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Coming under attack


The siege of Gaza
Uri Avnery Social activist
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נתחיל בזה שאני כמובן הייתי נגד המצור על רצועת עזה מאז ומעולם. אנחנו ב"גוש שלום" הבאנו כמה פעמים שיירות של מזון ודברי רפואה לגבול עזה אחרי הסכם עם הממשל הצבאי ונתנו להם לעבור ולא היו בעיות. אני בשום פנים ואופן עד הרגע הזה לא מבין מה הטעם במצור הזה. אם הכוונה היא למנוע העברת נשק ואמצעי לחימה, שזה אפשר להבין כל זמן שאנחנו במצב של סכסוך חמוש. אנחנו לא המצאנו את העולם, זה לא מצב בלתי רגיל. אתה יכול לעשות ביקורת או בנמל היציאה או בלב ים, איש לא מונע מחיל הים הישראלי לעצור אונייה או ספינה בלב ים, לערוך בה חיפוש ולתת לה ללכת. המצור הפיזי על עזה לא בא מצרכים בטחוניים, הוא בא כאמצעי של דיכוי, פשוט מאוד. כנ"ל הריסת נמל התעופה היפהפה שהיה קיים, שהם בנו שם, שכחתי מי בנה להם אותו. אף פעם לא ראיתי אותו.‏

דהאנייה, בדרום הרצועה, אבל אני אף פעם לא ראיתי אותו, חבל. לדעתי אין בזה היגיון, אלא היגיון של דיכוי. כך שאנחנו העברנו באופן סמלי כמה שיירות גדולות לרצועת עזה. כשבא המשט הזה לעזה, הגדול, שהכריזו עליו מראש, והודיעו עליו, האמת שהיה לי פיתוי מאוד חזק לעלות על האונייה התורכית הזאת. לא עשיתי את זה מפני שהם פרסמו את המצע הפוליטי שלהם, וזה היה מצע פוליטי קיצוני מאוד נגד שתי מדינות ובעד מדינה אחת ואני בשום פנים ואופן לא יכול להפגין תחת הסיסמא הזאת‏.‏

We'll start with the fact that I, of course, had always been against the siege of the Gaza Strip. We at Gush Shalom brought convoys of food and medicine to the Gaza border a couple of times after the agreement with the military government and these were allowed to cross; there were no problems. To this very day I have no idea what the point was of this siege. If the intention was to prevent the transfer of arms and weapons, it is understandable, because we were constantly immersed in armed conflict. We didn't invent the world; this is not an unusual situation. Transports could be inspected at the port of departure or at sea; nobody would prevent the Israeli navy from stopping a boat or a ship at sea, searching it and letting it go. The physical siege on Gaza wasn't for security purposes; it was instead, very simply, a means of oppression. Ditto in respect of demolishing the beautiful airport that was there, that they had built there – I forget who built it for them. I never saw it. Dahaniya, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip − but I never saw it, which is a shame. In my opinion, there is no logic except for the logic of oppression. So we symbolically transferred several large convoys to the Gaza Strip. When this flotilla came to Gaza, the large one, which had been announced in advance, and we were notified about it, the truth is that I had a very strong temptation to board this Turkish ship. I didn't do it because they had published their political platform which was a very extreme political platform against a two-state solution, and in favour of one state, and I absolutely could not demonstrate under such a slogan. 

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: Gaza

Duration: 3 minutes, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017