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Rachel, the lioness


al-Ramm: a focal point for protests
Uri Avnery Social activist
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חמאס זה "חרכת מקאומה איסלאמייה" – תנועת ההתנגדות האיסלאמית. והיה המנהיג הנכה, השייח' יאסין, שהיה המנהיג הבלתי מעורער.  התנועה קמה בסוף 87', מיד עם פרוץ האינתיפאדה הראשונה, והיו לה סניפים בגדה. ואת התנועה אסרו. ובירושלים עמד בראשה אדם יפה תואר אני חושב, עם זקן אדום. למה זקן אדום? הוא לא היה ג'ינג'י, הזקן שלו מטבעו היה שחור, אבל יש מסורת שהנביא עליו השלום צבע את שערו לאדום, בחֵנה אני חושב, ושייח' אבו תייר, מנהיג החמאס בירושלים, גם צבע את זקנו לאדום ובתור שכזה היה מין הסמל המסחרי שלו. אני הכרתי אותו באחת ההפגנות בא-ראם, שהיא פרבר של ירושלים בואך שועפאט ובואך קלנדיה. ובא-ראם התחילה מסורת של הפגנות נגד החומה שעמדה לקום שם ושהיא עמדה לחצות את א-ראם לשתיים, ממש כמו סכין חותכת באוכלוסייה הערבית. ו"גוש שלום" אימץ לעצמו את המאבק הזה. במהלך המאבק הזה קודם כל הכרנו בחור צעיר שמאוד-מאוד-מאוד התחברנו אתו, סירחאן סליימה. כל הסליימים הם משפחה/חמולה מחברון, ומכיוון שחברון לא יכלה לפרנס את כל החמולות הגדולות האלה, הרבה חברונים היגרו לירושלים ולמעשה התיישבו בא-ראם שהיא פרבר של ירושלים.‏

Hamas is an acronym of Harakat al-Muqāwama al-Islāmiyya − the Islamic Resistance Movement. There was their crippled leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, who was the undisputed leader. The movement was founded at the end of 1987, at the outbreak of the First Intifada, and had branches in the West Bank. Although the movement was banned, in Jerusalem it was led by a man, a handsome man, I think, with a red beard. Why a red beard? He was not a redhead, his beard was naturally black, but there is a tradition that the Prophet, may he rest in peace, had dyed his hair red with henna, I think, and Sheikh Abu Tir, the leader of Hamas in Jerusalem, also dyed his beard red and this became a kind of trademark of his. I met him at a rally in al-Ramm, which is a suburb of Jerusalem on the way to Shuafat and also to Qalandia.

A tradition started in al-Ramm of demonstrations against the building of the barrier wall which was going to be erected there and which was going to cut al-Ramm in two, just like a knife slicing through the Arab population. Gush Shalom adopted this struggle. During this struggle we met a young man with whom we were really able to connect, Sirhan Saleima. All of the Saleimas belong to a clan from Hebron, and because Hebron was not able to support all of these major clans, many migrated from Hebron to Jerusalem and actually settled in al-Ramm which is a suburb of Jerusalem.

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: Hamas, West Bank, Jerusalem, al-Ramm, Gush Shalom

Duration: 3 minutes, 46 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017