים עם אש"ף מטעם "המועצה הישראלית למען שלום ישראלי-פלסטיני” - והשלישייה הייתה חוץ ממני מתי פלד ויעקב ארנון. ועבדנו מצויין יחד. היינו שלושה טיפוסים לגמרי שונים אחד מהשני ולכן זה עבד מצויין, עבד טוב. סרטאווי סידר פגישה עם ערפאת בטוניס וטסנו לטוניס. הייתה בעיה – עם איזה דרכונים? אז כשטסנו למרוקו, שאני עוד אספר, טסנו עם ניירות מזויפים שהמלך הורה להוציא לנו. לטוניס טסנו בלי ניירות בכלל כי איש אש"ף היה בנמל התעופה ושם היה כנראה שיתוף פעולה מאוד הדוק בין אש"ף ובין ממשלת טוניסיה, ופשוט קיבל אותנו בנמל התעופה, הביא אותנו למלון ונפגשנו עם ערפאת. ויש תמונה מפורסמת, שתי תמונות מפורסמות שכולנו יושבים יחד, יעקב ארנון, אני, ערפאת, מתי פלד, אבו מאזן ועימאד שאקור, שהיה המתרגם העברי של אש"ף מכפר סכנין. למה אני צוחק על התמונות? יש שתי תמונות של אותה פגישה, וזה כמו משחק של ילדים שיש שתי תמונות ואומרים: "תמצא את ההבדל”. אלה שתי תמונות זהות לחלוטין חוץ מפרט קטן אחד, והפרט הוא שבאמצע הפגישה ערפאת נזכר שהוא חובש כפייה, אבל בעצם הוא רצה לחבוש את כובע הפרווה שהיה לו שזה היה הכובע הרשמי שלו כמפקד כוחות אש”ף. אז יש תמונה אחת עם הכפייה ותמונה שנייה, אותה תמונה בדיוק עם הכובע של מפקד כוחות אש"ף.‏

In January 1983, immediately after the war, we went to Tunis to meet [Arafat]. By 'we' I mean the  'three Musketeers' – a trio set up for the purpose of dealing with the PLO on behalf of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace − made up of me, of Matti Peled and Ya'akov Arnon. We worked together perfectly. We were three personality types who were entirely different from each other and so it worked superbly, it worked really well.

[Issam] Sartawi arranged a meeting with Arafat in Tunis and we flew to Tunis. There was a problem – which passport should we use? When we flew to Morocco, which I will still talk about, we flew on false papers that the King had instructed be issued for us. We flew to Tunisia without papers, because the PLO representative was at the airport and there must have been very close cooperation between the PLO and the government of Tunisia; he simply collected us at the airport, brought us to the hotel and we met Arafat. There is a famous photograph, two famous photographs, where we were all sitting together: Ya'akov Arnon, me, Yasser Arafat, Matti Peled, Abu Mazen and Imad Shakur, who was the PLO's Hebrew translator from the village of Sakhnin. Why am I laughing in the photographs? There are two pictures of the meeting, and it's like the children's game of 'Spot the difference'. These two images are completely identical except for one small detail, namely, in the middle of the meeting, Arafat recalled that he was wearing his keffiyeh, but he actually wanted to wear the fur hat that had been his official cap as the commander of the PLO forces. So there is one picture of him wearing the keffiyeh and a second identical picture, in which he's wearing the hat of a PLO commander.

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: Tunis, Matti Peled, Ya’akov Arnon, Issam Sartawi, Abu Mazen, Omad Shakur, Yasser Arafat

Duration: 3 minutes, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017