Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Palestine-Israel: “We All Have To Choose” -Israeli author Miko Peled, speaks in DM

By Kathleen McQuillen

In recent weeks Palestinians imprisoned inside besieged Gaza have organized non-violent demonstrations at the apartheid fence to demand their internationally affirmed “right of return” to their Palestinian homes.
Called the Great March of Return, these demonstrators were met with live ammunition from  Israeli forces, leaving nearly 30 Palestinians dead, and several hundred seriously injured.
It is with that backdrop that over 100 people gathered at the Iowa State Historical Building to hear the PalestineIsrael story, this time through a Palestinian narrative. What was unique about this presentation was the presenter. Miko Peled is an Israeli born Jew, whose family was deeply engaged in the founding of Israel, and who had himself served in the Israeli military. Today Peled works in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle to advance the human rights of the Palestinian people.
(Michael Gillespie) Miko Peled speaking, Maria Fillipone at his side

Peled grew up in Jerusalem relating only with fellow Jews. Though he knew the city was filled with Arab homes he didn’t think to ask of the whereabouts of the people who built them-- the people who owned them.
Peled was 39 years old and living in the US when his beloved niece was killed by two young suicide bombers and amidst the grieving came the questions. To find the answers Peled decided he had to learn about the “other” and he began his journey into Palestine to learn the story he never knew.
Looking at the world through the eyes of an occupied people, and refugees and political prisoners, Peled now sees what he failed to see growing up. The stories of his youth- that Israel belonged to the Jews because it is the land of their roots, and that the Israeli army is returning Israel to its earlier glory as in the reign of King David, now ring hollow for him.
The new stories he has learned of Palestinian mass expulsions, ethnic cleansing, and massacres carried out first by the Zionist militias, and later by Israel’s army opened his eyes to new realities. He came to understand the Arab homes throughout Jerusalem, belonged to those Palestinians driven out in the creation of Israel. He came to understand that the land he was living on, now Israel, had been until 1948 Palestine.
Peled challenged the group to use their moral compass and choose. Do we choose justice or oppression?
We in the US do not get to choose the fate of the people of Palestine-Israel, but we do have a role and a responsibility. Our government has chosen Israel at a cost of now $4 billion annually and thousands of Palestinian lives. We can choose differently.
We can choose to support international law wherein:
·         refugees are allowed to return to their homes (or be compensated)
·         the siege of Gaza is lifted
·         the occupation of Palestine is ended and the walls and checkpoints come down
We can choose to support the sovereign rights of all the people of Palestine-Israel, wherein the human, civil, and equal rights of all are respected.
“But time is short. The patient is dying.”  It is time to act.
Peled urged the audience to get involved with:
·                                                                Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. This is an effective strategy to hold Israel to account for its human rights and international law violations.  https://bdsmovement.net/

·                                                                McCollum Bill (HR 4391)– “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of  Palestinian Children” Act         https://mccollum.house.gov/palestinianchildrensrights
As the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian “Nakba” (catastrophe) approaches on May 15, and as the Palestinian people of Gaza continue to live under the Israeli siege in an open-air prison,  and as  the people inside the West Bank continue to lose more land to Israeli settlers, and Palestinians living inside what is now Israel live under separate and unequal laws ---- surely now we can all choose to act to end the persecution of the Palestinian people.
We in the US have a responsibility to demand an end to US funding of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people
“The patient is dying” and we can choose to help stop the bleeding.

This program was presented by the Middle East Peace Education Coalition (MEPEC) with 12 co-sponsoring organizations. Postcards in support of the McCollum Bill were distributed and signed by the audience. These cards will be delivered to Rep. David Young’s office.
To learn more about MEPEC contact Kathleen McQuillen, kathleenmcquillen@gmail.com or Christine Anders, christine@dmfirstchurch.org

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