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 the achievement of Israeli Palestinian peace.
Or, will Israel/Palestine transform itself into a secular democracy for the five and a half million Israelis and almost five million Palestinians who live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. To become such a sanctuary, Israel must give up the idea of Jewish dominion over all the land and resources.
The political becomes personal with Miko’s stories. He might have learned compassion from his mother who, in 1948, refused the offer of an Arab home in West Jerusalem with the understanding that the family who lived there were now forced to live in a refugee camp. 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, part of a system that conspired to keep Palestinians and Israelis separate. Peled insists that Israel/Palestine is one state. 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 destroyed the possibility of a contiguous, viable Palestinian state. The question for Israelis, worldwide Jewry and the international community is: What kind of a state do we really want to see? An apartheid state with half the population confined to intolerable bantustans, without access to proper nutrition, medical care or clean water, condemned to humiliating long lines at checkpoints?