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No pig deserves to reach this age


No chance for peace in Jerusalem
Uri Avnery Social activist
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And so it went on for years. The relationship [with Faisal Husseini] was great; this was the Palestinian, I think, who was closest to me of all the Palestinians there, unlike Issam Sartawi, who was abroad. At the end, during a visit to one of the emirates in the Persian Gulf, Faisal suddenly died of asthma. Like I said, to me it looked suspicious, it still seems to me to be fishy but I have no proof to back this up. The body was taken to Israel, of course, and I was invited to the funeral. Before the funeral there was a kind of 'eulogy gathering' − if one can call it that − at which I was asked to speak in Hebrew, although they asked me not to attend the funeral procession. He was buried in the Muslim cemetery on the Temple Mount. His death was not only a personal loss; I believe that it was also a very great loss for the Palestinian cause, because he was a true leader. He was the undisputed leader of the Arab community in Jerusalem. He was a gentle man, he understood the problem from both sides, he thought about and planned how to promote the cause of peace. Towards the end he conducted a hunger strike in Har Homa and I visited him there. They say no one is irreplaceable, but he left a vacuum behind him. No other leader emerged for the Arab public in Jerusalem after his death and Israel closed Orient House, which had been the practical and spiritual centre of the Arab population of Israel, and thus lost the chance for making peace in Jerusalem, which is such a pity.

וככה זה נמשך שנים. היו יחסים נהדרים, זה היה הפלסטיני שאני חושב שהיה הכי קרוב אלי מהפלסטינים במקום. שלא כמו עיסאם סרטאווי שהיה מחוץ לארץ. בסוף, בעת ביקור באחת הנסיכויות במפרץ הפרסי, הוא פתאום מת מאסטמה. כאמור, זה נראה לי חשוד, זה עדיין נראה לי חשוד אבל אין לי שום אסמכתא לפקפק בזה. והביאו את הגופה כמובן לארץ והזמינו אותי להלווייה. לפני ההלווייה הייתה מין עצרת הספד, אם אפשר לקרוא לזה ככה בעברית, שבה הוזמנתי לשאת דברים בעברית, אבל ביקשו אותי לא לבוא למסע ההלווייה. הוא נקבר בבית העלמין המוסלמי על הר הבית. מותו היה לא רק אבידה אישית, היא הייתה בעיניי אבידה גדולה מאוד לעניין הפלסטיני, מפני שהוא היה מנהיג אמיתי. הוא היה המנהיג הבלתי מעורער של הציבור הערבי בירושלים. הוא היה איש מתון, הבין את הבעיה על שני הצדדים שלה, חשב ותכנן איך לקדם את עניין השלום. לקראת הסוף הוא ערך שביתת רעב בהר חומה, ביקרתי אותו שם. אומרים שאין אדם שאין לו תחליף, אבל הוא השאיר אחריו חלל ריק. לא קם מנהיג שני לציבור הערבי בירושלים ואחרי מותו ישראל סגרה את האוריינט האוס, שהוא היה המרכז המעשי והרוחני של הציבור הערבי בירושלים, וככה אבד הסיכוי לעשות שלום בירושלים, וחבל.‏

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: Orient House, Jerusalem, Faissal Husseini

Duration: 3 minutes, 45 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017