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Granddaughter of Respected Danish-Israeli Journalist Comes Out against Gaza War

On Nov. 15, Israeli peace activist May Pundak gave a half-hour interview in English on Danish TV2, which will have an important impact in Denmark. She is the director of A Land for All, Two States, One Homeland, the granddaughter of the respected late Danish-Israeli journalist Herbert Pundak (Editor in Chief of Politiken), and the daughter of the late Ron Pundak (one of the Israeli negotiators of the Oslo Agreement).

May Pundak made a scathing attack on the current war in Gaza, the Netanyahu government, the idea that there can be a military solution (which is creating a more dangerous future for Israel), and the repression of internal Israeli and Palestinian critiques of the war. She called for a ceasefire, negotiations for establishing an updated two-state solution as reflected in her organization’s policy of two sovereign states with free passage and cooperation between the states.

More in detail in paraphrase: While there is no justification for the Hamas attack, the context is the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the pressure-cooker we created. We can’t go back to the status quo.

While she and the Israelis are in shock after the Hamas attack, there is a destructive revenge mentality, dehumanizing the Palestinians. You can lose your job or be arrested for just decrying the killing of children in Gaza. I can’t say what I am saying to you now in Israel. There is ethnic cleansing.

The context is the 20-year occupation. She stated that Hamas was used as an “asset,” against the Palestinian Authority, but thinking that we will have the military advantage over Hamas, which turned out not to be true.

Israel has the right to protect itself, but this policy is not protecting it, making it worse. There is a disproportionate response and massacres. You can’t blame the children for Hamas’ attack. The PA is also oppressive to the Palestinians, and she mentioned Marwan Barghouti as a potential leader.

The only way to have security for Israel and stop the bloody cycle is a sustainable peace agreement. The Oslo agreement, which her father was a party to, failed because it didn’t define an end-goal, and Rabin was assassinated.

We need international intervention from the U.S., the EU, and the Arab states, also to prevent a schism between East and West.

You can’t fight Hamas with force, even if you take out their military leadership—it is an ideology, and there are many civilian branches. We need a political solution, and we have to learn from the failure of Oslo.

May Pundak’s interview will serve as an intervention against the Danish government policy, which stresses Israel’s right to defend itself, just asking Israel to obey international law, only calling for humanitarian “pauses,” and urging Israel to let humanitarian help come in. Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen was just in Israel and the West Bank a few days ago, restating this policy.

But the opposition to this policy inside Denmark is growing.