By Uri Avnery, Christopher Costello
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Extra resources for 1948. A Soldier's Tale – The Bloody Road to Jerusalem
Shlomo Greimann, Uri Avnery, Moshe Shatzky …” We look at each other. We know: from now on we will live together, rely on each other, and have faith in the commanders. Suddenly a stir in the camp – our weapons have arrived. We run, in order not to miss this historic moment. The crates are opened and there they are, the rifles. Thickly coated in grease. With plenty of ammunition. Everyone gets his own personal rifle. As evening falls we sit and clean them without having the right equipment. And the whole time, until long after midnight, we try to come to terms with events: a personal rifle for each Israeli soldier.
The Zionist side accepted the partition, at least officially, because it gave them 55% of the land although they represented only a third of the population. The Arab side rejected partition completely. They saw it as a decision on the part of foreigners to take away a large part of their land and give it to intruders. The British government, which had been administering the Mandate for Palestine following the fall of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, committed itself to withdraw from the land by the middle of May 1948.
In the late afternoon we return to camp. We have hardly had time to change our clothes when there is another roll call. We line up in silence. We are waiting for the list. The boss gives us a searching look. In his hand is a white sheet of paper. We know: the list. “I will read the names of reserve number one. The men will line up in three rows before me …” One name after another. After each name your heart skips a beat. A good friend: Gustav, the clown of the company. We will miss his performances in the evening.
1948. A Soldier's Tale – The Bloody Road to Jerusalem by Uri Avnery, Christopher Costello