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The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. Miko Peled. Just World Books, Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.A. 2012.
There are many powerful books written on the topic of Palestine/Israel but few if any are as masterfully written as Miko Peled’s The General’s Son. Combining a wealth of knowledge and experience, with a strong sense of human compassion and common sense, and with a compelling and forceful narrative, Peled has written a story that needs to be read by anyone interested in Palestine/Israel and the broader Middle East in general.
The author’s writing style craftily weaves together his father’s story, followed by his own story, with comments, anecdotal incidents, and information that draw the reader further into the work. The story dispels the myths created by Israeli society that are used to sustain its posturing domestically and with its foreign policy.
Peled’s father, Matti Peled, was a popular and well-known Israeli general, having fought in the 1948 Independence war and the 1967 war against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Seeing the results of those wars, Matti Peled became a peace activist, essentially arguing that Israel could not prosper as an oppressor country. Miko Peled followed his father’s actions as a child, and after his own stint in as a Red Beret, became increasingly absorbed into his own beliefs concerning the unjust and non-humanitarian Israeli treatment of its Palestinian population.
The work is divided into four sections. The first covers the life of Matti Peled and his strong criticisms of Israeli actions, in particular after the 1967 war. Immediately after the war, Matti Peled said, “Now we have a chance to offer the Palestinians a state of their own.” He believed that holding on to the territories was “contrary to Israel’s long term strategy of building a secure Jewish democracy.” As events continued, as settlements continued, he arrived at the position in which he indicated that the best thing the U.S. could do for Israel would be to stop weapons sales and stop the free money given to Israel.