This blog is dedicated to tearing down the separation wall and transforming the Israeli apartheid system into a secular democracy, where Israelis and Palestinians will live as equal citizens. As an Israeli that was raised on the Zionist ideal of a Jewish state, I know how hard it is for many Jews and Palestinians to let go of the dream of having a state that is exclusively “our own.” The articles, the stories and the pictures in this blog are meant to make a single point: For the good of both nations, the Separation Wall must come down, the Israeli apartheid system be defied and BDS must be adopted fully so that a secular democracy where all Israelis and Palestinian live as equals be established in our shared homeland.
The State of Israel today is governed in a way that cannot be sustained, where the two nations it governs, Israelis and Palestinians are used and abused and it is a state of affairs that should not be tolerated: Half of the population is governed by a radical Zionist regime that sees the struggle for control over the land as a zero sum game, and the other half of the population is governed by the security forces of this Zionist regime; one nation ruling over another while controlling all of the land and its resources. It is a reality where half of the population lives in what it thinks is a Western democracy while keeping the other half imprisoned by a ruthless security apparatus.
In his book, “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine” Miko shows how it is that the son of an Israeli General and a staunch Zionist came to these realizations. Realizing that your side of the story is not the only side to the story, and then accepting rather than fighting this realization and in the end finding that the story upon which I was raised, was a lie – now that is an interesting journey.
The following was written by Iris Keltz from Taos, New Mexico :
“Miko Peled is a peace activist who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. He has credibility, so when he debunks myths that Jews around the world hold with blind loyalty, people listen. Miko was born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family. His grandfather, Dr. Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His father, Matti Peled was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and the Sinai.
Miko’s unlikely opinions reflect his father’s legacy. General Peled was a war hero turned peacemaker. The general clearly stated that contrary to claims made later, the 1967 war was one of choice, and not because there was no existential threat to the state of Israel. He then dedicated his life to promoting the Two State Solution, which he believed would lead to an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The political becomes personal with Miko’s stories. He might have learned compassion from his mother who, in 1948, refused to accept of an Arab home in West Jerusalem – a house that became available as the result of the ethic cleaning of Palestinians from West Jerusalem – knowing that the family who lived there was now forced to become refugees. As the daughter of one of the signers of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, Miko’s mother could have used her position of entitlement to get a lovely home for herself and her family. But she said, “No.”
Miko grew up in Jerusalem, a multi-ethnic city yet racially divided, part of a system that keeps Palestinians and Israelis living in separate spheres. The Arabs of Israel, as the Palestinians are called by Israel – the laborers, janitors, cooks, etc. are indistinguishable from Arabs across the Middle East and as being referred to by that name creates the impression that they have no special connection to Jaffa, Lod, Ramle, Lydda, Haifa, Jerusalem or any other part of the “Land of Israel.” Behaving lived in the sphere of the privileged occupier Miko, like other Israelis, never met Palestinians. Chapter 7, the chapter where Miko describes the beginning of hi journey, begins with the words, “My journey into Palestine began in San Diego in 2000. I was 39 years old.”
Peled insists that all of Israel/Palestine is one state with exclusive rights for Jewish people. I has been this way since 1967. Facts on the ground are undeniable and irreversible– massive investment in infrastructure, cities,schools and malls for Jews only, Jewish only highways bisect and connect ever expanding settlements on the West Bank, the separation wall and the checkpoints have purposely destroyed any possibility of a contiguous, viable Palestinian state.
The options for those who seek peace in Palestine/Israel are as follows: An apartheid state with exclusive rights for Jewish people. A state with a brutal security apparatus where half the population are forced to live with little or no rights and in intolerable conditions. A state where million live without access to proper nutrition, medical care or clean water, condemned to humiliating long lines at checkpoints, or a free, democratic Palestine with equal rights for all people who live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Peaceful coexistence can be a reality in Palestine, but only once a real democracy is achieved and the rights of al Palestinians are respected – including the right of the refugees to return.
Before Miko came to hold such a vision, he had to face his fears. Driving alone in the to Palestinian towns in the Galilee or the West Bank in a car with license plates that identified him as Israeli, Miko imagined Arabs lurking behind every curve of the winding road following the rolling hills waiting to kill him. Heading towards the village of Bil’in for the first time, he silently questioned if he was crazy to trust “these people”? Peled was afraid but kept on driving until he found the village and was greeted by friends.
The solution might be obvious but the problem remains, how to change the existing paradigm– from fear and loathing to coexistence? At the heart of Peled’s solution lies the realization that Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace as equals. At the a gathering in Taos, New Mexico, an Israeli woman who heard Miko speak told Miko that his father was the hero of her childhood, and in fact, a photograph of the general hung in their home. “It is an honor to meet the son of Matti Peled,” she said, “I had given up hope for any kind of just solution and try to stay removed from events there but I see how much you care and meeting you gives me hope.”
Those who cling to fear, mistrust or greed are under the false assumption that Palestinians and Israelis have a choice other than to live as equals. But it’s inevitable – the wall will come down, and the two people will eventually live as equal citizens in a free democratic Palestine.
The story of the patriarch Abraham going to sacrifice his beloved son, to prove his faith is shared by both Jews and Muslims. At the moment of truth, when Abraham was about to kill his son an angel appeared telling Abraham not to harm the boy. This story exists in the Old Testament as well as in the Quran and the moral of the story is quite clear: Out shared God does not want us to sacrifice our children to war, in fact, whether we are believers or not we are all called by our God or our conscience to care for our children and raise them with all the love they deserve.