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« American Furies, by Sasha Abramsky | Main | A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, by Howard Zinn »


The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe

By an everyday book reader
May 1, 2007

Since the Holocaust, it has been almost impossible to hide large-scale crimes against humanity. In our communicative world, few modern catastrophes are concealed from the public eye.

And yet, Ilan Pappe unveils, one such crime has been erased from the global public memory: the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948. But why is it denied, and by whom? The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine offers an investigation of this mystery.

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
by Ilan PappeBook Picture

Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN: 9781851684670, 1851684670
Oneworld Publications
November 2006

Softcover: 320 pages
ISBN: 9781851685554, 1851685553
Oneworld Publications
September 2007

Pappe, an Israeli historian and a senior lecturer at Haifa University, has written a superb account of the Israeli expulsion of the Palestinians from their land in 1948. He quotes David Ben Gurion, leader of the Zionist movement from the mid-1920 until the 1960s, who wrote in his diary in 1938, "I am for compulsory transfer I do not see anything immoral in it."

"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." - Times Literary Supplement

"Starred Review. In his latest work, renowned Israeli author and academic Pappe (A History of Modern Palestine) does not mince words, doing Jimmy Carter one better (or worse, depending on one's point of view) by accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity beginning in the 1948 war for independence, and continuing through the present. Focusing primarily on Plan D (Dalet, in Hebrew), conceived on March 10, 1948, Pappe demonstrates how ethnic cleansing was not a circumstance of war, but rather a deliberate goal of combat for early Israeli military units led by David Ben-Gurion, whom Pappe labels the 'architect of ethnic cleansing.' The forced expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians between 1948-49, Pappe argues, was part of a long-standing Zionist plan to manufacture an ethnically pure Jewish state. Framing his argument with accepted international and UN definitions of ethnic cleansing, Pappe follows with an excruciatingly detailed account of Israeli military involvement in the demolition and depopulation of hundreds of villages, and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Arab inhabitants. An accessible, learned resource, this volume provides important inroads into the historical antecedents of today's conflict, but its conclusions will not be easy for everyone to stomach: Pappe argues that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine continues today, and calls for the unconditional return of all Palestinian refugees and an end to the Israeli occupation. Without question, Pappe's account will provoke ire from many readers; importantly, it will spark discussion as well." - Publishers Weekly

Ilan Pappe is a senior lecturer in Policital Science at Haifa University. He is Academic Director of the Research Insitute for Peace at Givat Haviva and Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies, Haifa. He is also author of the bestselling A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge), The Modern Middle East (Routledge), and The Israel/Palestine Question (Routledge).

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