Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 5 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/11/17

Two Meetings

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   5 comments
Author 2267
Message Uri Avnery
Become a Fan
  (33 fans)

From Gush Shalom

Uri Avnery - Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin -- the odd couple
Uri Avnery - Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin -- the odd couple
(Image by YouTube, Channel: Web of Stories - Life Stories of Remarkable People)
  Details   DMCA

DURING THE last few days, I met with two old friends: Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin.

Well, the term "friends" may not quite be appropriate. Certainly, Arafat called me "my friend" in a recorded message for my 70th birthday, but Rabin called nobody "friend." That was not his character.

I am glad that I knew both from close up. Without them, my life would have been poorer.

I DON'T think I ever met two more different people than these two.

Arafat was a warm person. An emotional person. His embraces and kisses were ceremonial, but they also expressed real sentiment. I brought many Israelis to meetings with him, and they all recounted that after 10 minutes in his company they felt as if they had known him for years.

Rabin was the exact opposite. Like me, he abhorred physical contact. He was remote. He did not exhibit feelings. Only on close acquaintance did he reveal himself as having quite strong feelings indeed.

But these two so different persons had one thing in common. Both were fighters throughout their lives. Rabin gave up academic studies in order to join the illegal Palmach ("shock troops") during the time of British rule. Arafat gave up a career as an engineer in Kuwait in order to set up the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). Rabin was six years older.

Both devoted the major part of their adult life to fighting for their peoples -- and against each other. Both were not gentle in their wars. Rabin once ordered soldiers to "break their (the Palestinians') arms and legs!" Arafat ordered many cruel actions.

After a long life of war, both turned towards the way of peace. That was much more dangerous. Rabin was murdered by a Jewish fanatic. Arafat was murdered (as I believe) in a more sophisticated way by the agents of Ariel Sharon.

I WAS privileged to hear from both how and why they made their fateful turn towards peace.

Arafat's explanation was simpler. It went more or less like this (in my words):

I always believed that the Arab armies would in the end vanquish Israel on the battlefield, and that the Palestinians must only give the push. True, I was the commander-in-chief of the Palestinian forces, but I knew that the Palestinians by themselves could not succeed in defeating Israel.

Then came the October 1973 war (called the "Yom Kippur War" in Hebrew). The two strongest Arab armies attacked Israel. They achieved total surprise and on the first day obtained imposing results. The Egyptians overran the Israel Bar-Lev line, and the Syrians approached the Sea of Galilee.

And lo and behold, in spite of these initial successes, the Arabs were defeated in the war. When a cease-fire was imposed, the Israeli army was close to Damascus and their way to Cairo was open.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

Well Said 1   Interesting 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Uri Avnery Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

"Stupid and Mean and Brutal"

A Flash of Lightning

Israeli Idiocracy

Spitting In The Face of Obama

The Tone and the Music; Reaction to Obama's Cairo Speech

The Grand Default

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: