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Posted on Jun 22, 2011
Peter Scheer: We’re speaking with Miko Peled. He’s the author of the book “The General’s Son.” And I just want to pick up on that; that’s of course essential to today and these peace negotiations, the right of return for these Palestinians. And … the myth that they were never there—that of course influences whether or not they should have the right to return, right?
Miko Peled: True. True, and of course, the fact remains that the refugees who live outside of Palestine today are descendants of the 800,000 or so that were forcibly exiled out of their homes and out of their land, and they lived in the 500 or so towns and villages and cities that Israel destroyed. And so that is one issue that has to be resolved in any context of a resolution. And again, I don’t think, I can’t imagine, I can’t foresee any Israeli government that will ever allow these people to return, under any conditions, under any circumstances. And so that’s something I think people need to consider when they talk about having these peace negotiations, because I think it’s going to lead to nothing; it’s going to end up nowhere. And then the existential threat—again, after Israel conquered the West Bank and the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, in a matter of days with very little resistance, they had to somehow justify this. And the justification was that there was an existential threat, that the Israeli Army had to act and take over all these lands and destroy the Arab armies because there was an existential threat. And as I—anybody can go in and look at the Israel Army archives, and I have done that, and I quote them in my book. When you look at the discussions that the top brass, the top generals in the Israeli army were holding in the days leading up to the war, there was no talk of an existential threat …
Peter Scheer: We should just say the War of ’67.
Miko Peled: The War of 1967.
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Miko Peled: The discussion was, this is an opportunity to destroy, they were talking about the Egyptian army mostly, because it was weak and unprepared.
Peter Scheer: And your father was there.
Miko Peled: And my father was there. And my father was there, and he was one of the strongest … one of the generals who pushed for the war. And he was quite a hawk at that time. He said that the Egyptian army, it will take them years before they’re ready for war; let’s destroy them right now, because we have an opportunity.
Peter Scheer: And then after—after the Israelis were successful, he took a more nuanced position, I guess?
Miko Peled: Well, after it was successful, his point was, this is an opportunity to make peace with the Palestinians. Because he said, now the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are not occupied by any other country, so we can negotiate directly with them; we can resolve the Palestinian problem based on the notion of partitioning the land into two states. It was a much more favorable position to Israel at that point than it was in 1947 when the United Nations decided to partition the land that Israel got left. And the Palestinian population, he said, were prepared and ready to negotiate, and we can resolve this once and for all. And he said this is in the best interest of Israel; if we don’t do this now—and again, I talk about this in the book and in the video interview—if we don’t do this now, then we’re going to end up having a resistance, and the Israeli army is going to have to fight the resistance, and we’re going to become an army of occupation. And eventually, we’re going to become a binational state and not a Jewish democracy.
Peter Scheer: Right. And that’s what happened.
Miko Peled: And that’s exactly what happened.
Josh Scheer: We’re speaking with Miko Peled, who wrote the book “The General’s Son.” Again, we talked about the ignorance before of Americans with the media and everything else. Whenever you see on the news, like, rocket attacks, suicide bombings, it seems like it’s a daily occurrence. But then you see 20 people killed or five people killed, and then the Israelis launch a counterattack that kills a hundred, 200, 300 … no, Peter?
Peter Scheer: No, I’m just—I’m thinking that you, in the video I was watching, you had an incredible statement about experiencing the rocket attacks and how horrible they were, but then also thinking about the one-ton bombs being dropped on Palestinians and civilian populations.
Miko Peled: Yeah, there are two things that people don’t realize. The Palestinian rocket attacks are always in response to Israeli attacks, No. 1. No. 2—and again, this is something my father said decades ago—when a small nation is being occupied by a larger power, terrorism is the only means at their disposal. So to expect … that the Palestinians who live in Gaza, for example, who live under such horrific conditions, and not resort to some sort of violence, is foolish. I mean, it’s foolish. Not to mention the fact that according to international law, they’re allowed to resist with arms. But the point is, to expect that they won’t resist with some sort of violence is foolish. Now, if you take the violent resistance and you compare it to the nonviolent resistance, it disappears; but in comparison, it’s irrelevant in comparison. The Palestinians, the majority, the biggest thrust of the Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation is nonviolent resistance, except that’s never reported. So they have marches every single week, every single Friday, every single Saturday; they’ve had them for years, in a whole host of locations all over the West Bank and Gaza, but of course—and they’re met with horrific, horrific violence by the Israeli Army. But none of this is ever reported, so people don’t know that it exists. When the Qassam rockets are fired, this is news right away, and they see the ambulances and so on and so forth. And then when the Israelis attack with a force that is so unbelievable, then again, that’s justified. And people say well, if people were attacking us, we’d do the same thing—which I don’t think is true, and even if it was true, doesn’t justify it.
Josh Scheer: Well, that’s also, I mean—could it also be, again, the Palestinians don’t have the arms. I mean, the Israelis—they’re always going to be perceived as the bully, right? Because they just, they have this very powerful army. And they’re attacking people…
Miko Peled: Well, they are the bully.
Josh Scheer: Yeah. No, no, I mean they are the bully, but they’re attacking a less sophisticated force in terms of weaponry and things like that…
Miko Peled: Of course. Of course.
Josh Scheer: So just, it’s always going to look bad.
Peter Scheer: Let’s talk about the settlements. This is obviously a big sticking point in the news a lot in the last couple of years here, but what is—what is your prediction for what happens with the settlements?
Miko Peled: Well, I don’t think the settlements are going anywhere. I don’t think anybody who’s seen the settlements and has been to the settlements, or has traveled in the West Bank, could imagine them disappearing one day. We’re not talking about little villages or little outposts; we’re talking about massive infrastructures, we’re talking about big cities, we’re talking about schools, we’re talking about malls, we’re talking about highways. Billions and billions of dollars invested. And the problem is that these are, all of these are being built on Palestinian land, excluding the Palestinians from living there. So they’re building all these towns and cities and malls and highways on Palestinian land for Jews only. Now, this is not atypical; I mean, most of Israel is like that. Most of Israel is really settlements on Palestinian land. In the West Bank it’s more pronounced, because the people are still there; there was no big ethnic cleansing like there was in the rest of what is, today, Israel. So people say, well, maybe we’ll do some kind of a land exchange, so some of the settlements will stay. Problem with that is again, if you’ve seen it, you realize how absurd it is. If somebody had land in the West Bank and it was taken away—and we’re talking about beautiful, fertile land, with water and orchards and so on—and they’re going to be given some sand dunes in the south somewhere near Gaza, how is that going to work? I mean, who is going to agree to this? And I think all this is being said knowing full well that none of this is going to work and nobody is going to be taking it seriously. Because the main thrust is to complete the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, to make people leave, to make people suffer, to make people die, and to continue building a Jewish, a purely Jewish state on the ruins of Palestine.
Josh Scheer: So I just want to read—we’re talking with Miko Peled, author of “The General’s Son” … I want to ask you something—this is totally off-topic, and we’ll get back to topic right after this—but how do we get your book? Because I want to know, when is it going to come on Amazon, and to get it, like a mass release, and just to kind of promote your book a little?
Miko Peled: Sure, yeah. It’s not off-topic at all. [Laughter] The book is almost out; it should be out at the end of this year.
Josh Scheer: Oh, great, OK.
Peter Scheer: Oh, good.
Miko Peled: And once it is out, my blog—it’s going to be announced on my blog, and it’s going to be announced by Facebook, and everybody else.
Peter Scheer: How do people find your blog?
Miko Peled: It’s MikoPeled.wordpress.com. If you Google Miko Peled, my blog comes up right away.
Josh Scheer: Now, in this country, I know with the Jews that you meet and you talk … this issue is … what?
Peter Scheer: Josh and I both have a lot of friends who are Jews, American Jews, who …
Josh Scheer: And Israeli Jews.
Peter Scheer: … are unsympathetic, totally, to the Palestinians …
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