In the 70's my dad Mohamad Khalili who went by the name Salam (Peace in Arabic Shalom in Hebrew) was handed out a 25 years jail sentence for publishing an invoking article in the daily newspaper Al-Quds Daily (Jerusalem) where he was working as an editor in chief.a detailed accounts of what happened on the ground in the so called six days war, the takeover of West Bank from Jordan... I was a month old my sister Falastine (Palestine in Arabic) a year old, they left us with the nuns at a monastery with a note to deliver us to the grandparents in Jordan in case they got mom & dad went to the battlefield, they saw no fights instead witnessed a mass exodus of Palestinians to Jordan fearing (a repeat of the 1948 horror stories) eminent death, my parents unheard appeal to stay ignored, his first aid kit was of no use but his camera & recorder was.. the border was sealed no re-entry allowed these people still to this day unable to return to homes living in refugee camps in Jordan make the story short, and tell you about it dad discovered, documented & published without Israeli's censorship approval that the war was pre-planned, pre-arranged & agreed upon by king Hussein of Jordan & Israel.a fact the king admitted 20 yrs latter....a change of occupiers that my dad suspected it was in the works a year before, and in a desperate attempt to convince his fellow journalists he made a decision to call his yet to be born child weather a boy or a girl Palestine..unusual name & a first of its kind at that time. luckily she was a now what I mean if you speak Arabic we don't have (it), everything a he or a she in either M or F form.

In 1970 now living under the Israelis occupation he publishes his report in the paper,arrested the next day, ends up in Ber Shiva prison (Sinai Desert) the worst jail in Israel at the time..mean while I got lucky, with a political prisoner parent I was granted a free tuition in the only very expensive private catholic school in Jerusalem where the YMCA was our PA classes. and a place with a an address where mail was delivered next door to the US embassy (the rest of the west bank & a large part of Jerusalem had no mail delivery system under occupation at that time) so I GOT MAIL..from dad telling me Gandhi stories & peace crab I did not understand my 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th grade teachers read to me not hate love is the answer and so on..I was full of hatred i didn't know what to make out of it ...not until my late teenage years it clicked he was planting the seeds of peace in thank you dad.....and thank god for the elite school with mail delivery...Now I can tell you the bird story......

One day a lost baby bird wet, cold and fragile makes it through the tiny barb wired window cell of Salam, he takes care of it and nourish it from his mouth & when it matured it flew away but it kept comming back everyday like it was home, everyone fell in love with the bird the jailed & the jailers he roamed among them with no fear & he became a sensation to all....and was known as Salam's bird
one day while the bird feeding in the prison's yard, a guard on duty walking back & forth accidentally steps on the bird & kills it....the guard tenderly pick's it up and frantically rushes to Salam's cell crying hysterically asking him to do something to save the bird... what happened, is he dead Salam said. the guard explained what happened then to my dad's surprise, asked him for forgiveness for killing the bird & how much he loved the bird..of course I forgive you, Salam replied, they hugged each other & start sharing their favorite memories of the bird.

A magical transformation took place afterward, the mean & unfriendly guard an immigrant Jew from Russia, became nice & friendly, in the days after the incident the guard & Salam became very good friends sharing stories about their families, my dad an artist painted a a portrait of him with his family from a picture he gave him as a gift, because of him my dad was able to smuggle out 20 oil painting with the help of the guard....over a 120 painting confiscated by the jail authorities citing they are too political. (one painting was hanging in the warden office a portrait of a lion behind bars, the warden said to Salam you see even if you're lions we can still put you behind bars, my dad replied: no.on the contrary..even if you put us behind bars we still lions) can paint a bird or a dog but not anything with a hint of a people's struggle for freedom & justice.. you can see the painting on my facebook under my name Nidal Khalili I'll be posting them here soon...

so thank you for reading and hope you too can be inspired by this to forgive your enemies and plant the seed of love & peace and thank you dad for the gift of love & peace you implanted in me...

Salam, spent 7 years in prison, in 1979 an amazing group of journalists with Ruiter News Agency secured his release on the conditions he leaves and never return to the country, he was dropped of in cypress, a Jewish American Journalist Sara from NY married him got to NY, they collected 7500 US got on Greyhound bus to see the country, got of the bus in San Francisco where he resided & worked as a signmaker.. He became a close friend with Jack Kornfield founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and spoke many times promoting peace between Palestinians & Israelis...He Past away in his San Rafael home in 2006 at the age of 64...his ashes scattered at spirit rock, Jack's latest book Wise Hearts cites few of salam's stories including the bird....Jack visited Israel & the west bank after Salam's death to promote peace & bring booth closer..thank you Jack & all peace loving humans for planting the seeds of peace.... my sister & I joined my dad in SF in 1989...
To my dad's delight I ended up meeting a Jewish woman whom I married and had 2 kids with Nick 16 & Haille 12..wich I'm so proud of their daughter said lets call it Israelistian...
I'm divorced now but not for political reasons..

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Comment by Shneor Sherman on August 19, 2009 at 8:59am
I was in Jerusalem during the 1967 war. It sure did not look to me that the Jordanian army did not fight. There was a great deal of shelling, it looked like spectacular fireworks at night, coming from the Jordanian-controlled areas. I went to the roof of the Supersol building on the second night just to have a good view, as I had a few hours off work. I know without a doubt that there was fighting in the Jerusalem area.
Comment by Dror on August 18, 2009 at 1:30am
I heard there was even one Iraqi plane that managed to enter into the Israeli airspace during that war. According to the information you bring, King Hussein managed this war in a very peculiar way. He could have stayed out of the crisis, but instead he signed a treaty with Abdulnasser, despite the animosity between them. He had to know Israel would panic because of this treaty, and Israel was indeed in panic. Begin, the greatest political enemy of Ben Gurion, said it was time to call Ben Gurion back from his retirement, and fire Eshkol, due to the dangerous situation (eventually Eshkol remained in power). When war seemed to be inevitable and the Israeli army planned its attack on Egypt, Eshkol sent a letter to King Hussein begging him to stay out of the war. Hussein decided to send troops to take the UN post in the Jerusalemite no man's land. Israel saw it as an indication that Jordan is about to open another front, and attacked the Jordanian army in the West Bank. Now, you say Hussein ordered his army to let the Israeli army take over. So, he actually sent troops to the no man's land to lure the Israeli forces into the West Bank? And if so, why did he talk with Abdulnasser on the second day of the war in order to coordinate their moves? Was it merely a distraction?
Comment by Nidal Khalili on August 17, 2009 at 6:53pm
sorry you are right about the Negev, as far as the 67 war , my understanding is that Jordanian army had an order from the king not fight, in Jenin they encountered a few Iraqi tanks which was destroyed and you can see them to this day...
Comment by Dror on August 17, 2009 at 4:33pm
One correction - I am not sure to which prison you refer by the name "Ber Shiva", but since it is called by the name of the city of Be'er Sheva (Arabic: Bir A-Saba`) it was probably in the Negev (Naqb) desert and not in Sinai.

As for the report which started the whole story, i.e. the report that the June 1967 war was preplanned by Israel and Jordan, what sources did he use to base his report? Actually the developments that led to the war were mainly between Egypt and Israel, and the Israeli-Jordanian part of the war started only after the tension between Egypt and Israel reached its peak.


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