Mrs. Peled and the Palestinian homes of West Jerusalem

I am delighted that my company, Just World books, is publishing Miko Peled’s intimate and thought-provoking memoir The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. (We’re already taking advance orders though the book won’t be available before the end of February.)
Miko has been giving out some great teasers for the book in the writing and lecturing he’s been doing in recent months. Today, on his blog, he has this intriguing story:

    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 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.

Ah, the importance that a mother has in raising a thoughtful and compassionate person, eh?

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