Uri Avnery – Israel’s Day of Shame

Hudna (10-year Peace) was offered to the Israelis, and in return, Israel offered a massacre.


by Uri Avnery, … with Gush Shalom

David Lawley Wakelin – London filmmaker, in Mashad, Iran, last week at the 6th New Horizon Conference

[ Editor’s note: Uri does below what I was doing in Iran last week, explaining that the pitiful lack of reaction from Christians and Muslims over the Al-Quds US embassy move was a disgrace, because the Israelis had always said they were eventually going to take it.

But from the public non-response, we saw that no plan was ever created to garner world attention. The Pope was missing in action, and so was Rouhani.

I made this failure part of my talk, and noting that getting caught flatfooted will never be forgotten, that it was water under the bridge; but now we must see if we can learn from past mistakes, or if changes in leadership are needed, including the Pope.

David Lawley Wakelin, who I was on a speaking tour with in Bandar Abbas, closed his talk by urging those present (most events were religious groups with imams in the front row) to march to their Parliamentary representatives’ offices after Friday prayers to demand that Rouhani do more. We were always warmly thanked when leaving, but do not know yet if they followed Wakelin’s advice.

With Uri’s article today we learn that not even Israelis are immune to this worldwide public stand down in protesting almost any major horrible event; it’s like a mass hypnosis has set in, or is it mass cowardice?

Note how Uri twists his knife by mentioning how hundreds of thousands of Israelis had once protested the price of cottage cheese. And, you just can’t make this stuff up… Jim W. Dean ]

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This was the most iconic photo of Palestinian resistance I could find

The Day of Shame – First published 19 May 2018

On Bloody Monday this week, when the number of Palestinian killed and wounded was rising by the hour, I asked myself: what would I have done if I had been a youngster of 15 in the Gaza Strip? My answer was, without hesitation: I would have stood near the border fence and demonstrated, risking my life and limbs every minute.

How am I so sure? Simple: I did the same when I was 15. I was a member of the National Military Organization (the “Irgun”), an armed underground group labeled “terrorist”.

Palestine was at the time under British occupation (called “mandate”). In May 1939, the British enacted a law limiting the right of Jews to acquire land. I received an order to be at a certain time at a certain spot near the sea shore of Tel Aviv in order to take part in a demonstration. I was to wait for a trumpet signal.

The trumpet sounded and we started the march down Allenby Road, then the city’s main street. Near the main synagogue, somebody climbed the stairs and delivered an inflammatory speech. Then we marched on, to the end of the street, where the offices of the British administration were located. There we sang the national anthem, “Hatikvah”, while some adult members set fire to the offices.

Suddenly several lorries carrying British soldiers screeched to a halt, and a salvo of shots rang out. The British fired over our heads, and we ran away.

Remembering this event 79 years later, it crossed my mind that the boys of Gaza are greater heroes then we were then. They did not run away. They stood their ground for hours, while the death toll rose to 61 and the number of those wounded by live ammunition to some 1500, in addition to 1000 affected by gas.

On that day, most TV stations in Israel and abroad split their screen. On the right, the events in Gaza. On the left, the inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

In the 136th year of the Zionist-Palestinian war, that split screen is the picture of reality: the celebration in Jerusalem and the bloodbath in Gaza. Not on two different planets, not in two different continents, but hardly an hour’s drive apart.

Jerusalem Holy sites almost on top of each other

The celebration in Jerusalem started as a silly event. A bunch of suited males, inflated with self-importance, celebrating – what, exactly? The symbolic movement of an office from one town to another.

Jerusalem is a major bone of contention. Everybody knows that there will be no peace, not now, not ever, without a compromise there. For every Palestinian, every Arab, every Muslim throughout the world, it is unthinkable to give up Jerusalem.

It is from there, according to Muslim tradition, that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, after tying his horse to the rock that is now the center of the holy places. After Mecca and Medina, Jerusalem is the third holiest place of Islam.

For the Jews, of course, Jerusalem means the place where, some 2000 years ago, there stood the temple built by King Herod, a cruel half-Jew. A remnant of an outer wall still stands there and is revered as the “Western Wall”. It used to be called the “Wailing Wall”, and is the holiest place of the Jews.

Statesmen have tried to square the circle and find a solution. The 1947 United Nations committee that decreed the partition of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state – a solution enthusiastically endorsed by the Jewish leadership – suggested separating Jerusalem from both states and constituting it as a separate unit within what was supposed to be in fact a kind of confederation.

The war of 1948 resulted in a divided city, the Eastern part was occupied by the Arab side (the Kingdom of Jordan) and the Western part became the capital of Israel. (My modest part was to fight in the battle for the road.)

Jerusalem Old City from the Mount of the Olives

No one liked the division of the city. So my friends and I devised a third solution, which by now has become a world consensus: keep the city united on the municipal level and divide it politically: the West as capital of the State of Israel, the East as capital of the State of Palestine.

The leader of the local Palestinians, Faisal al-Husseini, the scion of a most distinguished local Palestinian family and the son of a national hero who was killed not far from my position in the same battle, endorsed this formula publicly. Yasser Arafat gave me his tacit consent.

If President Donald Trump had declared West Jerusalem the capital of Israel and moved his embassy there, almost nobody would have got excited. By omitting the word “West”, Trump ignited a fire. Perhaps without realizing what he was doing, and probably not giving a damn.

For me, the moving of the US embassy means nothing. It is a symbolic act that does not change reality. If and when peace does come, no one will care about some stupid act of a half-forgotten US president. Inshallah.

So there they were, this bunch of self-important nobodies, Israelis, Americans and those in-between, having their little festival, while rivers of blood were flowing in Gaza. Human beings were killed by the dozen and wounded by the thousand.

The ceremony started as a cynical meeting, which quickly became grotesque, and ended in being sinister. Nero fiddling while Rome was burning.

When the last hug was exchanged and the last compliment paid (especially to the graceful Ivanka), Gaza remained what it was – a huge concentration camp with severely overcrowded hospitals, lacking medicines and food, drinkable water and electricity.

A ridiculous world-wide propaganda campaign was let loose to counter the world-wide condemnation. For example: the story that the terrorist Hamas had compelled the Gazans to go and demonstrate – as if anyone could be compelled to risk their life in a demonstration.

Or: the story that Hamas paid every demonstrator 50 dollars. Would you risk your life for 50 dollars? Would anybody?

Or: The soldiers had no choice but to kill them, because they were storming the border fence. Actually, no one did so – the huge concentration of Israeli army brigades would have easily prevented it without shooting.

Almost forgotten was a small news item from the days before: Hamas had discreetly offered a Hudna for ten years. A Hudna is a sacred armistice, never to be broken. The Crusaders, our remote predecessors, had many Hudnas with their Arab enemies during their 200-year stay here.

Israeli leaders immediately rejected the offer.

So why were the soldiers ordered to kill? It is the same logic that has animated countless occupation regimes throughout history: make the “natives” so afraid that they will give up. Alas, the results have almost always been the very opposite: the oppressed have become more hardened, more resolute. This is happening now.

Bloody Monday may well be seen in future as the day when the Palestinians regained their national pride, their will to stand up and fight for their independence.

Strangely, the next day – the main day of the planned protest, Naqba Day – only two demonstrators were killed. Israeli diplomats abroad, facing world-wide indignation, had probably sent home SOS messages. Clearly the Israeli army had changed its orders. Non-lethal means were used and sufficed.

“The Man in the Mirror”

My conscience does not allow me to conclude this without some self-criticism. I would have expected that all of Israel’s renowned writers would publish a thundering joint condemnation while the shooting was still going on. It did not happen.

The political “opposition” was contemptible. No word from the Labor party. No word from Ya’ir Lapid. The new leader of the Meretz party, Esther Sandberg, did at least boycott the Jerusalem celebration. Labor and Lapid did not even do that.

I would have expected that the dozens of our brave peace organizations would unite in a dramatic act of condemnation, an act that would arouse the world. It did not happen. Perhaps they were in a state of shock.

The next day, the excellent boys and girls of the peace groups demonstrated opposite the Likud office in Tel Aviv. Some 500 took part. Far, far from the hundreds of thousands who demonstrated some years ago against the price of cottage cheese.

In short: we did not do our duty. I accuse myself as much as I accuse everybody else. We must prepare at once for the next atrocity. We must organize for mass action now!

But what topped everything was the huge machine of brain-washing that was set in motion. For many years I have not experienced anything like it.

Almost all the so-called “military correspondents” acted like army propaganda agents. Day by day they helped the army to spread lies and falsifications. The public had no alternative but to believe every word. Nobody told them otherwise.

The same is true for almost all other means of communication, program presenters, announcers and correspondents. They willingly became government liars. Probably many of them were ordered to do so by their bosses. Not a glorious chapter.

After the day of blood, when the army was faced with world condemnation and had to stop shooting (“only” killing two unarmed demonstrators) all Israeli media were united in declaring this a great Israeli victory.

Israel had to open the crossings and send food and medicines to Gaza. Egypt had to open its Gaza crossing and accept many hundreds of wounded for operations and other treatment.

The Day of Shame has passed. Until the next time.


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  1. This colonial invader deliberately left out that the partition of Palestine was 55% to 650,000 Yiddish-speaking foreign European migrants and 45% to 1,300,000 indigenous Palestinian Muslims and Christians. Who in their right mind will be jumping up and down with joy at this outright theft of Arab land?

    This German referred to Hamas twice as terrorist and he also mentioned his good friend Arafat and the reason the colonial invader prefers one over the other is because Arafat stretched his hand for peace whereby he was willing to let foreign predators to keep 82% of his land. When I watch that Arafat speech at the UN, I cringe. It was humiliating for him and for all Arabs.

    “I come to you bearing the olive branch in one hand and freedom fighter’s gun in the other. Don’t let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

    He gave that speech as if he was doing a Shakespeare play. Humiliating! Laughable! He may have had a gun but the colonial predators had the navy, army, battle ships, helicopters loaded with bombs. Malcolm X said that power takes a back-step only in the face of more power. The predators obtained the guarantees of the major powers to come to their aid if they felt threatened by the indigenous. The US is paying billions to Egypt and Jordan to lessen the threat against the foreign predators of Palestine.


  2. I am indigenous to the region, the colonial invader Avnery is not and never will be!

    As I mentioned earlier the German author of this article never fails to ignite hatred in me against his colonial invader enterprise. He is either clueless or deliberately deceptive when he pretends that he was defending “his land” from the British while it was the British who opened the doors of Palestine to the colonial predators. He makes it appear that there were only two people on that land, his own kind, “the children of Abraham” and the British. Where were the indigenous people when two white Europeans were fighting over their land.

    Many weeks passed since the goddamned colonial invaders were mowing down the Palestinians. The brave Palestinians knew there was a good chance many of them would not return home alive and yet week after week, they went to remind the world never to forget what happened to them. Finally, this colonial invader decided it was a good time to show what a good Jew he is by showing us his fake tears. This man is reminding us how he managed to remain clinging on Arab soil for 79 years. Those were 79 years where we detested their alien presence on our land but we have not yet managed to dislodge them. But I want to remind him that our people successfully removed the British, the French, the Italians, the Crusades. And the main reason we failed so far with this last colonial predator is because when we fight these fake Israelite, we are fighting America.

  3. Avenry: Palestine was at the time under British occupation (called

    Me: This man never fails to amuse me. He feels that he was fighting
    the British colonists who had invaded his land. But why did he – a
    German – feel that he needed to fight the British? The British were
    not colonizing his land, were they? In his Zionist delusional mind,
    the British were the invaders and they were invading his grandpa
    Abraham’s land. I am indigenous to the region and no Ashkenazi
    is. When this man was fighting the British to liberate “his land”,
    where were the real owners of the land, the Palestinians? This is the
    first case that I know of when two white European invaders were
    fighting one another to colonize Arab land? I get sick and tired of
    hearing the invaders of our land and the killers of our people
    claiming to have a right to Arab land.

  4. If we knew nothing else, except a first time public servant, a real estate developer, would be elevated to POTUS by a group of Evangelicals determined to promote and manifest Armegeddon, then this whole thing was easily predictable. This is a great piece by Uri. Vice did a piece about how the christian tourists go to the West Bank and view the future battlefield and donate in person for settlements.
    So, the silence here in the US is motivated by religious based lobby, (clear unification of church and state) , and there by income and advance of territorial acquisition. And let’s not forget the royal wedding went on as well. Big media hype, to wash it all away. The Vice video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo77sTGpngQ
    “This Is Why Evangelical Christians Love Israel (VICE on HBO, Full Segment)”

    • Eduardo, you keep hacking at the body and tail, and I’ll keep hacking at the head and neck. Catholics made a jewish dude the son of God. That’s all you need to know. By my count the Catholics own a lot more land and have a very much larger trail of pedophile victims, and they have the torture icon. They spread the book, they made it up and here’s what we got, fundamentalist factions feeding off false prophecy made up by Romans for conquest and soft infiltration,. Do you think the generals are not talking to Bishops ?

    • Johnny, I think you and Eduardo need to more closely examine the Catholic influence in DC and it’s brutal history that perfectly matches it’s icon, and ask yourselves, why did Constantine insist that Jesus had to be created as a Jewish man ? The support and fanaticism for the Armegeddon prophecy comes directly from a Catholic creation on both fronts. If fanatical sects of Islam break out, people cry for the regular Islam to rein them in. But while evangelicals lay siege to law and decency, nothing is said of Catholics, .. and I’m telling you, it is like folks who think the Royal family has no say in British politics,… check the lobbyists in Washington for Catholics, there’s a reason they were not welcomed in America for some time… people are people, I never speak of the followers. The instigators and creators, are the only thing worth discussing.

  5. European outsets sing to the same tune, so everything is under a tight grip from the Israeli perspective.

    Uri Avneri openly speeks out for the Palstinians, because he doesn’t see them or others as goyim who are not worth the dirt under a Rabbi’s fingernail.

    Another noticeable commentator from Israel is Israel Shamir, who converted to Christianity some time ago.


    • @ Detlef Reimers, ich sehe Uri Avnery als einen Leuchtturm in dem Israelischen Volk. Ich lese schon lange seine Kommentare. Sind immer hoch interessant Er ist ein großer Humanist. Gruß

  6. Last week’s atrocity on the Gaza borderline and celebration in Jerusalem reminds me of the story below that appeared in “Haaretz” which was equally shocking and horrendous for the Satanic and blasé fashion the Hooray-Henry’s and Henrietta’s celebrate and then show their revulsion for the oppressed of the world. Then Jews … now Palestinians. I make no excuse for or attempt to detract from the IDF killing and mutilation of Palestinians last week.

    Time for a moral revolution in Israel before it is totally and completely immersed, lost in a dystopian fugue.


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