Interview with Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery (Germany 1923). Is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement, he was member of Knesset (Israeli Parlament in 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981). He was a member of the Irgun as a teenager and fought in the First Arab-Israeli War (1948-1949), in wich he was wounded. He spent the last months of the war convalescing. Later of this he became the owner of HaOlam HaZeh, an Israeli news magazine, from 1950 until it closed in 1993. In 1993 Uri Avnery founded Gush Shalom Organization (an Israeli peace activist group). He is the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict like My Friend, the Enemy (1986), Israel Without Zionists: A Plea for Peace in the Middle East (1968), 1 against 119 (1969), Svástica (1961). MBC Times and Koldo Salazar had the pleasure to talk him. (Photo: NervousEnergy)
1) How someone change from being a member of Irgun to being an antizionist?
I am not an anti-Zionist. I am a post-Zionist. I believe that Zionism has fulfulled its mission with the creation of the State of Israel (1948) and is now counter-productive.
2) You fought in the First Arab-Israeli War. What can you say about the Deir Yassin massacre?
Deir Yassin was not apart of the war, but a rogue operation by people outside the army.
3) You have lived since the foundation of Israel until now. Why Israel does not respect International Rights and continues occupying Golan from Siria and Cisjordania from the Palestinians?
That is a very complicated question. No easy answer. I have written several books about it.
4) During three legislative periods (1965-1969, 1969-1973, 1979-1981) you have been a member of the Knesset. Which is the internal policy within the parties represented in it?
I don't understand the question.
5) In 1993 you founded Gush Shalom organization, a very important one in Israel history. Can you explain roughly which is the policy of this organization?
Gush Shalom fights for peace between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, which must come into being.
6) In 13th September 2003, along with other members supporting peace in the area you decided to protect the Palestine presidency building in Ramallah with your own body. Why did you decided to do so?
I believed and believe that Yasser Arafat could have made peace with Israel. His death (or murder, I believe) was a blow to the chances of peace.
7) What is your opinion about Israel being exposed internationally as a democratic country and at the same time is putting Palestinians under military jurisdiction, with risk of being under administrative detentions and suffering an “apartheid”?
The West Bank is an occupied territory under military rule, according to international law. I believe that it should be turned into the State of Palestine. This needs a peace treaty.
8) What is your opinion about the situation in Gaza? Are we under an international humanitarian emergency in the area?
Yes, I think so.
9) Israel is using Aliya policy with all Jews around the world. Isn’t it generating two different societies, one for all Israel born people, raised in a multicultural society and other for radical zionists pretending living as colonists in the occupied area? Are not conflicts between these two groups of people?
This could be so but is not. Jews born in the country are still very much attached to other Jews, and not to the Arabs born in the country.
10) What is your point of view about politician speeches like Avigdor Liebermann or Ayelet Shaked?
Lieberman is a fascist. I don't listen to his speeches. Same Shaked.
11) How can you define orthodox Jews influence in Israel policy? And the influence of international zionists organizations like ADL (Anti Defamation League)?
Orthodox Jews have a growing influence. Once that was much less.
12) As the last one, ¿Is it possible peace between Israel and Palestine?
Peace is possible, but only after a big change in Israel. We are working on this.