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al-Ramm: a focal point for protests


Hamas is born
Uri Avnery Social activist
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So the military government indulged the religious Muslims which propelled them into a hugely advantageous position, and that was that it was forbidden to conduct any political activity in the occupied territories – even peace activism was forbidden and people were sent to jail. The principle was that the Arabs must not be allowed to have any organized activity. However, you could not close the mosques and we could not prevent people from gathering in the mosques on Friday. Therefore, this activity of practicing Muslims was the only activity that was permitted and so, quietly, without the military government even being aware of it, I think, a very strong Muslim movement was established in the occupied territories, the West Bank and in Gaza. Gaza has always been more religious than the West Bank. Suddenly, the day after the outbreak of the First Intifada, it became clear that there was a great, strong, firm, militant Islamic movement calling itself Hamas. Hamas is the acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, which was more radical than Fatah because it was religious. For many years, for decades, I warned against this possibility. I said: 'Let's try to get along with the nationals, the PLO, because with the nationals one can reach a compromise − nationalism doesn't prevent compromise. With the religious, one has a much more serious problem because religion allows for a hudna − a truce, which is part of the religious perception. One can have a 50-year hudna, a long time, but it is impossible to make peace with religious fanatics. And I warned that this might happen for all of those years. I think I must have made hundreds of speeches, and now it has happened – Hamas exists there is resistance, Harakat al Muqāwama al Islāmiyya

הממשל הצבאי פינק את המוסלמים הדתיים ונתן להם מאונס יתרון עצום. והיתרון היה – אסור היה לנהל איזושהי פעולה פוליטית בשטחים הכבושים, אפילו פעולה למען השלום אסרו את האנשים ושלחו אותם לכלא. הפרינציפ היה – אסור לאפשר לערבים איזושהי פעילות מאורגנת. אבל, אי-אפשר היה לסגור את המסגדים ואי-אפשר למנוע מהם להתקהל במסגדים ביום שישי ולכן הפעולה של המוסלמים הייתה הפעולה היחידה שהייתה מותרת וככה בשקט, מבלי שהממשל הצבאי בכלל הרגיש בזה אני חושב, קמה תנועה מוסלמית חזקה מאוד בשטחים הכבושים, גם בגדה וגם בעזה. עזה תמיד הייתה יותר דתית מאשר הגדה המערבית. ופתאום, למחרת פרוץ האינתיפאדה הראשונה, התברר שיש תנועה איסלאמית גדולה, חזקה, תקיפה, מיליטנטית, שקראה לעצמה “חמאס". חמאס זה ראשי התיבות של תנועת ההתנגדות האיסלאמית, שהייתה יותר קיצונית מפת"ח מפני שהיא הייתה דתית. אני במשך המון שנים, עשרות שנים, הזהרתי בפני האפשרות הזאת. אמרתי – "בואו נסתדר עם הלאומיים, אש"ף, מפני שעם הלאומיים אפשר להגיע לפשרה, הלאומיות איננה מונעת פשרה. עם הדתיים יש בעיה הרבה יותר חמורה, מפני שלפי הדת, הדת מאפשרת הודנא – שביתת נשק, שזה חלק מהתפיסה הדתית. אפשר לעשות הודנא ל-50 שנה, זה זמן ארוך, אבל אי-אפשר לעשות שלום עם קנאים דתיים”. ואני הזהרתי כל השנים, אני חושב שנאמתי על זה מאות נאומים, והנה זה בא – יש חמאס, יש התנגדות, מקאוומה אל איסלאמיה".‏”

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: West Bank, Gaza

Duration: 3 minutes, 23 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017