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Bourj al-Barajneh Refugee Camp in Beirut

In January/February of last year I spent three weeks travelling around Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Territories trying to see for myself what conditions are like for Palestininans living under the occupation as well as hearing for myself attitudes of Israelis towards the Palestinian people and their plight.

My first stop was  the Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. This camp was created in 1948 as a result of the mass expulsion of Palestinian people by Zionist militias and terror gangs in that year. Initially most of the people who came to the camp were from the Galilee area. In the early days and months, most of the refugees believed they would be back home in a few years. Some 66 years have passed and now this liitle camp of only about one square kilometre has been forced to build upward by whatever means possible to house between 25,000 and 30,000 people, with new refugees from Syria coming in all the time. 

The camp itself has been built using whatever materials the refugees have been able to get their hands on. Refugees who live in the camp are not Lebanese citizens and are banded from obtaining work in Beirut in about 17 different areas of employment. The refugees are highly stigmatised by the Lebanese community outside the camp. The houses they live in defy reason; looking like gravity will win the battle with them at any minute. The walls of every room we went into were water damaged and the electical wiring in the camp still gives me nightmares. Electrical power is obtained from a combination of car batteries, diesel generators and shunting power from outside cables. We experienced power cuts in the camp about four or five times an hour The streets of the camp are tiny with not the slightest room for the thousands of children who live in the camp to even kick a soccer ball.

The childrens schooling is provided by the UN from years 6 and above. Any pre-school education is provided by NGO’s like APHEDA in Australia. I have personally seen the work APHEDA is doing for the Palestinian  people in the refugee camps and in the Occupied Territories.  APHEDA,  Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad  was created in 1984 as the overseas aid agency of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. They are doing wonderful work in these areas. It’s worth noting that the Liberal Party in Australia has done just about everything they possibly can to try and stop APHEDA’s work with Palestinian refugees. No doubt those like Alexander Downer and Christopher Pyne would be at the head of the list of people trying to stop this important humanitarian work.

The hopelessness of their situation was incredibly depressing to us foreigners but the resiliance of the Palestinian people was amazing. They warmly embraced us; giving us presents and feeding us from the little they had. I found no sense of hatred towards Jews or even just westerners. They see that the conflict is neither religiously nor racially based. On many occassions, they told me, many groups of Jewish people from all around the world and many groups of people from the U.S. had come and visited them and they had all been warmly recieved.

With so many problems in the camp, the leaders of the community are flat out dealing with everyday life yet the one wish they all had in common was that they should one day go home. They feel forgotten by the Palestinian Authority (who never visit them) and the rest of the world. I told them we would not forget them. God will not forget them either.





Christian Zionists, from the most influential like John Hagee and Pat Robertson, to the most anonymous, like the many extreme Pentecostals that weekly protest in the CBD of my hometown, Adelaide, are eager to tell us that the Zionist State of Israel must be unconditionally supported by all. In fact, Pat Robertson has said that it is only when he finally decided to support the Israelis no matter what they chose to do, did his ministry start to increase, and, in fact, it only then began to explode in numbers and wealth. God loves those who love Israel and loving Israel means supporting the Zionist state no matter what it does.

I find this type of behaviour beyond comprehension. I fully support the cause of the Arabs of Palestine in their search for justice, equality and self determination yet I would never say that I unconditionally support them no matter how they choose to achieve their goals.

I do not support the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel; I do not support suicide bombings or aircraft hijackings. I don’t support anti-Semitism by Arabs or anyone else. I do not believe in Arabs (Muslim, Christian or secular) forcing their ideas on non-Arabs.

I would not support the destruction of villages and the ethnic cleansing, murder and land theft of Jews by Arabs or anyone else if it occurred.

I would not support the demolition of Jewish homes by Palestinians; I would not support a nation that gave nationality to Arabs but only citizenship to non-Arabs. I would not support the building of a wall that separated Jew from Jew in Israel. I would not support Palestinian only settlements in Israel that hog precious water resources for themselves while denying Jewish people decent drinking water.

I would not support the detention, without charge or trial, of Jewish people (children included) by Palestinians. I would not support an Arab nation that kept 93% of its land for sale to Arabs only.

Whether or not there are Arab countries that would, or in fact already do such things is a worthy argument but the issue is that as a human being, I could not support such actions.

My point is that the state of Israel already does do such things to Palestinians and Christian Zionists proudly support the State of Israel as it does them. We either reject injustice and inequality everywhere or we do not. Zionist Israel does not get a free pass from God on this. The truth is that the Bible clearly teaches that while God unconditionally loves the Jewish people; He does not unconditionally support them in their behaviour. This point is declared in scripture in so many places that listing them would fill page after page in this blog article.

The idea that being “the apple of God’s eye” means a license to commit ethnic cleansing and discrimination against non-Jews in Israel is correctly termed heresy.Scripture plainly teaches that Jewish occupation of the Holy Land is completely dependent on the Jews adherence to the ethical and religious traditions of the Torah. Ethical traditions that leave Zionist Israel in a place of moral bankruptcy.

Any group that openly supports the state of Israel in such behaviour could never be said to be a true friend of Israel. The truth is that it is just such groups that are the true anti-Semites.


Ethnic Cleansing of Invented People. By Miko Peled

Mostafa Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, Bahjat Zaalan and his son Ramdan from Gaza died on my fiftieth birthday and just a few days after Newt Gingrich declared them an invented people. They were murdered by the Israeli terrorist organization, the IDF, an organization that is supported and funded by the US.  One Israeli terrorist shot the invented Tamimi in the head with a tear gas canister, and another Israeli terrorist fired a rocket that murdered the invented Zaalan and his boy Ramadan.  Both terrorists were educated and trained by Israel, and armed by the US.  The Israeli terrorists are not invented but quite real, and they are safe, protected by the apartheid regime that trained and sent them on their missions, and the Israeli court system will make sure that they are never brought to justice. This is how Israel’s well-oiled ethnic cleansing machine operates.

The Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine is not a thing of the past but an ongoing campaign that is executed by three arms of the State of Israel: The education system, a dedicated bureaucracy and the security forces. The education system is dedicated to indoctrinating and producing soldiers and bureaucrats who will execute and enforce the ethnic cleansing. The bureaucracy is charged with making rules that make life unlivable for Palestinians.  Rules that restrict Palestinian access to their lands, and restrict their ability to travel freely to work and school. This same bureaucracy then demands that Palestinians pay for permits to be allowed do these very same basic things that they were denied. The security forces, the most obvious of which is the IDF, are charged with enforcing the restrictions, fighting off the resistance, armed or peaceful, and terrorizing the “invented” people of Palestine.

Since my father was a general and I served as a soldier in the IDF terrorist organization, people often ask me how is it that Israeli children who are raised in a Western style democracy become such monsters once they are in uniform?  The detailed answer can be found in my book, The General’s Son due out in February 2012, but the short answer is this: Education – Racism requires a mindset that is fashioned by education.  In order to rationalize and justify the ethnic cleansing the Israeli education system portrays Palestinians as culturally inferior, violent and bent on the annihilation of the Jews, and at the same time, void of a true national identity. Palestinian national identity is but a figment of some anti-Semitic imagination.

Israeli children are educated to see the Palestinians as a problem that must be solved and as a threat that must be eliminated. They can go through life, as I did growing up in Jerusalem, without ever meeting a Palestinian child. They know nothing of the life or culture of Palestinians who quite often live only several hundred meters from them.

Palestinians are portrayed as an existential threat through absurd comparisons like that of Yasser Arafat to Hitler, the Palestinians to Nazis, and the Palestinian resistance to Al Qaeda. Since Israeli kids never meet Palestinians what they learn in school, particularly in the school textbooks, is all that they know. In fact it is remarkable that even though they live so close to one another, much if not all of what Israelis know about their Palestinian neighbors comes from high school text books and popular racist stereotypes. Israelis don’t know that Palestinians never had an army, that they do not posses a single tank, a single warship or fighter jet, that they don’t have a single artillery battery and do not in fact pose a military threat at all.  According to a new book by Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, not a single photo of a person who is a Palestinian exists in Israeli textbooks and there are millions of Palestinians in and around Israel.  Israelis don’t learn about Palestinian doctors and teachers, engineers and writers. They don’t learn Palestinian poetry or prose and they don’t read the works of Palestinian historians.

At a recent lecture I mentioned the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and someone called out: “What ethnic cleansing?” People are unaware of the ethnic cleansing taking place in Palestine because Israel hides it well and the mainstream media doesn’t care enough to ask. In mainstream peace groups and dialogue groups that discuss Palestine/Israel, a basic Israeli condition is not to bring up issues like the ethnic cleansing because Israel doesn’t like to talk about it.

But for the past 64 years ethnic cleansing of Palestine is what drives the Zionist policies towards Palestinians. All Zionist governments and all Zionist political parties left right and center support the ethnic cleansing.  The Israeli judicial system lets the Israeli authorities get away with abuse, theft and murder as long as they are perpetuated against Palestinians. Had these same crimes been committed against Israeli Jews they would have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Zionist supporters like to bring up the fact that on November 29, 1947 the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish sate and an Arab state.  What is left out of the Zionist story is that within one year of the vote Israeli forces had managed to capture close to 80% of Palestine, destroy close to 500 Palestinian towns and villages, kill scores of unarmed civilians and force the exile of some 800,000 Palestinians.

Then, when the UN passed resolution194 in December of 1948, calling for the refugees to be allowed to return to their homes, Israel proceeded to build cities and towns, parks and highways for the use of Jewish Israelis on Palestinian land. Then the Knesset began passing laws that prohibit the return of the refugees and allow the new state to confiscate their lands.

After the war was over, the Palestinians who remained within the newly created Jewish state were forced to become citizens of a state that despised them and saw them as a “problem” and a “threat.” They were designated as “The Arabs of Israel” a designation that stripped them of a national identity and denied them any rights to the land and provided them very limited rights as citizens. From being the rightful owners of their lands and their country they now existed at the pleasure of the new owner of the land, the state of Israel. Palestinian refugees were forced into concentration camps, conveniently called refugee camps, and those that tried to return were shot.  A military unit was created for the purpose of punishing Palestinian refugee who “infiltrated” back into their homeland, now called Israel.  It was called Unit 101, the notorious Ariel Sharon led it and it made a name for itself as a murderous gang with a license to kill Palestinians.

So regardless of the myth, now perpetuated by Newt Gingrich among others, that says there was no forced ethnic cleansing, we know today that the creation of Israel was made possible through a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing, conducted by the Jewish militia, involving massacres, terrorism, and the wholesale looting of an entire nation.

Newt Gingrich, being the history buff that he is, might be interested in a story I mention in my book The General’s Son, about my mother. She was born and raised in Jerusalem and she remembers the homes of Palestinians families in neighborhoods in West Jerusalem. She told me that when she was a child, on Saturday afternoons she would go for walks through these neighborhoods, admiring the beauty of the homes, watching families sit together in their beautiful gardens. In 1948 when the Palestinian families were forced out of West Jerusalem, my mother was offered one of those beautiful, spacious homes but she refused. At age 22, the wife of a young army officer with little means and with two small children, she refused a beautiful spacious home, offered to her completely free because she could not bear the thought of living in the home of a family that was forced out and now lives in a refugee camp. “The coffee was still warm on the tables as the soldiers came in and began the looting” she told me.  “Can you imagine how much those families, those mothers must miss their homes.” She would ask and she continued, “I remember seeing the truckloads of loot, taken by the Israeli soldiers from these homes. How were they not ashamed of themselves?” there are thousands upon thousands of homes in cities all over the country that were taken.

Moving forward now to 1967 and the myth that Israel was fighting for its existence as it was attacked by Arab armies from all directions.  Much was written about this but nothing is more revealing than the minutes of the meetings of the IDF general staff from June 1967, just prior to the war. According to the generals, one of whom was my father, Matti Peled, not only was there no existential threat but the generals clearly state that the Egyptian army needed at least a year and a half before it would be ready for war and therefore this was an opportune time to attack and destroy it.  The army pressured the cabinet to authorize an attack and indeed the cabinet approved an attack against Egypt.  The IDF destroyed the Egyptian army and then went on to attack Jordan and Syria. It took the IDF six days and 700 casualties to kill an estimated 15,000 Arab forces, take the West Bank, the Golan Heights and The Sinai Peninsula.  One may like to think this was a miracle but it was a well-planned, well-executed attack against countries that had no viable military force.  The Israeli army had thus fulfilled its goal of conquering the entire Land of Israel, and the De-Arabizing of Palestine could now proceed into the West Bank and Gaza.

Since the early days of the State of Israel the IDF made it its mission to be the most brutal bully in the region.  Today the IDF has one purpose: to conduct an all out war against Palestinians by terrorizing Palestinian civilians, kidnapping children from their homes and using brutal force against protesters. We are reminded of the intensity of IDF cruelty every so often, the latest major display being the three-week bloodbath in Gaza that began on December 27, 2008. Hundreds of tons of bombs were dropped by Israeli pilots on Gaza, followed by a massive invasion of land forces.  All this for the purpose of  terrorizing a defenseless civilian population that includes 800,000 children.

Now that Israel has been in control of the West Bank for over four decades it had built and invested there heavily.  But all of the investment and construction in the West Bank was made to bring Jews into the West Bank.  Palestinian lands are being taken at an alarming pace, their homes are destroyed and thousands are incarcerated, while industry, roads, malls, schools and gated communities with swimming pools are being built for Jews only.  Water, which is the scarcest resource of all, is controlled and distributed by the Israeli water authority, as follows: Per capita, Israelis receive 300 cubic meters of water per year.  In comparison, per capita Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza receive 35-85 cubic meters per year, while the World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 100 cubic meter of water per person per year. But what is even worse is that per capita, Israeli settlers in the West Bank are allocated 1500 cubic meters of water per year. Jews in the West Bank live with green lawns and swimming pools while Palestinians quite often get no water at all.  Perhaps invented people have no need for water.

De-Arabizing the history of Palestine is another crucial element of the ethnic cleansing. 1500 years of Arab and Muslim rule and culture in Palestine are trivialized, evidence of its existence is being destroyed and all this is done to make the absurd connection between the ancient Hebrew civilization and today’s Israel. The most glaring example of this today is in Silwan, (Wadi Hilwe) a town adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem with some 50,000 residents.  Israel is expelling families from Silwan and destroying their homes because it claims that king David built a city there some 3000 years ago. Thousands of families will be made homeless so that Israel can build a park to commemorate a king that may or may not have lived 3000 years ago. Not a shred of historical evidence exists that can prove King David ever lived yet Palestinian men, women, children and the elderly along with their schools and mosques, churches and ancient cemeteries and any evidence of their existence must be destroyed and then denied so that Zionist claims to exclusive rights to the land may be substantiated.

Once we connect the dots it is not hard to see that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is only a small part of the Israeli Palestinian issue. The greater issue is the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the Zionist state.  The way forward for Israelis and Palestinians alike is to oppose the ethnic cleansing by opposing all its manifestations. This means supporting the movement to boycott, divest and place sanctions on Israel, or BDS for short, it means actively participating in the popular non-violent struggle in Palestine and it means challenging the racist laws that govern Israel by defying them. There has to be a clear and unequivocal call to recognize that the IDF is a terrorist organization and its officers are war criminals. Furthermore, the reprehensible discrimination against Palestinians, whether they live in Israel/Palestine or not, practiced by the security officials at Ben Gurion airport and other points of entry to Israel/Palestine must be challenged. The struggle for a democracy in our shared homeland is no different than the struggle at Tahrir square and can in fact be seen as part of the Arab Spring.

Miko Peled is the son of an Israeli General and a staunch Zionist who came to realise that his side of the story is not the only side to the story, and who now dares to say in public what others still choose to deny.He is now a peace activist and an author whose book “The General’s Son” is soon to be released.

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