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The General’s Son and the Hamas Fighter’s Brother

August 30, 2012

We recently received this very moving review of The General’s Son from Yousef M. Al-Jamal, a writer and social activist from Gaza who works with Gaza City’s Center for Political and Development Studies:

This wonderful book tells the story of transformation of two men, a father and a son, from being Zionists to becoming pro-Palestinian by choice. This book is unique for the author belongs to an elite family in what is now Israel. His grandfather signed Israel’s declaration of independence. His uncle by marriage was Israel’s third president back in 1963. His father was one of the generals of 1967 Six Day War. He himself served in the special forces of the IDF (which we call the IOF). He lost his niece in the conflict, yet he chose peace. He and his dad saw peace the only way to get out of this bottleneck of conflict.

Peled’s burden is the burden of his history, and the tragedy of our own. The sorrow I feel for the death of Smadar (the author’s niece) is indescribable. I know what loss is for I am the brother of Zaynab and Omar. Omar was an 18-year old Hamas fighter who was killed by Israeli snipers who invaded the refugee camp that is our home, in 2007. Zaiynab was a newly-married 26-year old who passed away because of the siege.

The author’s strength and readiness to change is a source of inspiration. I decided to read his book to know how an Israeli general’s son thinks. As soon as I learned that he was the uncle of Smadar, I decided to read the book till the end. I was thirsty to learn more about the conflict by reading a different view. Nothing will be greater than reading the account of a general’s son and a victim’s uncle– who also holds the sixth-level black belt in Karate.

The Peleds did what others could not do. I was upstairs when I finished the last page in his book. I looked to the east; the Israel/Palestine borders stands carelessly. I remembered it all. The 13 years of ban on family visits between Gaza and the West Bank. The border is just three miles away from our house in Al-Nuseirat refugee camp. I am half-Gazan, half West Banker. My mother made it to the West Bank last April after 13 years of trying. I am still unable to make this dream true. I felt proud of Miko Peled as he moved from one Palestinian village to another to protest injustice, but at the same time, I felt helpless as a Palestinian who for 13 years continuously can’t visit his family living just a few miles away.

This world has suffered too much because of Zionists. Palestine is proud of people like you, Miko. We should keep fighting for equal rights. No more racism or apartheid. This world is ours.

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