Saturday, August 13, 2011

In 1950, Uri Avnery offered first Israeli corroboration of ‘the Palestinian narrative’

Ira Glunts
"In the preface to the English volume, Avnery states that he wrote The Other Side of the Coin because he was disappointed that most understood his first book to be a glorification of the 1948 War. He stated that he wanted to also show the “dark side of the war.” Avnery felt that “since the war was over [he] could [now] write the whole truth.

The Other Side of the Coin contains a surprisingly stark and shocking view of what happened when the Samson’s Foxes (the author’s unit) invaded a series of Arab villages in what is currently southern Israel. In this book, Avnery portrays the Jewish army’s looting, raping, and killing of prisoners and civilians as commonplace and widely accepted occurrences among the Jewish fighters.

The following segment is Avnery’s depiction of the execution of an 80-year-old woman who had remained in the village of Daba after everyone else had fled. This memoir may be the first published Israeli corroboration of what many euphemistically call the Palestinian narrative.

"At the next crossroads we noticed that the second jeep, with Nachshe, Tarzan and Jamus, was no longer following us. With difficulty we turned back. The second jeep was standing by the old woman’s house. Nachshe stood in front of her waving his pistol.

“Hat Masari! Hat Masari! Fi, Fi!” [trans. Hand over the money!] he shouted. Like all of us, he believed that every Arab must have a treasure buried somewhere.

“Ma feesh, y khawaja!” [I have nothing, sir.] moaned the old woman in a whiny voice.

“Fi! Fi!” Nachshe shouted angrily and fired four bullets into the old woman. The shots threw her body upwards, as if she was jumping, then she fell dead into the same position we had first seen her in—leaning against the door frame.

Now Nachshe felt ashamed and didn’t want to be reminded of what he had done. It’s always like that with him. He can’t simply kill for pleasure and then feel like a hero the way Kebab can. Whenever he has killed a Fellah or a prisoner, he tries to forget about it and gets annoyed if you remind him.

Kebab won’t leave him alone. Nachshe is a member of the “intelligentsia” and has a big office. Kebab finds this murder reassuring. Because if a person like Nachshe is allowed to kill Fellaheen, then he himself, who is just an unskilled worker, can also be counted as a respectable person.

Actually you can’t hold it against Nachshe. It is not his fault. Homicidal urges come on him like an illness. He can’t do anything about it. Besides that he is a nice fellow. He would never abandon a wounded comrade in the field. At Position 125, did he not get out of his jeep at the worst moment and right between the Egyptian positions, in order to recover Nino’s body? I am not so sure about Kebab. I wouldn’t be very keen to find myself on patrol behind enemy lines with him.

“What’s the matter?” Kebab asks. “Are you ashamed that you finished off this stinking Arab woman?”

“That’s enough! Don’t you spend your whole day dreaming of Arab women?” Tarzan says in support of Nachshe.

“What has it got to do with you?” Kebab turns on him. “You are not brave enough to finish off just one Arab!” The truth, of course, is that Tarzan cannot kill an Arab, except in battle. Despite his enormous physical power he has a gentle soul, which he finds very embarrassing."

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  1. This is very interesting. We were always told that the Israeli army never raped or pillaged.

  2. You, as Americans, were sheltered from the truth by those who could control the narrative in order to whitewash what took place. Who in the US could have read Palestinian authors who gave first hand accounts? No one because there was not platform in the media for them. It was all about poor little David fighting an abominable Goliath. People love those fairy tales.

  3. I didn't know about this.

  4. Of course you don't. That why You "love" Israel. You're naive at best!

  5. I heard first hand accounts from Nakba survivors in Lebanon and it's beyond anything a human can imagine. Your brave Jewish fighters eviscerating pregnant women with bayonets. I had always thought there was some exaggeration there until I see confirmation of it in Pappe's " The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine". My mother told me she had the same stories from women who escaped the massacres by Jewish thugs..

  6. First hand accounts can be found here: Palestine Remembered. A site that was set up by Jews not Palestinians.

  7. <span>Those who were most cruel were Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, Poland and Russia. They were ruthless thugs. They not only inflicted unnecessary suffering on helpless elderly and unarmed civilians but also were thieves who looted and killed for money.</span>

  8. I wonder if American Jews are aware of this?

  9. Like the others they were sold an idealised version of a little poor if not brave holocaust survivor facing once again, another imminent annihilation by uncivilised, uncouth, blood thirsty Arab animals who happen to eat Jews for breakfast..Besides, it's my experience talking to Jews online and in real life that when faced with the truth they refuse to believe it even if they see it with their own eyes. Because then everything in their world would come down crumbling. They prefer to shield themselves, close their ears close their eyes and scream I don't believe this!! Avnery's account, as it is written in the article, was not believed. He was accused of lying and fabricating foe whatever reason.

  10. Look at this story in Mondoweiss today. It sheds light on what we're talking about here:
    ‘Atlantic’ writer admits she knocked Joe Sacco’s Gaza book out of deserved place on top-10 list out of fear of ‘polarizing’

    Fear of polarising?!! lol. No sir!  Just doing a job..Smothering whatever may disturb the tranquil certitudes they've been fed for decades.

  11. Very sad. Are their similar accounts of post 1948?

    This reminds me of the South Asian partition of 1947 [which is widely blamed agianst the British] that killed perhaps 2 million south Asians in weeks, and resulted in the forcible ethnic cleansing of tens of millions.

    Unfortunately there were atrocities on all sides during that terrible tragedy. Soon after partition India and Pakistan fought their first war.

    Was the 1948 near East partition similar to that?

  12. Yes, I read that one. What a disgrace! She should not be a journalist!  Sacco's Gaza book was excellent.

  13. I intend to ask as many as I can about this. I wonder if I do an archive search of major U.S. newspapers, such as the NYTimes, if I will find any account of any Israeli atrocities in its war of independence?  All I know is that while growing up, I never heard or read any negative accounts of Israel. It was, as you say, a fairy tale.