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164 of 189 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Setting the record straight, 6 Feb 2007
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This review is from: Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Hardcover)
Ilan Pappe has written a moving account of the dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948. The founding of the State of Israel at the expense of the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine has for a long time been surrounded by Zionist inspired myths, designed to delegitimize the claims of the Palestinians and reduce them to a non-entity.

The destruction of their villages and covering their ruins with forests and claims that Palestinians never existed, as were made by the late Israeli PM Golda Meir, are all part of this.

Accounts of how more thant 700.000 Palestinians lost everything they had in the Nakba of 1948, in what is known as the War for Independence in Israel, have been around for decades. The eminent Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi wrote a seminal account in From Haven To Conquest (1971) and numerous other Western authors have written about the plight of the Palestinians.

In the middle of the 1980s a number of Israeli historians (Simha Flapan, Benny Morris, Tom Segev, Avi Shlaim and Ilan Pappe) began to question the Zionist founding myths as more and more historic documents came available, shining light on the events of 1948.

That in 1948 more than 700.000 Palestinians were expelled by force of arms or fled Palestine and were never allowed to return is beyond doubt. The only question remains the degree of premeditation on the part of the Zionist leadership.

Palestinian historian Nur Masalha has showed convincingly that the concept of transfer of the indigenous Palestinian population was widely discussed among the Zionist leadership in the days of the Mandate. And founding father Theodor Herzl himself spoke in terms of "spiriting the penniless population across the border".

The aim of the Zionist movement was to create a homogenous ethnic Jewish state in the whole of Palestine. But the presence of a significant majority of Palestinian arabs (Moslems and Christians), owning more than 93% of the cultivated land in Palestine stood in the way. The only way therefore to create an exclusive Jewish state was through force of arms and by ethnic cleansing, which is exactly what happened in 1948.

This is the subject of Ilan Pappe's book and it is a tour de force. He describes the meetings of the Consultancy, a small group of decision makers led by Ben-Gurion, the finalising of Plan Dalet, which served as the masterplan for ethnic cleansing. He offers new evidence, like the Village Files, a detailed record of all the Palestinian arab villages, their composition, strength and weaknesses which was compiled by Zionist volunteers over decades. The Village Files gave vital information for the military forces, who attacked the villages during their cleansing operations.

The extent of the massacres of Palestinian villagers, that took place, the systematic destruction of hundreds of ancient villages and buildings of great architectural and historic value is heart breaking.

This is a truly moving account of the tragedy that befell the Palestinian people in 1948, a tragedy that continues to this day. In spite of all the pretenses that the State of Israel seeks peace it's objective is unchanged and that is to get as much Palestinian land as possible with the smallest number of Palestinians. What happens in the Occupied Territories is none other than ethnic cleansing in disguise.

Ilan Pappe's book is essential reading for all who want to understand the reasons why Palestinians are in conflict with the State of Israel. True peace between Palestinians and Israelis is not possible without addressing the crucial events of 1948. Israelis must end their state of denial in this respect.

With this book Pappe has made an invaluable contribution to the cause of peace.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jun 2009 19:14:32 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 10 Jul 2009 15:41:00 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jun 2009 03:27:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Jun 2009 03:49:55 BDT
S Wood says:
Oh dear, M.Walker, your 1st site is an article in some Evangelical rag - the author Mike Moore I have heard nothing of, the points made in it and some of the attached links, are the tired, weary distortions of those who want to deny the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine during the formation of Israel. That is what the Nakba was. Implicit and explicit in the ideology of Zionism is the removal of the Palestinians, the claim used to be that it was broadcasted over the radio, but there has never been much (if any) evidence found for it, indeed the oppostite that the Palestinians were being urged to stay in their villages. Massacres DID occur, and they in large part provided impetus for the fleeing of people from their homes and villages. There were other clearing out operations by Israeli forces, cleansing areas of their populations. The quotes that I found in the site (the providence of which I am unaware) refer to highly individual cases that can not be generalised, presuming they are accurate and not taking out of context.

The bottom line, is that for what ever reason the Palestinian Arabs left their homes, villages and land they were entitled to return under International Law - the fact that the Israelis refused to allow them return quite clearly makes it ETHNIC CLEANSING. Period.

Your Pappe quote (from an entirely different book), which I'll put in a fuller context-

"As an author living in the region, I am only too well awre of the difficulties of reconstructing history outside one's own ethos and myths. While one may wish to write a detached and neutral history, one's own sympathies and affiliations remain. The reader of this book will find instances and descriptions that fit many of the claims of one narrative, the Palestinian one, but fewer of the Israeli one. That is not because the writer is Palestinian: I am not. My bias is apparent despite the desires of my peers that I stick to facts and the "truth" when reconstructing past realities. I view any such construction as vain and presumptuous. [my comment. ie. those who claim that their spin on the facts and "truth" are objective impartial truth are being a little too cocksure]. This book is written by one who admits compassion for the colonized not the colonizer; who sympathizes with the occupied not the occupiers; and sides with the workers not the boses. He feels for women in distress, and has little admiration for men in command. He cannot remain indifferent towards mistreated children, or refrain from condeming their elders. In short, mine is a subjective approach, often but not always standing for the defeated over the victorious."

So what Pappe is saying is he is sympathetic to the underdog, those who have been trampled under, expelled from the land where they and there ancestors have lived for centuries, had their culture and society destroyed. whats your problem with that? He is admitting the position he comes from which is a noble one, and particularly brave for an Israeli to take. Those such as the ignoble Karsh, with their dubious neo-con links, their shrill and shabby writings which are regarded as a joke in academic circles, claim to be speaking facts and the "truth" when they are propagandizing from an activist Zionist, neo-con and Islamophobic perspectives with little actual regard for facts or truth.

And your 2nd site is the Middle East Forum funded by right wing conservatives in the U.S; the article isby the inexecrable Efram Karsh, whom even the Zionist Historian Benny Morris regards as a fraud. Karsh himself is a member of neo-con think tanks whose defence of Israel is unquestioning and its distortion of the reality of the Palestinians past and present is frankly disgusting. The Karsh article is preaching to the perverted, it has no academic worth nor humanitarian motive- nobody takes him seriously except the spectacularly unthinking pro-zionist faction of which I presume you are a fully paid up member.

So no M.Walker, you maybe enjoy lies, distortion and slander and seeing the Palestinians living under seige, repeated Israeli attack, under occupation and having their land stolen from them, what they had destroyed, what they try and rebuild destroyed over decades. I dont, I have a sense of right and wrong something the Zionist fraternity do not have. On your way. . .
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