Israeli War Hero's Son Challenges His Nation's Policies Toward Palestinians

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Posted July 17, 2013

Interview with Miko Peled, an Israeli peace activist and author of “The General’s Son”, conducted by Scott Harris

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Miko Peled took a circuitous route to becoming a Middle East peace activist. He grew up in Israel, the son of Matti Peled, a war hero who served in the Jewish state’s war of independence in 1948 – and who served as a general in 1967, when Israel annexed Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula. Peled’s grandfather was Avraham Katsnelson, a Zionist leader and signer on Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Miko’s current activism can be traced to his father’s transformation, from a general during the Six-Day War, to becoming a scholar in the Arabic language and literature at Tel Aviv University. Gen. Peled later became a passionate peace activist and an advocate of negotiation with the then-outlawed Palestinian Liberation Organization. As a member of the Israeli Knesset or parliament, he campaigned for an Israeli withdrawal from all the Occupied Territories he had earlier helped conquer as a general.

A family tragedy resulting from political violence in Israel would become a catalyst in Miko’s own transformation. A 1997 Palestinian suicide bomb attack that took the life of his 13-year-old niece, Smadar, became Miko’s moment of political awakening. His 2012 book, “The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” is a memoir of his family and personal history, recounting his service with the Israeli Special Forces, emigration to the U.S., leading to his rejection of Zionism and advocating instead for a one-state solution. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Miko Peled, who talks about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict from the unique perspective of the son of an Israeli war hero – and army veteran turned peace activist.

For more Miko Peled’s articles and blog, visit mikopeled.com. Visit “The General’s Son,” website at Thegeneralsson.com.

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