Magazine article Tikkun

An Interview with Uri Avnery

Magazine article Tikkun

An Interview with Uri Avnery

Article excerpt

AN INTERVIEW WITH Uri Avnery

TIKKUN proposed a series of questions to Uri Avnery that are often posed to us.

TIKKUN: Why is there so much hatred of Palestinians when the facts on the ground are the Occupation and Israel's overwhelming military superiority?

AVNERY: For generations the Jews were persecuted in many countries and developed the consciousness of victims. It could almost be said that most of the Jewish culture created during the last two or three centuries has revolved around this axis. The Holocaust, of course, strengthened this central motif even further.

The Zionist enterprise in Israel should have changed this pattern. After all, the Zionist penetration drove the Palestinians from their lands and turned most of them into refugees. In this historic struggle, the Palestinians lost: lands, villages, great parts of the country. This process is still going on daily.

Now the Palestinians have come and demanded for themselves the victim's crown of thorns. Nothing offends the Israelis more. It seems to us the height of chutzpah, an attack on the core of our national consciousness. Therefore we react with fury. We describe the Intifada as a malicious attack on our existence. We have brought back from the junkyard the slogans of past generations: the Arabs want to throw us into the sea, they want to take Haifa and Jaffa from us. Forgotten is the fact that we have the mightiest army in the region, that Israel within the Green Line possesses 78 percent of the country, that we now control the rest of the country (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) too, that we enjoy a vast superiority in almost all fields. Forgotten is the fact that the Palestinians demand for themselves a mere 22 percent of the country and that the Intifada is an uprising against an occupation that has been going on with increasing brutality for thirty-four years already.

TIKKUN: Didn't Peres join the Sharon government in order to save the peace accord?

AVNERY: When a Nobel Peace Prize laureate appears as Sharon's messenger, he creates the illusion that Sharon really wants peace, while Sharon himself says and does the opposite. Peres serves Sharon as a bulletproof vest, protecting him from the bullets of criticism, while Sharon continues with his policy of assassinations ("liquidations" in the Mafia-style slang of the occupation officers), destroys neighborhoods, and enlarges settlements, in the course of his war against the Palestinian people. In the tradition of the oldest profession, Peres offers his services for a price. It could be called Perestitution.

Let's take, for example, the "Egyptian-Jordanian initiative." It offers a simple deal: an end to the Palestinian uprising in return for an end to the settlement activity. Afterward the political negotiations will be resumed to bring about a final settlement within a year. Reasonable? Well, yes.

Sharon, a very unsophisticated man, rejected the proposal "out of hand". (Rejecting "out of hand" is the hallmark of Israeli-style masculinity.) Peres convinced him to adopt a more sophisticated method: to accept the proposal and to reject its contents. Of course Israel will stop the settlement activity, says Peres. The government has already declared in its "basic guidelines" that it will not build new settlements. But one must provide for "natural growth." Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Well, first, the "basic guidelines" are not worth the paper they are written on. They have no legal standing whatsoever.

Second, the talk about not setting up new settlements is manifestly mendacious. On the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip dozens of new settlements have been set up in the guise of new neighborhoods of old settlements.

Third, "natural growth" is an especially sophisticated lie. The government does not say "natural increase," which would mean houses for the children of the old settlers. "Natural growth" is something else altogether. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.