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Uri Avnery and the Gazan Crisis

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Tel Aviv–Jul. 25th–Your reporter was honored to be on a conference call with Uri Avnery, the monumental Israeli peace activist, from Tel Aviv while the former was sitting in his Northern California home.

Before proceeding your author would like to repeat that his sympathies are overwhelmingly with the Palestinians, but with this crisis most of his available original sources are within the Israeli anti-War Left currently, and he will try to decipher the situation through an antiphonal analysis of his comments.  This article will attempt to be mainly reportage of his words, but, where your essayists will diverge into his own thoughts, he will put that clearly into parenthesis. 

What he would like to demonstrate — while the ecumenical relationships between Muslims and Jews are in an abysmal state and is even eroding between Christian and Jews due to the horrid excesses of the Zionist State — there still are parts of Israeli and Jewish-American Civil Society that are standing up to the actions of that State – even within the establishment of that political entity.  They are our “natural” allies in finding a resolution to this shocking aggression against Gaza!

The organizer of this call was the progressive Rabbi and the founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives – Michael Lerner.  (His organization is, also, committed to the inclusiveness of Muslims within his ecumenical association.) 

Lerner, describes Averny “as one of the most influential peace activists in the Middle East.”  Avnery is 91, and has served in the Knesset (parliament).  Most importantly he is the founder of Gush Shalom, a strong faction of the Israeli peace movement, and went to meet with Yassir Arafat during Israel’s brutal 1982 attack upon Lebanon.  He is, also, a prolific author and critic of the current overly hawkish Israeli government.  For a more complete biography check Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Uri_Avnery).

The call was on the current aggressive Israeli incursion of the Gaza Strip.  He began that the Hebrew government still believes they can win a decisive military victory while the Gazans are demanding a total lift of the blockade.

Uri Avnery stated that the Israeli people were “…surprised at their [Gaza’s military] preparation” for this onslaught, and their robust resistance: “Hamas is putting up a [strong] fight.”  He feels the “Iron Shield” has kept the Zionist State from subsuming to too grave a damage to its population, though.

The three main interlockers for a ceasefire, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Egypt, are shills for Tel Aviv.  (Turkey and Qatar are becoming involved in an attempt to broker an armistice, too, and they have the confidence of the Hamas government in Gaza City.)

He feels the Israeli government does not wish to reoccupy the territory of the Strip (which, with the almost universal condemnation of this viscous assault, should convince their Cabinet to order a withdrawal from the humanitarian disaster they have created). 

His reasoning is simple, for, under International Law, they would be responsible for the welfare of the residents of that slight but highly inhabited sliver along the Mediterranean coastline.  Besides, the IDF (Israel Defense Force) do not perceive the military objectives they have been ordered to do are well thought out.  (In his researches, your correspondent has found that the upper officer corps of that brutal national army is at odds with the right-wing Likud government. For the most part they are members of the Left-of-Center Labour Party and they question most of the things that are making Israel a Rogue State – the Settlements and the refusal to hack out a peace deal and the continuing the Occupation and not granting independence to the Palestinians.)

He disagreed with those who feel that ”…the Blockade [prevents] the destruction of Israel…,” but “…What we need is peace…[to allow] the Palestinian government…” to evolve. 

Yet, already unrest has spread to the West Bank, and, further, the entire Arab world is enraged.  He senses that Hamas would accept an armistice and principles for a peace understanding if Fatah were the interlockers between it and Tel Aviv, but (in the premises of the Gazan Islamist democracy), it would have to be referred to their electorate for ratification.

U. Averny asserted that the Hamas government does not wish to destroy Israel, it only has not been eliminated from their Charter.  (This was qualified after the teleconference in an interview with the Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, by Aljazeera [from Doha]. Meshaal further elucidate Hamas’ position on the American Public Broadcasting Service [PBS]that Hamas will not negotiate with Israel until it ends the occupation. 

In criticizing his government’s desire to destroy the Hamas-Fatah unity government, he pointed out that Hamas did not hold one single portfolio (ministry).  The incursion’s only goal — in a critical tone — “…is to politically destroy” Hamas.  Yet, with a Palestinian Unity administration over both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, there is more chance that a peace understanding will be reached. 

“…Israel…does not aspire to permanently hold the Strip…[but]…it is a Zionist goal…Israelis wish a two-State solution. (Your commentator has abandoned this Solution due to non-workability because of the Likud [the ruling coalition’s] policies)…but the Israeli government has rejected it (the Unity government)” out of hand. 

Our interviewee felt the Arab Peace Plan proposed by Saudi Arabia would work, but Israel and the United States has rejected it.

The Israeli government is currently factious (which does not help in negotiating out of the present crisis).

Asked about BDS, Uri Avnery was of the opinion that he claimed that the Hebrew people would perceive itself under siege (and increases the tendency of falling ever more into a Rogue nation).  He advocated the type of internal boycott that Gush Shalom declared against the Settlements alone. 

What follows is interesting but there are some “ands,” “ifs” and “whats” about it:  He deems that “The one-State solution is s nonsense.” He does note that the five generation confrontation is unfortunate, but is a product of 120 years.  He endorses the two-State solution with open borders, but he does leave possibility for a confederation in the far future.

Addressing an overwhelming – but not solely – assemblage of American Jews, he urges all U.S. citizens to exert pressure on Washington to change policy towards the Middle East.  (I encourage this to the correspondent’s audience of American Muslims, too — to advocate for your own views to the nation in which we all reside.)  The U.S.A’s establishment is an obstacle to a peace settlement.  The American IRS (Internal Revenue Service) permits organizations here to sponsor the Settlements in the West Bank by granting (non-profit) 501c status.  This allows them to dodge paying their rightful taxation while conveying funds to the illegal Settlements’ theft of Occupied land. 

America refuses to hear the truth!  The Congress in the District of Columbia (D.C.) is complacent.  “Israel is certain of American support.”

Most recently, the U, S Ambassador to the U.N. cast the only vote against the Resolution to an investigation of “possible” human rights violations in their current incursion of Gaza.   

Quod erat Demonstratum (QED): There are still decent individuals with whom to negotiate within Israel itself (and in the related Diaspora), but they are not presently in power in Tel Aviv; and, thus, the slaughter of Palestinians continues in this uneven contest.


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