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Yasser Arafat arrives in Gaza


Hamas welcomes back deported Islamic radicals
Uri Avnery Social activist
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נחזור ליאסר ערפאת. אולי קודם עוד נגמור את העניין עם גירוש האיסלאמים. המצב היה בלתי אפשרי, הם ישבו על הגבול בין שתי המדינות, כל העולם התחיל לדבר על זה כמה שזה בלתי אנושי, ורבין החליט בסוף להחזיר אותם. אני הייתי די סקרן מה יקרה. הם חזרו. והחברים שלהם בעזה, שהייתי מיודד אתם מקודם, ד"ר א-זהאר, שהייתי אתו בקשר עוד קודם, האוהדים שלהם, אלה שאח"כ הפכו לחמאס, החליטו לעשות אסיפה גדולה באולם הכי גדול בעזה, אל שאווה, ואני קיבלתי הזמנה! אני ורחל, והייתה לנו נערה עיוורת שהייתה באוהל כל הזמן, עיוורת לגמרי, והוזמנו שלושתנו, אולי עוד אחד או שניים, לבוא לקבלת הפנים לחוזרים. והנה אני יושב באולם אל שאווה בעזה. ולא חלמתי על זה שיזמינו אותי לדבר אבל כן, הזמינו אותי, ואת העיוורת, שעשתה עליהם רושם עז. ואני נאמתי. ואני עומד, לפני איזה 500 שייח'ים מוסלמים מאדוקים עד אדוקים מאוד, והם קיבלו אותי ומחאו כפיים וזאת הייתה חוויה מאוד יפה. ואח"כ הייתה ארוחת צהריים, והזמינו אותי עם מנהיגי החוזרים לשבת לשולחן אחד ולאכול. הייתה לי חוויה מאוד רצינית ומאז אני כבר לא מאמין לשום סיפור מהסיפורים הרשמיים על חמאס. וזה היה למעשה הסוף של הסיפור של האוהל.

Back to Yasser Arafat. Perhaps we'll just finish the story about the deportation of the Islamic radicals. Their situation was impossible. They were stuck on the border between the two countries and the whole world had started talking about it, about how inhumane it was, so Rabin eventually decided to bring them back. I was curious to see what would happen next. They came back and their friends in Gaza with whom I was already friends, Dr al-Zahar, with whom I had contact, their supporters, those who later became Hamas, decided to hold a big meeting in Gaza, the biggest, Al Shawa, and I was invited! Rachel and I – we had a blind girl, completely blind, who stayed in the tent all the time, and they invited the three of us with maybe one or two others, to come to the reception for the returnees. There I was, sitting in the hall of Al Shawa in Gaza. I had never even dreamed that I would be invited to speak but I was with the blind girl, who made a strong impression on them. I made a speech. I was standing before some 500 devout and very devout Muslim sheikhs, and they accepted me and applauded and it was a very positive experience. Then there was a lunch, and I was invited with the leaders of the returnees to sit at one table and to eat with them. I had an extremely serious experience and ever since then I do not believe any of the official stories that are told about Hamas. And that was, in fact, the end of the story about the tent.

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: Yitzhak Rabin

Duration: 3 minutes, 35 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017