Miko Peled, the General’s Son – Seattle Oct 1, 2012


Todd Boyle - TRANSCEND Media Service


by Gloria Tatum, Decatur – TRANSCEND Media Service

Israeli peace activist Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son – Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, spoke last week to audiences at Georgia State University, Spelman College, Kennesaw State University, the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda and Oakhurst Presbyterian Church.

Peled grew up in Jerusalem in a privileged, patriotic Zionist home. He served for a time in the Israeli military in the elite Red Beret unit.  Later in life, like his father, he became an opponent of the racist Israeli occupation of Palestine and a supporter of Palestinian human and civil rights.  Peled is on a nationwide speaking tour to promote his book and dispel the myths and double standards that surround the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

His family has deep roots in Israel.  His grandfather, Dr. Avraham Katsnelson, was a Zionist leader and a signer of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.    His father, Matti Peled, is a well-known Israeli general who was a young officer in the war of 1948, which the Israelis call “the war of independence” and the Palestinians call “the catastrophe.”  General Matti Peled fought in the 1967 war that Israelis call ”our victory” while the Palestinians call it “the disaster.”

Americans pay over $3 billion in direct support to Israel and even more indirectly through armaments every year.  “Sadly, on the issue of Israel/Palestine, Americans are the least informed people in the world,” Peled told the audience.  Through his book tour, Miko hopes to help create a more informed and active electorate in America.

In 1947 the United Nations partitioned the land of Palestine into two sections.  The larger portion was given to the smaller population of recent Jewish immigrants, and the smaller portion to the larger native Palestinian population.  The Zionists believe in “the right of return,”  which means using the Bible as a quick claim deed to return to the land they left over two thousand  years ago.  However, the Palestinians who were forced off their land by the Zionist militias and who still have the deed to their land are not allowed the “right to return.”

“As soon as the1947 U.N. resolution was accepted, the Zionist forces started a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing.  Between 1947 and 1948 the Zionists conquered almost 80% of the land, destroyed over 500 Palestinian towns and villages and exiled almost one million people.  The Zionists had militias of forty thousand well trained soldiers and my father was one of them.  The Palestinians had no equivalent, no military force.   The Arab armies did not enter the war until late May of 1948, over six months into the war, after most of the ethnic cleansing had already taken place,” Peled said.   The story that is repeated and believed is that Arabs attacked the young, vulnerable Jewish community and wanted to destroy it.    “No one investigates or questions this myth.”

Peled’s mother Zika was born and raised in Jerusalem.  As a young girl, she walked around the neighborhood and saw the big, expensive, beautiful  Palestinian homes.  In 1948, these Palestinians were forced to leave by the Zionist militias and their homes were then looted and given to Israeli families.  “My mother refused to take another family’s home.  Her story contradicts what I learned in school and the national narrative that the Arabs attacked us, we won, they left and we got the spoils of war.  The truth lies in the personal story, not the national narrative,” he explained.

In 1967, Egyptian president Nasser kicked the U.N. peacekeepers out of the Sinai and put in Egyptian troops.  The Israel generals saw this as an opportunity for war but the Israeli Cabinet did not want war.  While going through the army archives, Peled found documentation that his father and several other generals convinced the Israeli Cabinet that the Egyptians would not be ready to fight a war for at least one and a half to two years.  Israel saw a military opportunity to make a preemptive strike and defeat the Egyptian army.    “So once again, the story is told that Israel was attacked by massive Arab armies wanting to destroy Israel.  In only six days, Israel prevailed and captured the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights,” Peled said.

“After the Six Day War, a massive Jewish settlement project and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians began in the West Bank.  Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were thrown out of their homes and their towns and villages were destroyed.   Israel then built new cities and highways to bring only Israeli citizens into the West Bank.   This was the Zionist plan to conquer the land, remove the people, and de-Arabize the country.  This campaign has been going on for 65 years and is still happening today,” Peled explained.

“After my father retired from the military, he dedicated the rest of his life to creating a Palestinian state and equal rights for Palestinians who are Israeli citizens,” he said. This has not happened.

It was only in 1993 that Israel began to negotiate a peace plan with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for a Palestinian state, because the Israeli leaders knew that the conquest of the West Bank was irreversible and the establishment of a Palestinian state  was impossible.    You can’t have a two-state solution when almost all  of the Palestinian land has already been stolen by the Zionists and developed for Israeli citizens only.  The Palestinians are living in little enclaves isolated from each other with a high wall around them, check points, and no equal rights, civil rights or human rights.

“It is Israel who is incapable of making concessions, because from the Zionist perspective taking the land and making it ours is the name of the game,” he said. “This again is part of the myth that the Palestinians will not make concessions and that they don’t want peace.”

On September 4, 1997, two young Palestinians blew themselves up in downtown Jerusalem and killed Miko’s niece, 13-year-old Smadar.  His sister, Nurit, was asked by the Israeli press who she held responsible for her daughter’s death.   “These two young men were driven to such despair and hopelessness that they took their own lives and the lives of innocent civilians, including my little girl.  They were driven to this despair by the brutal occupation, by the cruel oppression that Israel had placed upon them.  When we take away people’s dignity and their homes and land, when we deny them water, incarcerate their fathers and  brothers, kill their young children and give them no hope, this is what happens. Innocents pay the price.  I hold the state of Israel responsible for my daughter’s death,” Nurit said, as reported by her brother Miko Peled.

“My sister’s words set me on a path of exploration and activism,” Peled said. “I began to visit Palestinian communities and made Palestinian friends.  I learned no one wanted to kill me because I am Israeli. I realized the Wall, the massive armed Israeli security forces, the terrorizing and harassment of Palestinians at airports and check points has nothing to do with security.  It has everything to do with racism, hatred and a deep desire to keep us apart.  To keep me privileged and to keep them with no rights.”

“The Israeli army is the best trained, best equipped terrorist organization in the world,” Peled said.  “Here is one example, of the most shameful day in the history of the Jewish people.  On September 27, 2008, Israel attacked Gaza and dropped one hundred tons of bombs on the first day of 21 days of slaughter.  This is how Israel controls the different populations.”

According to Gaza medics:  1,205 Palestinians killed, including 410 children, 108 women, 113 elderly men, and 5,300 wounded.  Israeli medics reported:  13 Israelis killed,  including 10 soldiers and 3 civilians with dozens wounded.  Amnesty International reported the Israeli army used white phosphorus in densely populated civilian residential areas of Gaza City.  When white phosphorus lands on the skin it burns deeply through muscle and into the bone.

South Africa got rid of apartheid and the U.S. got rid of racist laws.  Zionism, just like apartheid and racism, has to go.  It has to be replaced with true democracy for all.  Palestinians and Israelis can live together as equals.  The only answer to peace lies in the transformation of the Jewish state to a secular democracy with equal rights for everyone, Jews and Palestinians alike.

“I know how hard it is for many Jews and Palestinians to let go of the dream of having ‘our own’ exclusive state.  But for the good of both nations, the Separation Wall must come down, the Israeli control over the lives of Palestinians must be defied, and a secular democracy where Israelis and Palestinians live as equals be established in our shared homeland,” Peled concluded.


Join the BDS-BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS campaign to protest the Israeli barbaric siege of Gaza, illegal occupation of the Palestine nation’s territory, the apartheid wall, its inhuman and degrading treatment of the Palestinian people, and the more than 7,000 Palestinian men, women, elderly and children arbitrarily locked up in Israeli prisons.

DON’T BUY PRODUCTS WHOSE BARCODE STARTS WITH 729, which indicates that it is produced in Israel.    DO YOUR PART! MAKE A DIFFERENCE!


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 Nov 2012.

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