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Saving Abu Ghosh


Martial law but only for Arabs
Uri Avnery Social activist
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צד אחר, חשוב לא  פחות, אולי אפילו יותר, היה העניין של הציבור הערבי בישראל עצמה. במהלך המלחמה הממשלה הטילה ממשל צבאי על כל האזורים הערביים בארץ. זאת אומרת על הגליל, על המשולש ועל הנגב. הממשל הצבאי צריך לחול על אזור, אבל לא, הוא הוחל רק על הערבים באזור. היהודים, הכפר היהודי השכן, הקיבוץ וזה כמובן, לא ידע מזה. והיה מושל יהודי בכל כפר ערבי ובאזור מושל כללי. והערבים, היום קשה אפילו לדמיין את זה, ערבי שרצה להגיע נגיד מאום אל פחם לקלנסואה, כפר שכן, היה זקוק לרישיון חד-פעמי, לביקור אחד. ערבי שרצה טרקטור לקנות, היה צריך רישיון מהמושל הצבאי, במישרין או בעקיפין. ואנחנו לחמנו נגד הדבר הזה, אני הייתי מאוד קרוב לזה. היה לי חבר טוב, שהיה מושל צבאי. למה? היה קשה מאוד למצוא אנשים שיודעים ערבית. אתה לא יכולת להיות מושל צבאי ולא לדעת איך לדבר עם הנתינים שלך. אז היו כמה אנשים מהשמאל הקיצוני, מימי הישוב, שלמדו ערבית. מעטים מאוד. דווקא אלה הפכו למושלים צבאיים מפני שידעו ערבית. ויהודים עיראקים התחילו לבוא, שידעו ערבית היטב. ואני הסתובבתי הרבה בכפרים הערביים.‏


Another aspect, equally important if not more so, was the matter of the Arab population in Israel itself. During the war, the government imposed martial law on all Arab areas in Israel. That means Galilee, the 'Triangle' and the Negev. It was supposed to exist throughout the whole area, but instead it applied only to the Arabs in the region. The Jews, the neighboring Jewish villages, the kibbutzim and so on, knew nothing about it. And there was a Jewish governor in every Arab village and a Governor General for the entire region. And the Arabs, even today it is difficult to imagine that an Arab who wanted to go let's say from Umm al-Fahm to Qalansuah, a neighboring village, needed a one-off permit, for one visit. An Arab who wanted to buy a tractor would, directly or indirectly, require a license from the military governor. We fought against this thing: I was very involved with that. I had a good friend who was a military governor. Why? It was very difficult to find people who knew Arabic. You cannot be a military governor and not know how to talk with your citizens. So there were some people from the far left, from the days of the settlement, who learned Arabic. Very few. So it was these people who became military governors because they knew Arabic. And the Iraqi Jews started coming, they knew Arabic well. And I visited the Arab villages a lot.

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: martial law, Arabs, military governor, settlement

Duration: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017