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The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine [Paperback]

Ilan Pappe
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2007

Renowned Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe's groundbreaking book revisits the formation of the State of Israel. Between 1947 and 1949, over 400 Palestinian villages were deliberately destroyed, civilians were massacred and around a million men, women, and children were expelled from their homes at gunpoint.

Denied for almost six decades, had it happened today it could only have been called "ethnic cleansing". Decisively debunking the myth that the Palestinian population left of their own accord in the course of this war, Ilan Pappe offers impressive archival evidence to demonstrate that, from its very inception, a central plank in Israel’s founding ideology was the forcible removal of the indigenous population. Indispensable for anyone interested in the current crisis in the Middle East.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; Reprint edition (1 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851685553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851685554
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Pappe is one of the brave few voices to stand up and be counted in the oppressive atmosphere of Israeli society. Pappe's book is a searing account of the horrific brutality perpetrated during the birth of the state of Israel."

(Morning Star)

"Pappe is well positioned to lob a grenade such as this one into the twin worlds of Middle Eastern studies and politics. Pappe's book should shock and shame the academic world"

(Arab Banker)

"If not the last word, this is a major intervention in an argument that will, and must, continue. There's no hope of lasting Middle East peace while the ghosts of 1948 still walk"

(The Independent)

"Pappe offers a scorching indictment of Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine."


"A bold expose of Israel's purge of its Arab population in the early years of its existence. It should be read by anyone wanting to grasp the seemingly unfathomable background to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Pappe himself should be supported and applauded."

(Morning Star)

--Article "Built in Blood" on Pappe and his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

(scottish socialist voice)

"Pappe has opened up an important new line of inquiry into the vast and fateful subject of the Palestinian refugees. His book is rewarding in other ways. It has at times an elegiac, even sentimental, character, recalling the lost, obliterated life of the Palestinian Arabs and imagining or regretting what Pappe believes could have been a better land of Palestine."

(The Times Literary Supplement)

"Pappe’s book will command attention"

(Washington Report on Middle East Affairs)

"Superb account of how, and why, Palestinians were driven out of their homes. Pappe explains why there can be no peace until this crime has been acknowledged and redressed."

(Scottish Review)

"Pappe's ethical clarity and humane vision permeate The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine." "Given the meticulous research and compelling moral imperative embodied in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Zionism itself may be in trouble."

(Race and Class)

"Superb account of how, and why, Palestinians were driven out of their homes."

(Socialist Review)

"Leading Israeli historian Ilan Pappe delves into his country's bloodied past in search of answers in the present."

(Morning Star)

"The organization of the material in this book leaves almost nothing to be desired. The twelve sections substantially challenge and considerably undermine the ostensibly convincing Israeli discourse on the refugees question and the 1984 events."

(Arab Studies Quarterly)

"Shocking, telling and illuminating"


Ilan Pappé's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine is a vital contribution to the scholarship from these new historians…. Pappé forever puts to rest any doubt that Palestinians were sytematically and brutally expelled from their homeland."

(Against the Current (An independent socialist organisation))

"Pappe’s book is an essential read for anyone trying to understand the politics and history of the Middle East."

(Frontline Magazine (an Independent Marxist review from Scotland))

'Ilan Pappe is Israel's bravest, most principled, most incisive historian.'

(John Pilger - director of The War on Democracy and author of Freedom Next Time)


"Ground breaking research into a well kept Israeli secret. A classic of historical scholarship on a taboo subject by one of Israel's foremost New Historians."

(Ghada Karmi - Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, England, UK)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
331 of 372 people found the following review helpful
I was incredibly moved by this book, even though as I read it I was very aware that there are sections of Israeli society, and the wider Jewish community, which will simply dismiss it out of hand as propagandist and anti-Zionist fiction.

First, I have to say that I am Jewish, so I came to this book with a concern about potential conflicting loyalties that most of us, inside and outside Israel, bring to this emotive issue. Ilan Pappe, however, in effect asks everyone to balance love and/or respect for Israel (whether it is one's "homeland" or not) with an objective appraisal of the behaviour of the government (past and present) of that country. As parents are advised, one should criticise the behaviour - what has been carried out in the name of Israel - but love the child.

I was brought up on stories of Israel's valiant fight against impossible odds, of a David-like victory against the combined might of the Arab aggressors, and a celebration of everything Israel has achieved in the last century. However, I want to see peace in Israel - for everyone. So I have made it my business to familiarize myself with some of the basic arguments on both sides, but I had not come across the sheer wealth of detail that Pappe brings out in support of his main theme - that the Palestinians were forcibly, deliberately expelled from their homes and villages, in a project conceived and initiated long before the end of the Mandate. And regardless of whether they fled in fear or were driven out, they were not allowed back. No one can dispute this.

One of the most chilling arguments in the book, however, is that ethnic cleansing is still on the table as far as the government of Israel is concerned.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Righteously angry book 3 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A book that helps to write back into history the genocide perpetrated on Palestininans in the early days of Israel. So many should hang their heads in shame for their role in this ethnic cleansing: the British for abandoning the Palestians who were being massacred and forced from their homes before their eyes; the UN for apportioning some 80% of Palestine to the Jews who constituted only a third of its population; the other Arab states for so meekly abandoning the Palestinians; western media and academia which, consumed by guilt over the holocaust, ignored or even justified the cleansing. Most of all, of course, the embryonic state of Israel which enouraged the Irgun and Stern gangs to kill, rape, and poison Palestinians as they ethically cleansed their new state of what one Jewish military figure referred to as 'Arab pus'. This from a people who had so recently experienced the same at the hands of the Nazis. Pape's meticulously chronicled and documented account should be compulsory reading for the commentariat that so often excuses or fudges the actions of Israel since its inception.
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191 of 217 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Clarity 29 Jan 2007
By Dr. R. Brandon TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This review, By Dr Ilan Pappe of Haifa University, of the history of the establishment of Israel and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine is the most straightforward treatment of the subject I have ever read. All the familiar media claptrap is stripped away and a clear chronological factual description of the expulsion of the Palestinian population is retold, together with the documented strategy of the Zionist leaders who created the modern state of Israel. The book comes right up to date with the second Intifada and the attacks on Gaza and Lebanon in 2006. The reasons for the inevitable failure of the American/Israeli 'peace' initiatives are well analysed and future choices reviewed. Contains an excellent chronological table. A book that is an absolute necessity for anyone trying to understand the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Should be required reading for British and American diplomats and media commentators who, to a man, display complete ignorance on the subject.
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83 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let us come to our senses 25 Jun 2007
This book is about how the Zionist movement captured the land of Palestinians and founded Israel. Pappe uses an interesting method in his book. He compares the events in Palestine during 40's to the events in Bosnia during 90's. He then shows how the legal actions of the international community against Serbs have not and are not matching against Israelis. On the contrary, he claims that the Palestinians have been labeled as the aggressors in many cases.

According to Pappe, there is a myth instead of fact-based history being produced about the foundation of Israel. In the last decades, this myth making machine has been attacked by a new breed of historians inside and outside of Israel. The works of these historians are revealing the obvious reality of the continuing ethnic cleansing of Muslim and Christian Palestinians since 40's. Pappe is one of these historians. It is really amazing how weak the humans can be in the presence of strong propaganda, e.g. new generations of Israelis were made to believe that everyone was against them and Arabs, during the foundation of Israel, tried to create a second Holocaust (where the reality is that the Israelis are the aggressors.)

There is also a lot of information about JNF (Jewish National Fund) and how they have perfectly served the interests of the Zionist regime in confiscating the land of Palestinians and found innovative ways to brand themselves as an environmentalist institution towards the outside world! The story is amazing yet not the center of this book. I am sure there are better sources for that subject.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Calling this book is historically accurate is like saying the film...
Calling this book is historically accurate is like saying the film Rocky is a boxing documentary.
If one lists the worlds academic institutions you will need to go some way... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Dr J
5.0 out of 5 stars Ilene Pappe's book is an important viewpoint on the Middle Easst
This book gives the full history of Palestine and the dividing up the world powers set in motion in the early 1900's and the main cause of today's conflicts.
Published 9 days ago by Lucy
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking story, excellently written
One go the best books I have read in a long time. It really opened my mind up to a topic that has alluded me for some time. Read more
Published 9 days ago by L Dee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
written by a Jewish Academic, this book is an eye opener and a must read!
Published 10 days ago by DCP
5.0 out of 5 stars It is refreshing to read a book that tells the ...
It is refreshing to read a book that tells the truth about the Israeli subjugation of the Palestinians. People should read it to understand this dreadful injustice.
Published 10 days ago by Constance Messenger
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. Would recommend it to anyone with an ...
Excellent book. Would recommend it to anyone with an open mind willing to learn the facts about the plight of the Palestinian people and what they have had to endure to enable the... Read more
Published 13 days ago by JAB
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
A very detailed account of the truly tragic history of the Palestinian people.
To make any sense of the current situation we must look back at the history. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Dr Usman Riaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Telling the truth hurt but people must know..
I understand many people will not agree with my opinion but this book made me understand a lot about this long conflict. Read more
Published 27 days ago by The 1% fight back.
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Fast service, very good read.
Published 28 days ago by mohommed meah
5.0 out of 5 stars A book I have found difficult at times not because ...
A book I have found difficult at times not because it is obscure but because of the content. A book everyone who wants to know about the present deadly conflict between Palestine... Read more
Published 1 month ago by sandra yvonne yehya
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