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Martial law but only for Arabs


Who is the real enemy?
Uri Avnery Social activist
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Another cause that was important to us was the cause of peace. It really consumed me, and HaOlam HaZeh devoted more and more energy to it. Why more and more? Because at first I was scared. I was afraid of losing readers. I wanted those from the Kesari era to remain with HaOlam HaZeh and so I introduced this subject in very small doses. But it came out into the open in 1954 when the Chief of Staff of the British Army visited Jordan. The Jordanian army, the Arab Legion, was under the command of an English officer. He was called Glubb Pasha. And somehow this visit upset the Arabs in the West Bank which was under Jordanian rule. Riots erupted throughout the West Bank, beyond the border. Then HaOlam HaZeh published an article entitled: Who is the real enemy? And said, 'This is our big opportunity to achieve peace, to help the Arabs in the West Bank rise up against the Jordanian regime, to give them weapons, a broadcasting station and money, so that they can rise up and declare independence and become an Arab state alongside Israel. Arab-Palestinian'. I do not know if the word 'Palestinian' was already common. We had to get used to the word 'Palestinian' because initially the Palestinians were also Jews. We were all Palestinians. Ever since that day, HaOlam HaZeh had openly preached, on a weekly basis, the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip which would be under Egyptian rule. And it became a kind of obsession for HaOlam HaZeh. We devoted a lot of effort to this cause. We got hold of Arab newspapers that were not available in Israel, via London, the Arab pictorial newspapers with photographs, especially the Egyptian ones, and we brought a lot of pictures from the Arab world, especially from Egypt.

 בעיה אחרת, חשובה שלנו, היה עניין השלום. זה ממש בער בעצמותיי, ו"העולם הזה" הקדיש לזה יותר ויותר מרץ. מדוע יותר ויותר? מפני שבהתחלה אני פחדתי. פחדתי לאבד את הקוראים, שרציתי שיישארו ב"העולם הזה" מתקופת קיסרי ולכן הכנסתי את העניין הזה במנות מאוד קטנות. זה יצא מהמחבוא ב-1954. ב-54' ראש המטה של הצבא הבריטי ביקר בירדן. הצבא הירדני, הלגיון הערבי היה תחת פיקוד של קצין אנגלי. גלאב פאשה קראו לו. והביקור הזה איכשהו הסעיר את הערבים בגדה המערבית תחת שלטון ירדן. התחילו מהומות בכל רחבי הגדה המערבית מעבר לגבול. ואז "העולם הזה" יצא במאמר תחת הכותרת: "מי האויב בעצם?" ואמר: "זאת ההזדמנות הגדולה שלנו להגיע לשלום. צריכים לעזור לערבים בגדה להתקומם נגד השלטון הירדני, לתת להם נשק, תחנת שידור וכסף, כדי שיתקוממו ויכריזו על עצמאות ותהיה מדינה ערבית לצד מדינת ישראל. ערבית-פלסטינית.” לא יודע אם המילה "פלסטינית" כבר הייתה שגורה. היינו צריכים להתרגל למילה “פלסטינית", מפני שבהתחלה הפלסטינים היו גם היהודים. כולנו היינו פלסטינים. מאז אותו יום "העולם הזה" בגלוי הטיף שבוע-שבוע להקמת מדינה פלסטינית בגדה וברצועת עזה שהייתה תחת שלטון מצרי. וזה הפך לאובססיה של "העולם הזה" כאילו. הקדשנו לזה הרבה מאוד מאמצים. השגנו עיתונים ערביים שלא היו קיימים בארץ, דרך לונדון, את העיתונים המצוירים הערביים, עם הצילומים, בייחוד המצריים, והבאנו המון תמונות מהעולם הערבי, בעיקר ממצרים.‏

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: HaOlam HaZeh, Jordan

Duration: 3 minutes, 1 second

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017