Speaker gets personal on Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Students for Justice in Palestine hosted “Beyond Zionism,” a talk Monday evening with Israel peace activist Miko Peled about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through his experiences and his hopes of shedding light on a conflict that is still happening decades later.
Born in Jerusalem, Peled comes from a family that is intimately tied to Israel’s history. His father fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, became a brigadier-general and was perceived as an Israeli hero. Peled’s grandfather was among many who signed the Israeli Declaration of Independence.
His father later regretted the role he played in the 1967 war and became a Knesset member, dedicated to promoting a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
“I think it was great that he made the speech simplistic for many to understand the conflict while providing his personal insight as a prominent Israeli general’s son,” said finance senior, treasurer for SJP and main organizer of the event Shadi Rafeedie.
Peled spoke about the different meanings behind the idea of “the right of return” from both Palestinian and Israeli perspectives.
“Everyone almost accepts that this is the realty of (the conflict), that Jews have a right to live in Palestine. Now, when we think of the right of return, we think that it applies to everyone, that people have a right to return to their homeland, but when we talk about the right of return for Palestinians to their homeland, that is taken off the table,” Peled said.
Peled published a book titled “The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and signed copies of his book for the audience.
“The most significant part to me was when he stated that there were two sides to the issue, a right side and a wrong side. Generally, when people discuss the issue, they at least try to reason with both sides. This man lived with the other side and still acknowledged that they do not have a leg to stand on,” said UH alumna Zeinab Kachmar.
Peled spoke about a personal tragedy that happened within his family. His niece was a victim of a suicide bomb attack. His family was angered by the death, but they directed their anger toward the Israeli government.
“My sister came out to talk to the media after the funeral, and she said to them, in terms of revenge and retaliation, no real mother would want to see this happen to any mother. Yet killing people in response to someone’s death, particularly a child — quoting her favorite Hebrew poem, ‘Even the devil himself could not create a vengeance that’s appropriate for the death of a child,’ what are you going to do? Kill a thousand people? Does that bring her back? This whole idea of revenge and retaliation is horrifying,” Peled said.