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Archivierte Meldungen aus den Jahren 1995 - 1999

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Tomorrow, on Yom Kippur, we will remember the shocking picture that changed the self-image of many Israelis 22 years ago: Dozens of Israeli soldiers crouching on the ground, frightened and humiliated, surrounded by their boastful Syrian captors.

That was the torpedo that sank the Ship of Fools, which was cruising on the sea of illusions from the end of the six-day war to the Yom Kippur war. The Captain was Golda Meir, and the navigator Moshe Dayan.

It is hard to remember the climate of those days. The shelves were full of victory albums showing the Israeli soldiers as supermen. Court-poets composed triumphal hymns. The journalists, competing with each other, flattered the idols of the time, headed by Dayan. A cheerful military troupe danced to the words of the song "The whole world is against us / But we don't give a damn…"General Ariel Sharon announced that the Israeli army could reach Tripoli in Libya within 48 hours. The contempt for Arabs pervaded everything.

Nearly a year before the war I warned Golda Meir, from the Knesset rostrum, that Egypt was going to start a war. She reacted with disdain. Nobody troubled himself to ask where my information came from. The source was a high-ranking Arab leader, with whom I had a talk at some international conference and who told me: "If Sadat will conclude in the next few months that there is no political movement, he will start a war. He knows full well that he cannot win against Israel, but he will attack anyway, in order to put an end to the freeze."

Three years before I had an illuminating experience. Eric Rouleau, an outstanding French journalist who had established close connections with Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, told me that he had just had a long talk with the Egyptian president. Nasser had spoken freely for several hours, but in the end he had allowed the publication of only a small part of the recorded interview. Rouleau let me listen to the other parts. I was astounded. In the unpublished section Nasser had said that he was ready to make peace and establish both diplomatic and commercial relations with Israel.

I asked Rouleau if he would allow me to show the interview in secret to a member of the Israeli cabinet. He agreed. In consultation with Amnon Zichroni, then my parliamentary advisor, I chose Pinchas Sapir, the all-powerful minister of finance and Labor party boss, who was considered the most moderate member of the cabinet. He received us in his office. I told him about the interview and offered to let him listen to the recording. He showed no interest at all, preferring to devote the time to heaping abuse on his enemy, Moshe Dayan.

Nasser died soon after, Anwar Sadat took his place. A UN mediator, the Swede Gunnar Jaring, shuttled between Cairo and Jerusalem. He informed Golda Meir that Sadat was ready to make peace with Israel, if in return all the occupied territory in Sinai was given back to him. Jaring asked Golda to reply that she would indeed give back all the Sinai peninsula in return for peace. Golda refused and built the town of Yamit instead.

History has already judged Golda Meir. She is remembered as a primitive, opinionated, strong and far from wise woman. I may be permitted to add that I published this view immediately upon her assuming power. If she had been removed from office than, the lives of 2000 Israeli youngsters and uncounted soldiers of the other side would have been saved.

I do not write this in order to open old wounds, but to prevent new ones. The contempt for the Arabs did not die on Yom Kippur 1973, it is only hidden better. What was true for Sadat than is true for Assad now. If we do not give back the Golan, he will in the end start a war, if only in order to put an end to the stalemate. He might think that a few chemical warheads on Tel-Aviv or Haifa could do wonders.

But most of all this is true for our relations with the Palestinian people. If we make them an offer that satisfies their minimal national aspirations, we can achieve peace within a year. If we are not ready for this, even fifty years will not suffice. Someday the patience of this patient people will snap and a bloody confrontation will ensue, a Palestinian version of Yom Kippur.

On the eve of Yom Kippur 1973, the Israeli government asked its chief of military intelligence about the chances for an Egyptian attack. His famous answer was "low probability". Leaders of our government and army will most likely say the same about my apprehensions now.

Uri Avnery
Maariv, Eve of Yom Kippur, 19/09/99

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1998 Uri Avnery at haGalil onLine

Die hier archivierten Artikel stammen aus den "Anfangsjahren" der breiten Nutzung des Internet. Damals waren die gestalterischen Mglichkeiten noch etwas ursprnglicher als heute. Wir haben die Artikel jedoch weiterhin archiviert, da die Informationen durchaus noch interessant sein knnen, u..a. auch zu Dokumentationszwecken.

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