Israeli Cruelty and Stupidity Know No Limits. By Miko Peled

In the court room with my co-defendants and our lawyer, the one and only Ms. Gaby Laski.

In the court room with my co-defendants and our lawyer, the one and only Ms. Gaby Laski.

Israel upped its genocidal policies with cruel attacks against Palestinians, killing young and old, men and women, boys and girls. Israeli news, Israeli society the world at large however, continue to deal with trivia. One example is the trial where I was charged with participating in “disturbances.”

The courtroom in Jerusalem was small with whitewashed walls and a few simple, uncomfortable wooden benches. The air conditioner was either too cold or not cool enough. The atmosphere was causal, no one announced or stood when the judge entered, the prosecution and the defense council were too busy with their papers and the defendants, me among them were caught by surprise as the door to his chambers opened and the judge came in and sat in his chair.

Two other defendants and I were charged with participating in disturbances during the weekly Friday protest in the village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank in 2012(!). Considering that during the month of October 2015 armed Israeli vigilantes and soldiers killed and injured dozens of young Palestinians in a manner that is vicious even for Israel, our trial seemed beyond petty, it was stupid.

The main witness for the prosecution was officer Yousef Nasser El-Din, a Palestinian Druze collaborator who serves as an officer in the Israeli Border Guards, or “Magav.” He is tall and fit-looking, with handsome features. He came wearing the distinctive olive-green uniform of the Border Guards and he was carrying a loaded pistol on his belt. Officer Nasser El-Din told the judge about the “Tsambar” hill where we were gathered. I had never heard this term prior to the trial, it is a Hebrew acronym that stands for “burning tires.” According to him, we stood on that hill, which, as the name suggests, is used to roll burning tires down onto the main road, and onto advancing soldiers. The mob was calling out slogans in Arabic that were meant to incite for violence, “I understand and speak the Arabic language” he reminded the court.

The exchange between him and Ms. Laski was too fast for the court typist who couldn’t keep up. Every few sentences the judge asked them to stop, then he summarized what was said so that the typist could transcribe. When I read the court transcripts I realized that they were more of a paraphrasing and a summary than an actual transcript.

By the time it was my turn to testify it was so cold in the room that my attorney Ms. Gabi Laski looked like she was suffering from hypothermia. Someone finally asked to lower the air conditioner and the judge apologized, pointed the remote toward the air-conditioner and turned it off.
“What do you say to these accusations, that the previous witnessed described” Ms. Laski challenged me.

 

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Unfortunately the officer was no longer in the room.   “I am afraid the time allotted for this hearing will not allow me to recount all the lies told by officer Nasser El-Din,” I began. When I was done answering, the judge, Ohad Gordon, looked at me closely. I was standing behind the rickety lectern that served as a witness stand, just a few feet from him. He leaned over, his face almost too young for his salt-and-pepper hair.

Video of the actual event and the arrests. The tall guy arresting us is the Collaborator Officer Nasser El-Din. My arrest shows up around minute 4:10

“I want to make something very clear. The officer described an unruly riot. You are describing people marching peacefully, a completely peaceful environment, almost pastoral. You both claim that army used  riot dispersing methods, (that means tear gas MP). Is this the picture you are describing to us?”

I looked back at the judge, who seemed to me to be sincere.

“Your honor described it exactly as it is.” I began. “People marching peacefully and then the army, for no apparent reason shooting Not only the place and the time we are discussing, but at every place and at every time, every Friday in the various villages in the West Bank. The attempt to paint the Palestinian popular-resistance as a violent mob is deceitful, it is dishonest, it is a lie. People from around the world come to these villages to participate because the popular resistance is committed to non-violence just as it is committed to resistance and freedom. Palestinian villages have become the international “Meccas” for non-violent activists. Again I say, your honor could not have described it better.”

The officer-collaborator Nasser El-Din also described the goals of the popular resistance in terms that are congruent with general Israeli beliefs. “The villagers are protesting because of a dispute surrounding who owns the rights to the spring at the foot of the village.” The Israeli town of Halamish, where some of the most vicious fanatic Israelis live, has taken much of Nabi Saleh land, including the small spring. But Officer Nasser El-Din is a fool if he thinks that Palestinians in Nabi Saleh, or any other village are putting their lives on the line for a spring, or a well or even a settlement here or there. The purpose of the Palestinian resistance is to free Palestine and to give Palestinians the rights they deserve. And it will not end until this is achieved.

It is the same folly that leads Israeli security officials to think that more soldiers, more police, more checkpoints and walls will keep Israelis safe from the consequences of the occupation. If every inch of every street of every city and town were lined with soldiers, Israelis still would still not be safe. It is also the same folly that leads Israeli lawmakers to think they can legislate against the resistance. Legislating against BDS, legislating against stone throwing, legislating to loosen the shoot-to-kill guidelines, legislating to keep Palestine supporters out of the country.

 

A solider on every inch of every street in Jerusalem

A solider on every inch of every street in Jerusalem

 

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Arresting and searching young Palestinians on the streets of Jerusalem.

No government can legislate an end resistance to oppression, any more than they can legislate to legalize their own crimes. Killing Palestinians in cold blood is a crime even if it is legal in Israel and the Palestinian resistance is legal and moral even if Israel calls it illegal. But if there is one thing unique about Israel it is that it’s stupid. Israeli governments always deal with small irrelevant issues that are devoid of context and conveniently avoid the painful truth. Much like my trial, where they try to place my co-defendants and I in the midst of an angry mob by showing a video where two young boys throw rocks at an advancing infantry platoon. Where in fact we were in the midst of a peaceful protest until the army came and all hell broke lose. But that is neither important nor relevant.

What is relevant and important is to end the siege on Gaza, to release all Palestinian prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and to dismantle the military apparatus that  maintains the apartheid regime in Palestine.

Back at my court hearing, the young prosecutor, his black hair cropped short, seemed at a loss. He kept scratching his head and finally he looked at me and asked:

“Why would the army attack, just like that with no reason?”
“That’s an excellent question, I suggest you ask the army.”

He had no more answers after that. A guilty verdict will likely mean a fine or community service or maybe a donation to a charity. A non-guilty verdict will mean the court realizes the utter stupidity of the case.
A final hearing and verdicts will take place in a few more months.

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22 responses to “Israeli Cruelty and Stupidity Know No Limits. By Miko Peled

  • Dermot Ryan

    Mr. Peled,
    I write from Ireland a place that has too suffered a similar history to Palestine..a Country oddly enough that has taken the philosophy of a most famous Palestinian Philosopher referred to as the Messiah to its very bosom .
    What a horrible theatre of darkness war and blind greed is .
    And what, as Yeats one of our poets described as a “terrible beauty” your brave light of humanity is in such a darkness.
    It seems from this far off vantage point that Israel has become Goliath and David Palestine with his sling shot raging against the machine of Evil..
    I shall pray for you and your cause for that is all I can do from here , and thank God that hope can still spring through in the actions in the kindness of man.
    May I wish you and all the good people of all religions and none in that hell the victory of Peace .
    Yours ,
    Dermot Ryan,
    Attymon, Galway , Ireland (Formerly occupied territory of Britain)

  • Craig Parker Adams

    Thank you sincerely Miko! Your efforts are working sir & from my current experiences I believe that the snowball has begun to take form. Truly!

  • Alice Miller

    Beautifully written, thanks for sharing. I will share this as well. Free Palestine movement of Memphis. Alice Miller

  • Eddie Mann

    Nothing will change until we get a new government in the holy land. The UN should mandate this. It should consist of politicians who are one third Jewish, one third Palestinian and one third from the international community. The UN should appoint a President. This government should be in power for at least 10 years. It should be charged with building a single democratic state in the holy land. This is my idea of what should happen.

  • ivaniel campos

    Thanks Miko, you are very truthful. I hope you keep sending me these news.

    Very truly,

    Ivaniel

  • Jorge Perez de Lara

    Thank you very much for your voice and your presence, Mr. Peled.

    There are people (some even in good faith) who maintain that criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic. They fail to realize that stigmatizing critics instead of engaging with them is merely a refusal to answer legitimate questions.

    I also believe that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its refusal to abide by international law is today the single most important factor for the emergence of ominous, true anti-Semitism.

    The actions of Israel result not only in the denial of Palestinian rights, but in the endangerment of Jews everywhere.

  • LilyKat

    When will this insanity stop? I am furious that my hard earned tax money supports Israel and their murderous military. Our military isn’t much better. Our govt. is so disfunctional!! I am very aware of the corporations that support ‘Illegal Israel’ and I never spend my money with any of them. I never miss an opportunity to educate people about the atrocities that happen in Palestine on a daily basis. I recently engaged in a heated conversation with a person that supports Israels actions and It felt so good to voice my opinion. Your soul has to be off balance if you think it’s ok to murder innocent people and then try to justify it. The racism over their is disgusting and should have no place in this world! I will pray everyday for Palestine and all their supporters.

  • eske holm

    hello from Denmark, Miko Peled
    It was both moving and scaring to read about and look at. The children was fantastic. I Wonder how a young police-soldier feels, when small girls recite and shout – shame? Hopefully.
    My book is still not finished, I am now writing a chapter about the horrible political situation in my country.
    I wonder, if I should include some text based on your experiences right now.
    Best regards from Eske, Denmark

  • Miko Peled

    yes that would be a good idea.

  • Dr Mahmoud Al Farekh

    From Abu Dhabi
    I send you my respect, and love .I am a Palestinian who feel short in front of a tall man MIKO PELED
    I find it difficult to put my thoughts compared with your writing and the people before me
    I can say I admire your courage .
    I wonder how could the judge and his orchestra look to your eyes and deny the reality .
    please keep sending us the rays of hope
    Dr Mahmoud Al Farekh

  • eske holm

    so it will be
    Eske

  • Iris Keltz

    Today’s NY Times had an article about an American-Israeli peace activist who was knifed on the #78 bus. The article made people feel sorry for a wonderful man (including myself) who was an innocent victim of a violent crime. Without mentioning an almost fifty year old brutal military occupation the article made people think Palestinians were savages. There was no mention of the decades of non-violent resistance as exemplified by the village of Nabi Selah. I wish the NY Times would print this statement in their pages, so people would have an honest picture of what is happening in the occupied West Bank––a travesty of human rights and justice.

  • Bob Tripp

    You really are an inspiration, Miko. Thank you!
    Bob

  • Alex

    What incredible bravery to attend these peaceful protests, knowing that the Israeli army can shoot you etc at their whim. I hope I can attend such demonstrations in Palestine one day. The BDS movement continues to expand. It will prevail one day.

  • biggerjake

    Is it even possible that the judge is so uninformed?

    Could one possibly expect a fair decision from such a person?

  • DARRELL

    Mr. Peled, For Jews, Zionism is suicide by murder. Thank-you again for your succor for all. As a Jew I am very glad you and a growing number are doing to restore our place on the side of the angels. G-d willing we shall soon be free.

  • Debra Hayes

    Indeed, your trial is a ludicrous deflection from the real issues affecting Palestinians and Israelis. Thank you for keeping us posted and stay strong!

  • Majeda

    Thank you Mr. Peled for your continuous efforts to show the truth to the world who should know what is really happening in Palestine for the last 67 years committing crimes against humanity not only Palestinians . I shall pray to keep you safe, for I don’t trust those criminals.

  • Rachid

    It is so frustrating to read and watch news about the Palestinian struggle, exclusively since the news takes everything and everyone out of context when it comes to the apartheid regime in Israel. I don’t know how you do it for so long, but I commend you.
    Reading your blogs and book it changed my own life positively, and have actively taken to the streets to protest wars and help refugees. Ironically every time my wife and I visit the camps to help refugees they end up giving us hope of a better future. So, I thank you for turning me into a better individual and to not be afraid to reach out to other people outside my own culture.
    ..but, I’m sure by reading the responses, I am not the only person that has had their life impacted by your actions.

  • Miko Peled

    Thank you. I hope to be in Abu Dhabi in a few weeks, perhaps we could meet for coffee. Email me please mikopeled@gmail.com

  • ivaniel campos oliveira

    Mr. Peled I’m sure your work is not in vain, every change starts with one person.

    Thanks.

    Ivaniel

  • J.A. Dingman

    It is encouraging to see the comments as revealing the truth about the treatment of Palestinians should help to bring positive changes, painfully slow in occurring, finally.
    The claims of anti-Semitism are interesting as Zionists are typically not Semitic, but Palestinians and other Arabs are.

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