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Maxim Ghilan was the director of the International Jewish Peace Union, the first Jewish organization to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a partner in dialogue. He was the co-founder, in 1971, of the periodical Israel and Palestine Political Report.
Ghilan was born in France in 1931, but grew up in Spain. He moved with his mother to Palestine in 1944, after his father had been abducted by the fascist movement of Francisco Franco and was never seen again. As a young man, he joined Lehi, also known as the Stern Gang, but changed his philosophy after seeing Arabs tortured while he was in prison during the government of David Ben-Gurion.
In 1966 Bul, a tabloid which employed Ghilan as its deputy editor, published a story accusing the Mossad of involvement in the 1965 disappearance of Morrocan dissident Mehdi Ben Barka. Ghilan and his editor were charged with espionage and imprisoned for 135 days.
In the early 1970s, Ghilan became one of the first non-Communist Israelis to meet with representatives of the PLO. He later became a personal friend of Yasser Arafat. Ghilan moved to Paris in 1969 and returned to Israel after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.
Maxim Ghilan was known as an activist, journalist, writer, and poet. He died suddenly in his Tel Aviv home, in Jean Jaurès str., on 2 April 2005.
- Ghilan, Maxim: How Israel Lost Its Soul, Penguin, 1974. ISBN 0140217886