Customer Review

334 of 375 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morality or prejudice - which is the best basis for peace?, 18 Nov 2006
This review is from: Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Hardcover)
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. It is facing a demographic "problem" - there are still too many Arabs inside Israel - and apparently it has its eyes on East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank with a view to reducing the Arab population.

It is hard to see how the two positions can be reconciled, but Pappe makes a very good argument for justice and reparations for the Palestinians, and as the only just and practical basis for a lasting peace, it is a convincing one. I highly recommend people on both sides of the argument read this book.
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Showing 11-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Posted on 23 Jan 2012 14:24:49 GMT
But the Palestinians were not driven out by Israel. That is crucial.

And the issue of return is surely impossible now. Israel cannot be expected to accept demographic parity with Arabs dedicated to their destruction.

Let Them make Their desert bloom. They started with the same advantages and disadvantages the Israelis did. Why does no one raise the issue of the Jews forcibly driven out of Their lands, which were legally purchased and registered.

Abbas says there will not be a single Jew in any Palestinian state. Yet 20% of Israel's population are Arabs enjoying the same rights as a Jewish citizen, including opportunity to high office, which some have already achieved.

I don't understand how a Jew can be so mistaken about their own history.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2012 23:10:21 BDT
Georgee says:
If you accept Benny Morris as a 'real historian' who 'doesn't make stuff up' - maybe you will be interested to actually read his books such as '1948 and after' in which he confirms the causes of the expulsions of Palestinians in 1948, based on evidence from a IDF report. Although Morris dismisses the claim that the Palestinians were systematically expelled due to orders from Israeli officials, he nevertheless cites an IDF Intelligence Report that concludes that 70% of the exodus was caused by Israeli forces and 'Jewish dissidents'

The IDF report lists: 'the factors that precipitated the exodus in order of importance-

1. direct, hostile Jewish [Haganah/IDF] operations against Arab settlements.
2. the effect of our [Haganah/IDF] hostile operations on nearby Arab settlements
3. Operations of the Jewish dissidents [the Irgun Z'va'i Leumi and Lohamei Herut Yisrael]'.

Collectively these 3 factors were considered to be responsible for causing 70% of the exodus, according to the IDF report. Plus if you read 'Birth of the Palestinian refugee problem revisited, you will see a whole chapter devoted to 'preventing Palestinian refugees from returning' after the Nakba.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jul 2012 12:51:34 BDT
That was not the impression I received from reading Efraim Karsh's book, it seemed to me a pretty balanced work.

Palestine Betrayed

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Dec 2012 13:42:25 GMT
Gatekeeper says:
Danny of Arabia wrote wrongly:

"He (Pappe) was part of a huge scandal where a student of his fabricated a "massacre" and was caught. Read Morris, at least he bothered to actually do some research instead of just making it up..."

There was no huge scandal. Katz' work has been vindicated and is valuable. You just forget that Benny Morris wrote about the massacre of Tantura and confirmed that there is evidence that it happened. He tries to discount as much as possible and to be as scektical as possible, but he comes to the inevitable conclusion. I quote from him:

"...war crimes appear to have occured (in Tantura). Many of the dead, even if they only numbered 70-75 as Alexandroni veterns would have it, were unarmed civilians or disarmed militiamen. A number of Alexandroni veterans said as much in undisputed interviews. We have Mikovsky's diary...that had been killing" (Benny Morris, The Tantura Massacre affair. in the Jerusalem Report)
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