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March 10, 2013

Son of Israeli general supports Palestine

The Canadian Charger

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"Israel never had any intention to allow a Palestinian state. The West Bank is completely part of the State of Israel." That is what Miko Peled told a sold-out crowd at an event on February 26 in Ottawa's St. Paul University. The talk was sponsored by the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations.

His view is that a two-state solution is not possible now, nor was it ever the aim of Israel to permit such an arrangement.

Peled took aim at the very concept of Zionism, which hold that Jews everywhere have a right to “return” to Israel.  The claim is that they were there 2,000 years ago, on the questionable assumption that Jews today are the descendants of the ancient Hebrews.  This flimsy claim is widely accepted.  On the other hand, Palestinians who were driven out 65 years ago are not seen has having any right to return by this popular consensus.

He spoke of the destruction in Gaza, in which families lost as many as 12 to 15 members. He said that now there is no starvation in the strip—just malnutrition.  And the avoidance of starvation is only because of the tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt—1500 tunnels along a ten-mile strip of land. 

In discussing the original formation of Israel, he noted that the 1947 UN resolution gave the larger portion of the country to the small number of Jews who were then there, leaving the smaller part to the much larger number of Palestinians.  Of course, the Palestinians found the proposal unacceptable.

With the Palestinian rejection, war came to the land.  He said that the Zionist militia of 40,000 men was armed and well trained.  The Palestinians had no militia, and invading Arab forces were no match.  According to the widely accepted myth, “The Arabs attacked, but we won and they left.”

The reality was otherwise.  The militia “carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing and terrorism that lasted for a year,” leaving Israel with almost 80% of the land.  Contrary to the legend that the conquest was a miracle, he asserted, “It was no miracle.  It was well planned and carried out.”

When the Irgun Jewish forces conducted a brutal massacre of Palestinian civilians at Deir Yassin, Israeli President Chaim Weitzman called the massacre a tragedy.  Yet, he saw a silver lining.  As a result, many thousand Palestinians fled.

Because his father Mattityahu Peled was a general in the Israeli forces, his family was given a fine house in Jerusalem that had belonged to a Palestinian family which had been driven out.  Even today, his mother feels guilty about living in this home from which another family was forced to leave.

Present at this session was Canadian Senator Pierre de Bané.  He is a Palestinian from Haifa, and his family was driven out by Israeli forces and had to flee to Lebanon. 

The 1967 Six Day War was the time of awakening for Peled’s father.  Egyptian forces, Miko Peled related, entered the Sinai, but Egypt was not prepared for war.  At the end of the war with combined Arab forces, Israel had taken the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.  Arab forces lost 15,000 troops, against 700 Israelis.  His father, in a meeting of the generals, argued that the victory made it possible to implement a two-state solution, but his colleagues decided otherwise.  They convinced the politicians that such a move would be perilous, and they proceeded to further ethnic cleansing, a process that continues to this day in one form or another.  General Peled no longer went along.  He became a strong advocate for a two-state solution and for equal rights for Palestinians in Israel.

In what is now in reality a single state, “It is a democracy for the Jews.  Palestinian Israeli citizens have some rights, but 30 laws discriminate against them.”  Their facilities and villages are in appalling shape, he said, and he also pointed to thousands in jail and subjected to beatings.  While Israel gives Jews preferential treatment, “There is nothing Jewish about Israel.”  Instead, the country is racist and undemocratic. 

How can things change?  He is certain they will change.  They will change when people around the world isolate Israel and attack it with boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions.  The campaign to isolate Israel is beginning to have an impact on the views of the wider community, and governments will eventually be forced to follow, as with South Africa.  He commented on America’s “full support for Israel”:  “The United States also gave full support to South Vietnam.” 

His book The General’s Son, dealing with the story of the justice of the Palestinian cause and his activism for Palestinian rights, is available at Amazon and elsewhere.

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