Mattityahu Peled Dies at 72; Former Knesset Member Met Arafat

Mattityahu Peled, 72, a former Israel Defense Force major general and a former Knesset member, died last Friday of cancer at his home in Motza Ilit.

He had headed the supply branch for the IDF’s general staff.

Peled was highly critical of the IDF and resigned from active service in 1969.

Peled earned a doctorate in Arabic literature in 1971 from UCLA, subsequently becoming a lecturer at Tel Aviv University.

In the 1970s, Peled entered political life, helping to establish the political party “Sheli,” a Hebrew acronym that means “Israeli Left.” The socialist party called for the withdrawal of the IDF from all territories gained during the 1967 Six-Day War. It wanted to grant Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza strip the right to self-determination.

He was the chairman of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, which called on the Israeli government as far back as the mid-1970s to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Peled met with PLO leader Yasser Arafat and other PLO officials several times during the 1980s.

Several of Sheli’s members, including Peled, were among the founders of the Progressive List for Peace. In 1984, Peled was elected to the 11th Knesset on behalf of this Arab-Jewish party, which advocated an independent Palestinian state.

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