Michael Slate Interviews Author and Activist Miko Peled

“Palestinians are suffering from a regime of apartheid, a campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide all at the same time”

April 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


The following is excerpted from an interview with Miko Peled, aired on March 16, 2018, on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio. The entire interview is available at themichaelslateshow.com.

Miko Peled is the son of an Israeli general, and Miko Peled himself served in the Israeli army. After his niece was killed by Palestinians in a suicide bombing, instead of responding with blind hate and revenge, Peled was driven to learn for himself why the Palestinian people were so full of outrage. Today he lives in the U.S. where he courageously speaks out against Zionism and Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. He is the author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.

The Michael Slate Show airs every Friday at 10 am Pacific Time on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles. The show can be streamed live here and people can listen to or download archived shows here.

Revolution/revcom.us features interviews from The Michael Slate Show to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theatre, music and literature, science, sport, and politics. The views expressed by those interviewed are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere by Revolution/revcom.us.


Michael Slate: There’s a full-scale assault on the Palestinian people right now and it has been kept quiet and secret from the rest of the world. In February alone at least 1,319 Palestinian people were detained by the Israeli occupation forces and other assaults continue unmitigated. Yet so little is known to the rest of the world. What’s your assessment of the situation today?

Miko Peled: It’s funny, you know, because people always say to me, “So how are things in Palestine? It seems like it’s really nice and quiet there now, like nothing’s going on.” I’m thinking how in the world does anybody reach that conclusion? What in the world makes people think that everything is fine? Palestine is bleeding like an injured human being, bleeding to death. Bleeding to death at an unbelievable speed, an unbelievable speed. It’s a miracle that there’s any piece of Palestine that is still alive. It will require an enormous effort, enormous relief, to just bring Palestine back on its feet and that relief isn’t anywhere in sight. And so the patient is dying very rapidly, the bleeding is severe, and like you said, people go around the world thinking that everything’s fine because they don’t see it on the news.

Michael Slate: There’s a lot of assaults on the Palestinian people, but it really does look like what we’re looking at is ethnic cleansing. That raises things to a whole other level. Cleansing the Palestinians from Jerusalem, but also throughout the country as a whole.

Miko Peled: Yes, you know it’s interesting, too, because when you use terms like ethnic cleansing, like genocide, like describing Israel’s regime as an apartheid regime, people on the other side are always up in arms, they’re outraged: “How dare you say the Jews could possibly commit genocide? The Jews would never agree to impose apartheid on other people.” I think Nancy Pelosi once said it’s absurd to think the Jews would ever use apartheid against other people. First of all, Jews are like any other people; they can do what other people do, just as bad and just as good. But on the issue of Palestine, it’s very easy to show because the international community has defined these terms.

What is happening in Palestine is all of the above. It’s an apartheid regime and, again, international law describes exactly what apartheid is. It is ethnic cleansing. Again you can look at the definition of ethnic cleansing. And it’s genocide. Look at the Geneva Convention and the description of the crime of genocide and compare these three definitions to what has been happening in Palestine over the last seven decades and somebody come up here and tell me that it is not a perfect fit. It is genocide, it is ethnic cleansing, and it’s a regime of apartheid all at the same time. Again, the definitions are very clear so for some reason to come up and say oh no, it’s not this and it’s not that, it’s not the other―it’s complete nonsense. All you have to do is look at the definition that international law has given these terms, these crimes, and it’s a perfect fit.

Michael Slate: Let’s get into some concrete examples of what is actually happening in Palestine now.

Miko Peled: We have two million people in the Gaza Strip without access to clean water, without access to proper medical care. They have been subjected to bombing beyond belief and the injured from those bombings still have not been able to get medical relief. We’re talking about tens of thousands of people without access to relief. If you want to kill someone without shooting them, you can injure them, then let them die slowly, or you can deny them water, or you can deny them clean water and they will die from disease. So there’s clearly an intent here, a very clear intent, to see the people of Gaza die a slow death—and we’re talking about two million people.

This scene in Gaza after a 2014 Israeli airstrike calls to mind the reality that Peled addresses: "...two million people in the Gaza Strip without access to clean water, without access to proper medical care. They have been subjected to bombing beyond belief and the injured from those bombings still have not been able to get medical relief. ... So there’s clearly an intent here, a very clear intent, to see the people of Gaza die a slow death...." Photo: AP

We know very well as a result of the relief organizations that are able to do some work there that a child with a curable disease—a curable cancer—inside the Gaza Strip will die. A Jewish-Israeli child a mile away on the other side of the border with the exact same disease will live, and it’s only because Israel denies the health care, the proper medical care, to the Palestinian child. So that is two million people in the Gaza Strip.

We have hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Negev Desert who are denied clean water, with infant mortality rates that are off the charts and without any comparisons to mortality rates among Israeli Jews. We’re talking about the Bedouins in the Negev Desert, Palestinians who are Israeli citizens. Children are dying because they have no access to clean water, so they’re admitted to the hospital with diseases that you never see Israeli children, Jewish children, being admitted with these diseases. They don’t have those problems, they have access to clean water, they have access to health care immediately.

With Palestinians in Jerusalem who are losing their homes at an alarming rate, losing the right to live there ... you know, I was born and raised in Jerusalem—I can come and go as I please. I’ve been gone for 20 years—I go back, I’m a citizen. Palestinians in Jerusalem are—first of all, they’re not citizens, they’re “alien residents” even though several of the families there go back very far. And if they leave, then they lose their ability to return, they lose their alien resident status, and their property is taken away. This is happening at an alarming rate, plus home demolition, plus entire communities in the periphery of Jerusalem, which used to be attached to Jerusalem, Palestinian communities, Palestinian towns that have become complete ghost towns. You see the brand-new buildings—businesses, homes—completely abandoned because the people have been subjected to ethnic cleansing.

And the list goes on and on and on—in Galilee, in every part of the country, Palestinians are suffering from a regime of apartheid, a campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide all at the same time.

Michael Slate: This is pushed underneath everything else so a lot of people don’t know about it at all. Gaza in particular really reminds me of the Warsaw Ghetto. There’s a certain irony there given who’s actually reigning over what’s happening in Gaza right now. But the fact that it does look like and remind one of the Warsaw Ghetto is pretty heavy

Miko Peled: Yes, it’s horrifying, it’s beyond horrifying. The fact that the world is allowing that to happen, and again—we’re not talking about some remote mountaintop in the middle of Afghanistan where there’s no access. We’re talking about Palestine, we’re talking about a country where there’s plenty of access—or where there could be plenty of access to clean water, to the best health care ... people are educated. It is a three-hour flight from Paris. I mean, for God’s sake, you know, it’s half an hour from Tel Aviv, from Jerusalem—cities where you wouldn’t dream of seeing Israeli Jews live like this, and nobody cares. There are no protests, there are no demands that the siege on Gaza be stopped.

If this was any other place you’d have the [U.S.] Sixth Fleet there forcing the siege open and giving basic humanitarian care to the people there, but they won’t do that because it’s Israel. Eventually what needs to happen is the Sixth Fleet needs to force that siege open instead of collaborating with the state of Israel, which is what the U.S. military is doing now on a huge scale, and for some basic relief for the two million people of Gaza.

By the way, the crime of genocide as it is defined by the Geneva Convention also speaks about complicity with genocide, and that’s where the United States government and the European government hopefully will one day find themselves—in a court of law—because they are complicit with the genocide of the Palestinians.

Michael Slate: Miko, there’s a specific role of U.S. imperialism here, and it’s been ongoing. But it’s taken a leap since the ascendancy of Trump to the top of the regime. You look at, for instance, just the recent thing with Jerusalem and the U.S. embassy being moved to Jerusalem, which is a declaration that the U.S. stands solidly behind the genocide that the Israeli administration and government is bringing down on the Palestinian people.

Miko Peled: Yes, without a doubt Trump has emboldened Israel in a way that was hard to imagine, because we all thought this was as bad as it’s going to get. This move—putting the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem—was, first of all, reckless. But it was also a move that was designed as a slap in the face to all the Arab and Muslim world. It was a personal, political gift to Benjamin Netanyahu, because Netanyahu and Trump have become BFFs. And now they brought into the equation the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, who is a criminal, who is conducting a horrifying campaign of killing and slaughtering in Yemen, and was just given billions of dollars’ worth of weapons by the Brits and a complete license to continue this by the Americans. And the price he has to pay is, of course, normalized relations with Israel, and there is every reason to expect that there will be normal diplomatic relations between the two countries before long.

So this is a very dangerous, very dangerous, time. I think it is more dangerous than anything I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. And the people who suffer the most as a result of this are the Palestinians, because Israel has been emboldened—they are even more violent and more brutal towards Palestinians and Palestinian children than they have ever been before.



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