This blog is dedicated to tearing down the separation wall and transforming the Israeli apartheid system into a democratic state with equal rights. This is an idea that may be a bitter pill to swallow for Jews and Palestinians who will have to let go of the dream of having a state that is exclusively Jewish or Arab. The articles, the stories and the pictures in this blog are meant to make a single point: For the good of both nations, the Israeli apartheid system must be defied and BDS must be adopted fully so that the Separation Wall will come down, and a democracy with equal rights can be established in Palestine.
The State of Israel is an entity that cannot be sustained: 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.
ABOUT MIKO’S BOOK,
“THE GENERAL’S SON, JOURNEY OF AN ISRAELI IN PALESTINE”
Miko Peled is a writer and activist born and raised in Jerusalem. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative he has written a book about his journey called “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” The book covers the work in which Peled’s family has been involved since his grandparents immigrated to Palestine in the early 20th century, describing their work and their life in detail. Peled’s maternal grandfather, Avraham Katznelson was a signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence; his father Matti Peled was a General in the Israeli army; in the 1970’s his father pioneered an Israeli Palestinian dialogue and eventually met with Yasser Arafat in an effort to convene him to recognize the State of Israel and adopt the Two State Solution. In 1997 Miko’s sister Nurit lost her daughter Smadar in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem and that was what finally drove Miko to embark on the journey to discover Palestine.
In the forward to the book, Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker writes:
“There are few books on the Palestine/Israel issue that seem as hopeful to me as this one.
Other reviews include:
Pulitzer Prize journalist Seymour Hersh: A brilliantly rendered father-and-son saga that evokes Greek mythology.”
Pulitzer Prize writer Naomi Wolf: “Brave, honorable and engaging.”
Jim Miles of Foreign policy journal: “There are many powerful books written on the topic of Palestine/Israel but few if any are as masterfully written as Miko Peled’s “The General’s Son.””
Uri Avnery, Former Member of Knesset and veteran peace activist: “A fascinating story that provides much food for thought.”
Landrum Bolling, former President, Earlham College:
“Miko is truly inspiring in the telling of his family’s story, and of his own struggles to live up to the moral, ethical, and intellectual legacy from his father.”
Walid Khalidi, General Secretary, Institute for Palestine Studies: “We are privileged to accompany the author on his journey of self-education… culminating in poignant advcacy of a unitary binational state anchored in common humanity”
Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian: “Out of personal pain and sober reflection on the past comes this powerful narrative of transformation… [A] must-read for anyone who has not lost hope that one day peace and justice will prevail in Israel and Palestine.”
Miko’s father, General Matti Peled was a respected general and hawk who clearly stated that contrary to Israeli claims, the 1967 war was one of choice, and not the result of an existential threat to the state of Israel. He then dedicated his life to promoting the Two State Solution, which he believed would allow Israel to maintains the fruits of the 1948 war and ethnic cleansing of Palestine – which meant control over the vast majority of the country, and allow the Palestinians to establish a small state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This is a solution which he believed would lead to an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The political becomes personal with Miko’s stories. In 1948, his mother refused to accept 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. How can I take the home of another mother!”
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.” Having lived in the sphere of the privileged occupier Miko, like other Israelis, he never met Palestinians. Chapter 7, the chapter where Miko describes the beginning of his 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. It 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 integrated what was the West Bank into the rest of Israel with Palestinians living in segregated, often completely closed off pockets.
The options for those who seek peace in Palestine 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 protect them from the evil that is war.