Uri Avnery's picture
Joined: 2009-08-30
Columns on STR: 123


Uri Avnery
United States

Short bio:

Uri Avnery is a peace activist.


This user hasn't posted any comments yet.

Columns by Uri Avnery

Who Is Afraid of a Real Inquiry?
Uri Avnery 2010-06-21 03:00
  If a real Commission of Inquiry had been set up (instead of the pathetic excuse for a commission), here are some of the questions it should have addressed:   1. What is the real aim of the Gaza Strip blockade?   2. If the aim is to prevent the flow of arms into the Strip, why are only 100 products allowed in (as compared to the more than 12 thousand products in an average Israeli...
Count Me Out
Uri Avnery 2009-10-31 15:50
A YEAR before the Oslo agreement, I had a meeting with Yasser Arafat in Tunis. He was full of curiosity about Yitzhak Rabin, who had just been elected Prime Minister.   I described him as well as I could and ended with the words: “He is as honest as a politician can be.”   Arafat broke into laughter, and all the others present, among them Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Abed-Rabbo...
The 155th Victim
Uri Avnery 2006-09-26 16:00
Since the days when Roman Emperors threw Christians to the lions, the relations between the emperors and the heads of the church have undergone many changes. Constantine the Great, who became Emperor in the year 306--exactly 1700 years ago--encouraged the practice of Christianity in the empire, which included Palestine . Centuries later, the church split into an Eastern (Orthodox) and a...
The 155th Victim
Uri Avnery 2006-08-20 16:00
WITH A few words, a Lebanese army officer destroyed, the day before yesterday, the illusion that Israel had achieved anything in this war. At a televised Lebanese army parade that was also broadcast on Israeli TV , the officer read a prepared text to his assembled troops, who were about to be deployed along the Lebanese-Israeli border.
From Mania to Depression
Uri Avnery 2006-08-16 16:00
THIRTY THREE days of war. The longest of our wars since 1949. On the Israeli side: 154 dead - 117 of them soldiers. 3,970 rockets launched against us, 37 civilians dead, more than 422 civilians wounded. On the Lebanese side: about a thousand dead civilians, thousands wounded. An unknown number of Hizbullah fighters dead and wounded. More than a million refugees on both sides. So what has...
Junkies of War
Uri Avnery 2006-08-06 16:00
FOR ME it was a moment of shocking revelation. I was listening to one of the daily speeches of our Prime Minister. He said: "We are a wonderful people!" He said: We have already won this war, it is the greatest victory in the history of our state. He said: We have changed the face of the Middle East . And more to that effect. Well, I told myself, that's Olmert.
In the Gunsight: Syria
Uri Avnery 2006-07-30 16:00
IT IS the old story about the losing gambler: he cannot stop. He continues to play, in order to win his losses back. He continues to lose and continues to gamble, until he has lost everything: his ranch, his wife, his shirt.
Is Beirut Burning?
Uri Avnery 2006-07-23 16:00
"IT SEEMS that Nasrallah survived," Israeli newspapers announced, after 23 tons of bombs were dropped on a site in Beirut , where the Hizbullah leader was supposedly hiding in a bunker. An interesting formulation. A few hours after the bombing, Nazrallah had given an interview to Aljazeera television. Not only did he look alive, but even composed and confident. He spoke about the bombardment -...
The Real Aim
Uri Avnery 2006-07-20 16:00
THE REAL aim is to change the regime in Lebanon and to install a puppet government. That was the aim of Ariel Sharon's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It failed. But Sharon and his pupils in the military and political leadership have never really given up on it. As in 1982, the present operation, too, was planned and is being carried out in full coordination with the U.S. As then, there is no...
A One-Sided War
Uri Avnery 2006-07-09 16:00
THAT'S IT. Tomorrow the World Cup games come to an end. We can congratulate the new champions and wish them arrivederci or au revoir, as the case may be. Now the public can return to less important matters, such as the daily killing and destruction, the captured soldier, the launching of Qassam rockets and everything else connected with our invasion of Gaza . THE VERY definition of the...
Agatha in the Rain
Uri Avnery 2006-06-30 16:00
"ISRAEL HAS declared war on the Palestinian people! The Palestinian people will answer in kind! The Palestinian rebellion will go on! The Palestinian fighters are steadfast in the service of the nation! Down with the Nazi-Zionist occupation! Out with the unclean infidels from the Holy Land ! Destroyed Rafah - we shall build you anew! Long live the Palestinian revolution! Long live the State of...
...Shall We Not Revenge?'
Uri Avnery 2006-02-05 17:00
'...Shall We Not Revenge?' by Uri Avnery IF ONE wants to understand what the Palestinians did on election day, one has to see the film "Paradise Now", which has been nominated for an Oscar for the best foreign film, after collecting several prestigious international prizes. It explains better than a million words.
With Friends Like These...
Uri Avnery 2006-01-17 17:00
JUDAS ISCARIOT is headed for a makeover. According to news reports, cardinals close to the new pope recommend a change in the Catholic Church's attitude towards him: exit the treacherous Jew who turns the messiah over to the cohorts of the evil High Priest - enter the apostle who simply fulfilled his role in the divine design. After all, it was God who decided that his son should die on the cross...
A Napoleon, Made in Israel
Uri Avnery 2006-01-09 17:00
He was an Israeli Napoleon. From early youth, he was totally convinced that he was the only person in the world who could save the State of Israel. That was an absolute certainty, free of any doubt. He just knew that he must achieve supreme power, in order to fulfill the mission that fate had entrusted him with.
The Pied Piper
Uri Avnery 2005-12-18 17:00
SOME 721 YEARS ago, the town of Hamelin in Germany was suffering from a plague of rats. A citizen called Bunting offered to get rid of them for an agreed fee. When he played on his flute, the entranced rats came out of their holes and followed him to the river where they drowned. But when the piper presented his bill to the town fathers, they wouldn't pay him.
War Is a State of Mind
Uri Avnery 2005-10-18 16:00
Some years ago I talked with a young Israeli writer. I was struck by the fact that in spite of being very successful and acclaimed by the critics, and that at a relatively early age, she somehow exuded an air of insecurity.
What Awaits Samira?
Uri Avnery 2005-10-16 16:00
A few days ago, at a conference in Europe , I met a charming young lady. Intelligent, well educated, versed in several languages, and, well, very attractive. After a few hours of shopping, she was as elegant as a model, dressed in the very latest fashion. She happens to be a Shiite from Baghdad , where she has now returned. Let's call her Samira. What struck me most about Samira was her...
The Gladiators
Uri Avnery 2005-10-02 16:00
The contest between Binyamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon in the Likud Central Committee resembled a duel between two gladiators in the Roman arena. The more so since many of the Committee members behaved like the Roman rabble who screamed, rioted and demanded blood.
Joha's Nail
Uri Avnery 2005-09-19 16:00
One day Joha, the hero of popular Arab humor, sold his home. The price he demanded was ridiculously low and he had only one condition: "on one of the walls there is a nail that I am much attached to. I don't want to sell it." The buyer readily agreed. Who cares about a nail?
Who Murdered Arafat?
Uri Avnery 2005-09-11 16:00
The day before yesterday the Haaretz headline screamed: "Doctors: Arafat died of AIDS or poisoning." AIDS appeared in first place.
The Bang and the Whimper
Uri Avnery 2005-09-04 16:00
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: / A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; / A time to break down and a time to build up . . . ." The book of Ecclesiastes has no truer follower than Ariel Sharon. Witness, Sharon himself set up the settlements in the Gaza Strip, and now he has destroyed them with his own hands. He created the...
Dear Settlers
Uri Avnery 2005-08-28 16:00
August 18th, 2005 --a milestone in the history of the State of Israel. Dear Settlers -- "Dear" in the most literal sense. At long last it must be spelled out, without hypocritical pity, without "if" and "but."
This Was the Day
Uri Avnery 2005-08-21 16:00
August 18th, 2005 --a milestone in the history of the State of Israel. This was the day on which the settlement enterprise in this country went into reverse for the first time. True, the settlement activity in the West Bank continues at full speed. Ariel Sharon intends to give up the small settlements in the Gaza Strip in order to secure the big settlement blocs in the West Bank .
Arik's Horror Show
Uri Avnery 2005-06-20 16:00
All the world saw the horror on TV: a Palestinian boy lying on the ground, unconscious. An Israeli soldier bending over him, not knowing what to do. A settler coming up from behind and throwing a stone at the head of the injured Palestinian. Another settler dropping a big stone on him at point-blank range. A bearded medic, also a settler, approaches the wounded boy, hesitates, and then goes away...
Red Herring
Uri Avnery 2005-06-20 16:00
The experience was almost surrealistic: I was in a hall in the centre of Gaza , facing some 500 people, all of them bearded men, nearly all of them Hamas militants. The Hamas movement officially opposes the very existence of the State of Israel, and here I stand on the podium speaking in Hebrew about peace between Israel and the future State of Palestine. Did they protest? On the contrary,...
The Bogyman
Uri Avnery 2005-06-05 16:00
While the new Chief-of-Staff, Air Force general Dan Halutz, was assuming his new job, I stood with a group of demonstrators at the gate of the General Staff building, to protest against his appointment. Our slogan was: "You have blood on your wings!" -- a reminder of his remarks when the Air Force dropped a one-ton bomb on a residential area in Gaza, in order to kill Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh....
Buying Off the Settlers
Uri Avnery 2005-05-30 16:00
Perhaps there are countries where drivers stuck in traffic jams don't get annoyed. They know they can do nothing about it, so they wait patiently. Think their own thoughts, listen to the radio or read until the jam disperses. We Israelis are not like that. We are a nervous lot. We have no patience. When we are stuck in a jam, we curse the world and the government, demanding a solution, perhaps a...
Wagner at the Memorial
Uri Avnery 2005-05-22 16:00
What to do on "Herzl Day," the anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Zionist movement--officially celebrated this week for the first time? How to honor the memory of this strange man, who still has such an enormous impact on our lives? The day found me in Berlin . I took a look at what was on in the city and discovered the perfect solution: on the same day, the renowned Staatsoper, the...
Death of a Myth
Uri Avnery 2005-05-11 16:00
The uproar has been raging for two weeks so far, and is showing no sign of abating. Israel is shaken to the core--is it the postponed "disengagement plan? Is it the killing of demonstrators against the Wall? No, it's a song. Like a devout Christian, Naomi Shemer confessed, on her deathbed, to the greatest sin of her life: Her immortal song "Jerusalem of Gold" is a copy of a Basque lullaby she...
Aren't You Ashamed?'
Uri Avnery 2005-05-08 16:00
The car stopped for a moment. An elderly lady pushed her head out of the window and shouted; "Aren't you ashamed of yourselves? Today is Holocaust Day, and you are demonstrating for Arabs?!" The cause of her anger was a large group of demonstrators opposite the Ministry of Defense in Tel-Aviv, last Thursday, the official Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel . Many things happened on that day.
A Tale of Two Demonstrations
Uri Avnery 2005-05-01 16:00
The day before yesterday, two demonstrations were held, just a few dozen kilometers apart. One took place at the Homesh settlement, not far from Jenin. Tens of thousands of settlers and their sympathizers came to demonstrate against the planned evacuation of this settlement. The demonstrators swore to sabotage the decisions of the government and the Knesset. One of them declared that they could...
For Whom the Bells Toll
Uri Avnery 2005-04-25 16:00
An Iranian technician named Jalal-a-Din Taheri, who had been working at the nuclear reactor at Bushehr, managed to defect to Europe , where he disclosed the Ayatollahs' plans for producing nuclear bombs. Taheri was acclaimed a hero throughout the world. A number of organizations nominated him for the Nobel Peace Price. President Bush praised his courage. Ariel Sharon invited him to come and live...
Don't Shoot the Croupier!
Uri Avnery 2005-04-10 16:00
As a decent person, I am supposed to feel compassion for the Gush Katif settlers. To embrace them. To shed a tear for their plight. And indeed, there are grounds for compassion. Human beings uprooted from the soil where they have been living for decades. Middle-aged people compelled to start their lives all over again. Children born there obliged to move to schools in other places. People who...
Paved With Bad Intentions
Uri Avnery 2005-03-27 16:00
Last week, the mainstream peace organizations held a demonstration in support of Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan. I agonized for days about whether to take part or not. The question continues to bother me, and the discussions on this subject are still going on ' with crucial votes due in the Knesset this week. Perhaps the best way to find an answer is to set out the pros and cons. Let's start...
Bush's Guru
Uri Avnery 2005-03-09 17:00
An American and a Soviet soldier meet in Berlin in 1945 and get into an argument about which of their countries is more democratic. 'Why,' the American said, 'I can stand in the middle of Times Square and shout 'President Truman is a scoundrel' and nothing will happen to me!' 'Big deal,' the Russian retorted, 'I can stand in the middle of Red Square and shout 'Truman is a scoundrel' and nothing...
The Next Crusades
Uri Avnery 2005-03-06 17:00
Many years ago, I read a book called The Quiet American by Graham Greene. Its central character is a high-minded, naive young American operative in Vietnam . He has no idea about the complexities of that country but is determined to right its wrongs and create order. The results are disastrous.
Finger After Finger
Uri Avnery 2005-03-01 17:00
Seven words uttered by President Bush in Brussels have not been paid the attention they deserve. He called for the establishment of 'a democratic Palestinian state with territorial contiguity' in the West Bank , and then added: 'A state on scattered territories will not work.' It is worthwhile to ponder these words. Who did he point the finger at? Why did he say this in Brussels , of all...
Beware of the Dog!
Uri Avnery 2005-03-01 17:00
It is not very flattering to be paraded like a Rottweiler on a leash, whose master threatens to let him loose on his enemies. But this is our situation now. Vice President Dick Cheney threatened a few weeks ago that if Iran continues to develop its nuclear capabilities, Israel might attack her.
?Sharm-al-Sheikh, We Have Come Back Again??
Uri Avnery 2005-02-13 17:00
Nobody called it the 'Ophira Conference.' Not even the papers of the extreme right. Who today even remembers the name Ophira, which was given to Sharm-al-Sheikh during the Israeli occupation, as a first step to its annexation?
Dunam After Dunam
Uri Avnery 2005-02-07 17:00
What would we say if an American institution, holding a seventh of all the land in the United States , adopted statutes that allowed it to sell or rent land only to White Anglo-Saxon Protestants? We would not believe it. And it is, indeed, impossible. But that's the way things are in Israel . This us now the subject of a stormy public debate.
The Stalemate
Uri Avnery 2005-01-31 17:00
Perhaps the second intifada has come to an end. Perhaps the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip will develop into a general, mutual cease-fire.
Who Envies Abu-Mazen?
Uri Avnery 2005-01-18 17:00
Now it's official: 'the First Democracy in the Arab World' or 'the Second Democracy in the Middle East ' has been born. The Palestinian elections have impressed the world. Until now, if elections were held in any Arab country at all, there was only one candidate, and he received 99.62% of the vote. Yet here there were seven candidates, there was a lively election campaign and the winning...
How the Hell Did This Happen?
Uri Avnery 2005-01-09 17:00
How the hell did I get into this goddamned mess? I wake up in the morning and can't believe it. What, I, Arik Sharon, am waging a war against the settlers? I, who put them there in the first place? I, who drafted the map of the settlements long before the settlers themselves ever dreamed of it? How, for God sake, did this start? What did I want, after all?
A Wreath for Blair
Uri Avnery 2004-12-28 17:00
'The curious incident is the barking of the dog,' Sherlock Holmes remarked. 'But the dog did not bark!' exclaimed Dr. Watson. 'That is the curious incident!' This week's curious incident concerns the wreath of Tony Blair. The wreath that he did not lay on the grave of Yasser Arafat. Elementary, dear Watson. Blair did go to the graveside. But he omitted the natural and customary thing: laying...
The Mountain and the Mouse
Uri Avnery 2004-12-19 17:00
Ariel Sharon's speech at the 'Herzliya Conference,' an annual gathering of Israel 's financial, political and academic aristocracy, proved again his wondrous ability to conjure up an imaginary world and divert attention away from the real one. Like every successful con-man, he knows that the audience desperately wants to believe good tidings and will be happy to ignore bad ones. It was an...
The Boss Has Gone Crazy
Uri Avnery 2004-12-12 17:00
When the fruit sellers at the Tel Aviv market shout, 'The boss has gone crazy!', they mean that they are selling their merchandise at ridiculously low prices. In the world's capitals, a similar cry is now being heard: 'The boss has gone crazy!' ' but it is not about the price of tomatoes. It refers to the new situation, after the reelection of George W. Bush for four more years. In many places...
Who"s Next?
Uri Avnery 2004-11-21 17:00
George W. Bush is a product of the Wild West myth. He sees himself as the fast-drawing sheriff who kills the bad guys and maintains order in town. But in fact he is much more like another stock figure of the Westerns: the top-hatted vendor of the patent medicine which heals everything: tooth-ache and belly-ache, cholera and impotence, gunshot wounds and heart attacks. Bush's patent medicine is...
Rejoice Not...
Uri Avnery 2004-11-14 17:00
'Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth, Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him.' This biblical injunction (Proverbs 24:17) is one of the most profound Jewish moral tenets. In this connection, Israel is very far from being a 'Jewish State,' as it likes to define itself. The disgusting filth poured out over Yasser Arafat during the last few...
On the Road to Civil War
Uri Avnery 2004-10-24 16:00
Everybody in Israel is talking about the Next War. The most popular TV channel is running a whole series about it. Not another war with the Arabs. Not the nuclear threat from Iran . Not the ongoing bloody confrontation with the Palestinians. The talk is about the coming civil war. Only a few months ago, that would have sounded preposterous. Now, suddenly, it has become a possibility, and a...
Thank You, Dubby
Uri Avnery 2004-10-18 16:00
What really is important is not what he said or why he said it, but the world-view that animates him. By now, everybody has had a go at analyzing the interview with Dov ('Dubby') Weisglass, Ariel Sharon's most intimate confidant. But there is precious little to analyze. His statement is crystal clear: the 'redeployment plan' was designed to 'freeze' the peace process for decades, to put all...
Eggs in One Basket
Uri Avnery 2004-10-10 16:00
When Ariel Sharon announced his plan for 'unilateral disengagement,' the media reported that the Peace Now movement was preparing a big public campaign in support. The Prime Minister's office asked them to desist, fearing that such a campaign would cause the extreme right to oppose it. Peace Now was not the only 'leftist' group that waxed enthusiastic about the plan. The chiefs of the Labor...
Eggs in One Basket
Uri Avnery 2004-10-03 16:00
About a hundred years ago, the Russian Czar's secret police cobbled together a document they called the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion.' The 'authors' were not particularly original ' they took a satire, written decades earlier about Napoleon III's ambitions for world domination, and substituted Jewish rabbis for the French emperor. According to the revised document, the Jews are plotting to...
The Temple Mount Bombers
Uri Avnery 2004-09-19 16:00
The Security Service is haunted by a terrible fear: that another Israeli Prime Minister will be assassinated. The extreme right-wing, which does not hide its admiration for Yigal Amir and his deed, harbors some who dream of a similar action. After all, if Amir succeeded in murdering the Oslo process, why shouldn't another Amir succeed in murdering the process of dismantling the settlements in...
"God Wills It!"
Uri Avnery 2004-09-12 16:00
Two shocking manifestos were published this week. Both call for comment. One of them declares that dismantling the settlements in the Gaza Strip is a 'crime against humanity.' It does not mention that they were set up on the land reserves of a million Palestinians crowded in the tiny strip, and rob them of their scarce water. Their removal, it says, is an 'expression of tyranny, evil and...
An Officer in Court
Uri Avnery 2004-08-30 16:00
When I came out of the beautiful Supreme Court building, I was feeling depressed. I had listened for hours to proceedings on a number of applications concerning the separation wall. I was especially interested in the part of the wall that is threatening to ruin the lives of the residents of a-Ram. There, it will be remembered, the planned wall runs the full length of the Jerusalem-Ramallah road...
A Very One-Sided War
Uri Avnery 2004-08-22 16:00
'For all I care, they can starve to death!' announced Tzahi Hanegbi, after Palestinian prisoners declared an open-ended hunger strike against prison conditions. Thus the Minister for Internal Security added another memorable phrase to the lexicon of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hanegbi became famous (or infamous) for the first time when, as a student activist, he was caught on camera with...
Drought in Texas
Uri Avnery 2004-08-16 16:00
Once upon a time, an assistant to Levy Eshkol, our late Prime Minister, rushed up to him and cried: 'Levy, a disaster! A drought has set in!' 'Where?' the Prime Minister asked anxiously, 'in Texas ?' 'No, here in Israel !' the man replied. 'Then there's nothing to worry about,' Eshkol said dismissively. Right from the beginning, the State of Israel has been critically affected by events in...
The Oligarchs, or How the Virgin Became a Whore
Uri Avnery 2004-08-02 16:00
This is a TV series about Russia . But it could have been about Israel . Or about the United States . It is entitled 'The Oligarchs' and is now being screened on Israeli television. Some of its episodes are simply unbelievable ' or would have been, if they had not come straight from the horses' mouths: the heroes of the story, who gleefully boast about their despicable exploits. The series was...
The Skin of the Bear
Uri Avnery 2004-07-25 16:00
I am writing this with an aching heart. I have postponed writing it as long as I could. In Jewish tradition, there is a searing phrase: 'The Temple was not destroyed but for gratuitous hatred.' It sums up the events in beleaguered Jerusalem , in the year 70 AD, when the town was surrounded by the Roman legions. While Titus' soldiers were maintaining the siege and the population was beginning to...
The Good Boy Scout
Uri Avnery 2004-07-21 16:00
'In a dramatic television broadcast, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, called upon the million Russian emigrants in Israel to return at once to their homeland, in view of the growing danger to their security there.' That did not happen, of course. But it is easy to imagine what would have been the reaction in Israel if Putin had indeed made such an appeal. Or if the president of France,...
Marie and the Ghosts
Uri Avnery 2004-07-18 16:00
Sometimes a trivial episode throws a revealing light on a grave public disease. A classic example: the Captain of Koepenick. On the face of it, it was a minor criminal incident: In 1906, a shoemaker named Wilhelm Voigt was released from prison, after serving a sentence for forgery. To get work, he needed a passport, which, as a former convict, he could not get. So he went to a junk shop and...
There Are Judges in the Hague
Uri Avnery 2004-07-11 16:00
One of the Israeli newspapers, Haaretz, put the two events on the front page: the 100th anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement, and the judgment of the International Court of Justice, which declared the Israeli Separation Wall illegal. This coincidence may seem fortuitous. What connection could there possibly be between a historical anniversary and...
Justice, Gas and Tears
Uri Avnery 2004-07-06 16:00
In the silence of the courtroom, there was an audible gasp of surprise and shock when Supreme Justice Aharon Barak, reading the court's decision, reached the words: 'The military commander did not use his discretion in a proportional way, as required.' At that moment the veteran peace activists who filled the room realized that they had won. Four days before, we could not have dreamt of that....
"Irreversible Mental Damage"
Uri Avnery 2004-06-20 16:00
Two weeks ago, the international community made a shocking declaration. Giving in to a demand by George Bush, the 'Quartet' accepted the 'Revised Disengagement Plan' of Ariel Sharon. This means that the United Nations, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States confirmed this document. I wonder if any one of the honorable diplomats has read the document with their own eyes...
The Nightmare Comes True
Uri Avnery 2004-06-13 16:00
I thought it was terrible. I was wrong. It is far, far worse! - These words sum up my feelings at that moment. I was standing on a hill overlooking the infamous Kalandia checkpoint. Below me was a narrow road, packed with Palestinians in the blazing sun, 30 degrees centigrade in the shade (but there was no shade) trudging towards the checkpoint. Very soon this road will be transformed. It will...
To Drink from the Sea of Gaza
Uri Avnery 2004-06-06 16:00
Perhaps Abe Lincoln was right that you can't fool all the people all the time, but a lot of people can surely be fooled for a long, long time. Just look at Ariel Sharon. From the start, the 'Disengagement Plan' was an exercise in deceit. But the world is eager to be deceived. The world's statesmen take it seriously, it causes violent storms in Israel , the media have a ball. All this for a plan...
Tommy"s Granny
Uri Avnery 2004-05-30 16:00
Sometimes a person 'buys his world in one moment,' as the ancient Hebrew saying goes. This was done by the Minister of Justice, Yosef ('Tommy') Lapid, when he uttered the words: 'This old woman reminds me of my grandmother!' This old woman, an inhabitant of the Rafah refugee camp whose house was demolished by the Israeli army, was immortalized by the camera while rummaging through the ruins of...
Busharon: The Countdown
Uri Avnery 2004-05-23 16:00
The immense might of the Israeli army, assembled from all over the country, has attacked a small Palestinian township on the margin of the destitute Gaza Strip. Palestinians, both fighters and civilians, are being killed by the dozen, and homes are being destroyed wholesale. The sight of the fleeing population brings back memories of 1948. All this ' for what? At first sight, the whole action is...
Busharon: The Countdown
Uri Avnery 2004-05-16 16:00
The strange creature named the Busharon is in serious trouble. The front half of this animal ' George W. Bush ' is having trouble with nude photos. Not only those of the hapless Iraqi prisoners, with the exuberant female soldier pointing at their genitals, but also of Bush himself, whose nakedness was exposed for all to see. The savior of the Iraqi people from a cruel tyrant, the gallant leader...
Living in a Bubble
Uri Avnery 2004-05-04 16:00
A few days ago, the State of Israel celebrated its 56th anniversary according to the Hebrew (lunar) calendar. A chance to escape from reality for a day, at a time when the whole country was braced for suicide-bombings to avenge the assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin and Dr. Abd-al-Aziz al-Rantissi. A day of nostalgia for the Israel of the early years, the years of innocence and youth. There...
The Golem Turns on His Creator
Uri Avnery 2004-05-04 16:00
In Jewish legend, the Golem was a man-made creature endowed with enormous strength. Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague, also known as the Maharal, created him of clay and gave him life by putting a piece of paper with the secret name of God under his tongue. The Golem helped the Jews defend themselves against anti-Semitic rioters, but one day he turned against his creator. He sowed ruin and destruction...
Vanunu: The Terrible Secret
Uri Avnery 2004-04-27 16:00
In the darkness of a cinema, a woman's voice: 'Hey! Take your hands off! Not you! YOU!' This old joke illustrates the American policy regarding nuclear armaments in the Middle East . 'Hey, you there, Iraq and Iran and Libya , stop it! Not YOU, Israel !' The danger of nuclear arms was the main pretext for the invasion of Iraq . Iran is threatened in order to compel it to stop its nuclear...
Sharon"s Skin and Bush"s Spots
Uri Avnery 2004-04-18 16:00
Question: Is the 'Unilateral Disengagement' plan, which was so dramatically endorsed this week by President Bush, a bluff? Answer: Yes and No. If Ariel Sharon can avoid implementing it, he certainly will. He will implement it only if he has no alternative. The written plan says that it will be implemented 'by the end of 2005' ' and by then the situation in this country and in the Middle East...
Bitter Rice 2, or the March of Folly
Uri Avnery 2004-04-11 16:00
The following passage may look familiar: 'On the fourth day of the 1982 Israeli attack on Lebanon , I crossed the border at a lonely spot near Metulla and looked for the front, which had already reached the outskirts of Sidon . I was driving my private car, accompanied by a woman photographer. We passed a dozen Shiite villages and were received everywhere with great joy. We extracted ourselves...
A Letter to President Arafat
Uri Avnery 2004-04-04 16:00
President Yasser Arafat, Shalom. I write these lines in order to protest against a statement that I cannot ignore. In the weekly Palestinian paper, The Jerusalem Times, there appeared on March 26 a short item reporting that you have viewed the controversial film of Mel Gibson, 'The Passion of the Christ.' Afterwards your advisor and close assistant, Nabil Abu-Rudeina, stated that you found the...
Three Generals, One Martyr
Uri Avnery 2004-03-28 16:00
Five hundred black-and white-bearded Hamas members were sitting opposite me. Venerable sheikhs and young people. On the side, some rows were occupied by women. I was standing on the stage, talking in Hebrew, with the crossed flags of Israel and Palestine on my lapel. As I have recounted already several times, it happened like this: at the end of 1992, the new Prime Minister, Yitzhaq Rabin,...
Bravo, Amigos!
Uri Avnery 2004-03-22 17:00
A Prime Minister is waging war. The great majority of the people oppose the war. The majority vote for the Prime Minister. Absurd? Well, that was the situation in Spain . It also applies, more or less, in Israel . But here the similarity ends. The Spanish people have thrown their Prime Minister out. The Israeli people go on supporting their Prime Minister. The Spaniards, in their innocence,...
The Palestinian Romeo
Uri Avnery 2004-03-14 17:00
Arna Mer was a tempestuous and exciting woman. She was the daughter of a professor of medicine, who had already become a legend in his own lifetime. As a young woman she joined the legendary Palmakh fighters of the underground army, and since then the Keffiyah affected by them became her trademark. After the 1948 war, she joined the Communist party, then the most hated group in Israel , and...
"O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum...."
Uri Avnery 2004-03-09 17:00
'O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, How faithful are your leaves! You're green not only in summertime, But also in winter when it snows, O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum . . . .' (Old German Christmas song. 'Tannenbaum' is the fir tree.) This is a well-established Israeli ritual: One takes a trivial matter, declares it to be the center of national life, decorates it and...
The Ghetto Inside
Uri Avnery 2004-02-29 17:00
'It is easier to get the Jews out of the ghetto than to get the ghetto out of the Jews!' ' this dictum of the early Zionists is now assuming a new meaning. Israel is cutting itself off from the world and enclosing itself in a ghetto, and not only physically. In The Hague , the proceedings of the International Court of Justice on the Separation Wall have started. Sharon 's people understand that...
The Dancing Bear
Uri Avnery 2004-02-22 17:00
Once upon a time there was a popular kind of street show: a bear would dance for the amusement of passers by, who would throw coins into his box. The bear was big and frightening, but his clumsy movements made people laugh. He was much stronger than his master, who kept him on a chain, but submitted to him completely. A wonder to behold. The national symbol of the United States is the eagle....
Yes, Minister!
Uri Avnery 2004-02-15 17:00
In one of the episodes of the outstanding British TV series 'Yes, Minister!' the Permanent Undersecretary, Sir Humphrey, teaches his minister how to use Commissions of Inquiry: Take an honorable retired judge, a doddering old fool, and put him in charge of the inquiry, with a sizable honorarium. Help him to arrive himself at the required conclusions. Feed him the appropriate facts and hint at a...
Go to Gaza
Uri Avnery 2004-02-08 17:00
Do you want to make the deal of a lifetime? Go to Gaza ! The government has kindly laid on armored vehicles for this purpose. Once there, you can obtain the villa you have dreamt about all your life, with two floors and a green lawn, for next to nothing. The State is rich. You can put up greenhouses and produce flowers or vegetables. Once upon a time you could engage Palestinian workers, who...
Mourning Becomes Israel
Uri Avnery 2004-02-01 17:00
Two ceremonies on the same day, but what a difference! At an Israeli Air Force base, the bodies of three soldiers killed on the Lebanese border were ceremonially repatriated. The bodies had been held for three years by Hisbullah (the 'Party of God'), who also freed a rather shady Israeli businessman they had detained in Beirut. In return, the Sharon government released 429 prisoners, Palestinian...
Sharon's Speech: The Decoded Version
Uri Avnery 2003-12-21 17:00
He read out the written text of his speech, word for word, without raising his eyes from the page. It was vital for him to stick to the exact wording, since it was an encoded text. It is impossible to decipher it without breaking the code. And it is impossible to break the code without knowing Ariel Sharon very well indeed.
Send Saddam to the Hague!
Uri Avnery 2003-12-18 17:00
The spectacle was disgusting. 'Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth, lest the Lord see it, and it displeaseth Him, and He turn away His wrath from him!' Thus commandeth the ancient Jewish moral code (Proverbs, 24, 16). The writer of this warning knew, of course, that every person tends to gloat when his enemy falls. But he wanted to point out...
Ya'alon's 70 Virgins
Uri Avnery 2003-11-13 17:00
What has happened to the Chief-of-Staff, Lieutenant-General Moshe ('Bogie') Ya'alon? Until recently, he was the most aggressive hawk in the army, perhaps in the whole country. Suddenly he is almost turning into a dove. Has he had a divine revelation like Rabbi Saul of Tarsus , who went to Damascus to persecute the Christians and arrived there as an apostle of Jesus?
The Cancer Cells
Uri Avnery 2003-11-02 17:00
In the Six-Day War, hundreds of Israeli soldiers were murdered while storming the Sinai desert, the West Bank and the Golan heights . In the Yom-Kippur War, more than 2,000 Israeli soldiers were murdered in the defense of the conquered territories. In the 18 year long Lebanon War, more than a thousand Israeli soldiers were murdered while conquering and occupying South Lebanon .
Whom to Believe? Well...
Uri Avnery 2003-10-26 17:00
'Whom do you believe?' asked General Ya'akov Amidror on TV with subdued anger, 'the army spokesman or Hamas?' General (reserves) Amidror is the highest religious officer in our army. In the past he has raised several public storms with some utterances denigrating secular Israelis, saying that they are not real Jews. He has a sharp mind, much above the average in the army command, and his...
The Magnificent 27
Uri Avnery 2003-09-28 16:00
A year and a half ago, a small group of Israelis decided to break a deeply entrenched taboo and bring up the subject of war crimes. Until then, it was self-evident that the IDF was 'the most moral and humane army in the world,' as the official mantra goes, and was therefore quite incapable of such things.
A Disaster Foretold
Uri Avnery 2003-09-14 16:00
So now it is official: The government of Israel has decided to assassinate Yasser Arafat. Not any more to 'exile.' Not any more to 'expel or kill.' Simply to 'remove.' Of course, the intention is not to remove him to another country. Nobody seriously believes that Yasser Arafat will raise his hands and allow himself to be marched off. He and his men will be killed 'during the exchange of fire...
First of All--The Wall Must Fall!
Uri Avnery 2003-08-31 16:00
This slogan was born spontaneously, opposite the Wall in Kalkiliya, at the place where it becomes a fence and turns east, penetrating deep into Palestinian territory. On the other side of the wall the Palestinians were demonstrating. We were looking for a short rhyme to broadcast by megaphone. A common effort brought forth the seven words that carry the whole message.
A Drug for the Addict
Uri Avnery 2003-08-24 16:00
It was a putsch. Like any classic putsch, it was carried out by a group of officers: Sharon, Mofaz, Ya'alon and the army top brass.
Hero in War and Peace
Uri Avnery 2003-08-17 16:00
Sometimes a single sentence is enough to reveal a person's mental world and intellectual profundity. Such a sentence was uttered by Shaul Mofaz, the Minister of Defense, some days ago during a visit to the Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip. 'With our enemies, it seems, no shortcuts are possible. Egypt made peace with Israel only after it was defeated in the Yom Kippur War. That will happen with...
The Prisoner of Ramallah
Uri Avnery 2003-08-03 16:00
Every television viewer recognizes the bridge between the last two buildings left standing among the ruins of the Mukata'ah (compound) in Ramallah. During one of my last visits, a Palestinian officer pointed to a simple table and chair near one of the windows of this bridge. Through this window a stretch of the Palestinian landscape beyond the town is visible. 'Here Abu-Amar likes to sit between...
Their Master's Voice
Uri Avnery 2003-07-27 16:00
There's nobody like the British. The things they get excited about! A terrible thing has happened. Their Prime Minister lied to them! The whole country is in an uproar. And--how awful!--the intelligence services have trimmed their findings to suit their political boss. Astounding! In Israel , the United States and most other places around the world, this would hardly rate a paragraph on an...
The Best Show in Town
Uri Avnery 2003-06-22 16:00
The most talented director could not have done better. It was a perfect show. Television viewers all over the world saw heroic Israeli soldiers on their screens battling the fanatical settlers. Close-ups: faces twisted with passion, a soldier lying on a stretcher, a young woman crying in despair, children weeping, youngsters storming forward in fury, masses of people wrestling with each other. A...
Children of Death
Uri Avnery 2003-06-15 16:00
A week after the ship of peace was solemnly launched on its perilous voyage from Aqaba harbor, it was hit by a torpedo. It is not yet clear whether it is wrecked or can continue on its way in spite of the damage.
Operation 'Syrian Freedom'
Uri Avnery 2003-04-17 16:00
Some more thoughts about the war (7): * Victory justifies nothing. No victory justifies an evil war. Quite the opposite. It just adds to the evil. With the entry of American forces into Baghdad , opposition to the war in the US and Britain is dwindling. In other countries, too, doubts are starting to nibble away at the anti-war camp. I find this difficult to understand.
This Is Only the Beginning
Uri Avnery 2003-04-13 16:00
Some more thought about the war (6): * The white man's burden. A depressing thought: the Iraq war proves that in the year 2003 AD, the world has not essentially changed since 2003 BC. A military power can attack a weak nation, conquer its territory and plunder its resources. There is no world law, no world moral order. Might is right.
The Night After
Uri Avnery 2003-04-10 16:00
Some more thought about the war (5): * The next war. It is now fashionable to talk about 'the day after.' Let's talk about the night after. After the end of hostilities in Iraq , the world will be faced with two decisive facts: First, the immense superiority of American arms can beat any people in the world, valiant as it may be.
A Crooked Mirror
Uri Avnery 2003-04-02 16:00
More on the war (4): * Read the Bible. George Bush, we are told, is a deeply religious person, and so is his yeoman, Tony Blair. It is a pity that they do not read the Bible more. One of the most beautiful Hebrew sentences can be found in I Kings XX. When he attacked Israel , the King of Syria boasted of his mighty army and demanded surrender. King Ahab replied with four immortal Hebrew words,...
The Devil's Dictionary
Uri Avnery 2003-03-30 16:00
Yet some more thoughts about the war (3): * The Coalition. No name could be more appropriate to the cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom against Iraq . In 'The Devil's Dictionary' of the American humorist Ambrose Bierce, published some 100 years ago, 'coalition' is defined as (I quote from memory) the cooperation between two thieves who have their hands so deep in each...
Where Did They Go Wrong?
Uri Avnery 2003-03-26 17:00
Some more thoughts about the war: * Plan and reality. An old truism says: 'No war-plan does survive the first clash with the enemy.' That is always true. But something even worse has happened to the Americans now. In order to sell the war to their own public and to the world, Bush & Co. have painted the picture of a 'surgical operation.'
Bitter Rice
Uri Avnery 2003-03-23 17:00
Some thoughts about the war: * Beware of the Shiites. The troubles of the occupation will start after the fighting is over. Here is a personal story and its lessons:
Crying Wolf?
Uri Avnery 2003-03-16 17:00
'Why do you think that Sharon may exploit the American attack on Iraq in order to carry out transfer in the occupied territories?' a journalist asked me, after we published a warning to this effect in his paper. 'Aren't you crying wolf?'
Black Flags
Uri Avnery 2003-03-09 17:00
When I visited Ramallah last, it wore a shining white frock. Even after days of sunshine, many areas where still covered with snow that hid the ravages of the occupation, destruction and neglect.
Pick a Card
Uri Avnery 2003-03-02 17:00
Ariel Sharon is like one of those sleight-of-hand tricksters you see on the pavements of European cities. They mix three cards before your eyes, ask you to pick one of them, turn them upside down and ask you to guess which one is the card you have chosen. You are absolutely sure that you know where the card is ' and you are wrong. Always. How does the man do it? Elementary, dear Watson: He keeps...
One Man Against the World
Uri Avnery 2003-02-16 17:00
- A great, civilized nation democratically elected a fanatic demagogue, who preached war. Actually, he did not really receive the majority of votes, but, somehow, his ascent to power was arranged nevertheless. - Soon after assuming power, he manipulated a dramatic incident in order to tighten his grip upon the country and prepare for attack on smaller nations. An immense propaganda machine...
The Smell of War
Uri Avnery 2003-02-09 17:00
This is not a war about terrorism. This is not a war about weapons of mass destruction. This is not a war about democracy in Iraq . This is a war about something else.
What Are Friends For?
Uri Avnery 2003-01-12 17:00
Sharon 's election campaign started like the triumphal march of a Roman emperor returning from victorious battle. The imperator stood in his carriage accepting the roars of adulation, while the chained captives (the Labor Party leaders) shuffled behind. But the march hit a mud pit. And with every step, it sinks more.
Liberman's Supreme Soviet
Uri Avnery 2003-01-05 17:00
I have received a lot of curses in my lifetime, and here and there some compliments, too. But I have never received a compliment like this one: An important party, represented in the Knesset, has mentioned my name in its official election platform.
Revenge of a Child
Uri Avnery 2002-11-17 17:00
Since last Sunday, a question has been running around in my head and troubling my sleep: What induced the young Palestinian, who broke into Kibbutz Metzer, to aim his weapon at a mother and her two little children and kill them? In war one does not kill children. That is a fundamental human instinct, common to all peoples and all cultures. Even a Palestinian who wants to take revenge for the...
All Because of a Small Olive
Uri Avnery 2002-11-02 17:00
Why has the Sharon-Ben-Eliezer-Peres government collapsed? Because of a small olive. It started like a children's tale: Once upon a time there was a small olive in a Palestinian village. It grew and ripened on a branch of an old tree in a grove on the top of a hill. 'Pick me! I want to give my oil!' the little olive pleaded.
Naboth Had a Vineyard
Uri Avnery 2002-10-25 16:00
Had they been there last Saturday at sunset, most Israelis would not have believed their eyes. In the middle of Havarah, a small village south of Nablus, 63 Israelis, men and women, young and old, were standing together with dozens of Palestinian villagers. Jews and Arabs talked together, drank juice offered by the hosts, exchanged addresses and phone numbers. The local children were wearing...
The Chain of Command
Uri Avnery 2002-10-20 16:00
There is little controversy about the facts: last Thursday, in an IDF action in Rafah, at least eight Palestinians were killed (the number will probably climb, since some of the wounded were severely hurt). Five of those killed were woman and children. Almost fifty people were wounded--many of them children who had just left their school after lessons.
A Jewish Demographic State
Uri Avnery 2002-10-09 16:00
It sounds like a bad joke, but it really happened: A rabbi went from Israel to Peru, converted a group of Native Americans to Judaism, brought them to this country and put them in a settlement, on land taken away from its Palestinian owners. There they receive, as all settlers do, generous government subsidies, paid for with money taken away from thousands of Israelis living below the poverty...
What A Show!
Uri Avnery 2002-10-06 16:00
Who doesn't remember the picture: a Jew is put on trial in Moscow as a Zionist spy. Family members and friends come to observe the trial but are turned away. No place left, they are told, all the seats have already been taken. And indeed, KGB agents have filled the hall early, and with the entrance of the accused start to shout: 'Traitor!' 'Spy!' 'Kill him!' The day before yesterday I witnessed...
Manufacturing Anti-Semites
Uri Avnery 2002-09-29 16:00
The first Israeli victim of Saddam Hussein is a Zionist myth on which we were brought up. It stated that Israel is a haven for all the Jews in the world. In all the other countries, Jews live in perpetual fear that a cruel persecutor will arise, as happened in Germany. Israel is the safe haven, to which Jews can escape in times of danger. Indeed, this was the purpose of the Founding Fathers when...
The Murder of Arafat
Uri Avnery 2002-09-21 16:00
While I am writing this, Yasser Arafat is still alive. But his life is hanging on a thread. When we visited him the last time in his bombed-out Mukata'ah compound in Ramallah, I warned him that Sharon is determined to kill him. Everybody acquainted with Sharon knows that he never lets go. When he does not achieve his aim the first time, he tries again, and again, and again, and again. Never, ever...
A Witness from the Past
Uri Avnery 2002-09-12 16:00
A person who died 1,900 years ago was summoned this week by Ariel Sharon to appear before his verbal kangaroo court. That, in itself, is not surprising. In Jewish consciousness, there is no clear borderline between past and present, as there is none between history and myth. This may be the result of living outside history for thousands of years. Anyhow, in all debates about the future, Jews are...
War Now!
Uri Avnery 2002-09-08 16:00
Slowly, President Bush's war plan against Iraq is emerging from the thick fog. At first it looked like a collection of hazy slogans, but gradually it is becoming clear that it has definite--if hidden--aims. The plan is unconnected to the famous 'war on terrorism,' to the personality of Saddam Hussein or to the weapons of mass destruction that Iraq is producing, like all the other states in the...
The Return of the Dinosaurs
Uri Avnery 2002-09-01 16:00
How did the dinosaurs die out? There are many theories about this. For example, that a meteor hit earth and the ensuing dust cloud obliterated the sun. I have a theory of my own: The dinosaurs suffered from a lack of proportion between body and brain. The tyrannosaurus, for example, had monstrous physical dimensions but his brain was the size of a pea. Then our ancestors, the little mammals,...
Who Is Afraid of a Real Inquiry?
Uri Avnery 2010-06-21 03:00
  If a real Commission of Inquiry had been set up (instead of the pathetic excuse for a commission), here are some of the questions it should have addressed:   1. What is the real aim of the Gaza Strip blockade?   2. If the aim is to prevent the flow of arms into the Strip, why are only 100 products allowed in (as compared to the more than 12 thousand products in an average Israeli...