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Pappe - The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006) - Synopsis

Pappe - The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006) - Synopsis

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Published by Mark K. Jensen
Synopsis of Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: Oneworld, 2006; paperback 2007). -- Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on August 3, 2009.
Synopsis of Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: Oneworld, 2006; paperback 2007). -- Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on August 3, 2009.

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Published by: Mark K. Jensen on Aug 03, 2009
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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) — Digging Deeper LXXXIX: August 3, 2009, 7:00 p.m. 
Ilan Pappe,
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
(Oxford: Oneworld, 2006;paperback 2007).
[
Thesis.
Ilan Pappe argues that thehistory of Israel is not complex, butrather “not complicated at all,” a “simplebut horrific story of the ethnic cleansingof Palestine, a crime against humanitythat Israel has wanted to deny and causethe world to forget” (xviii); recoveringthat history is not only “a greatly overdueact of historiographical reconstruction orprofessional duty,” it is “a moraldecision” (xviii). (Elsewhere, Pappe haswritten: “the Israeli claim of complexityand the Zionist time line as a whole havebeen exposed as propaganda at best.”)]
List of Illustrations, Maps, andTables.
 
Acknowledgements.
Friends andfamily; “this book . . . is written first andforemost for the Palestinian victims of the1948 ethnic cleansing” (ix-x).
Preface.
Plan Dalet (“D” in Hebrew), aplan “for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine,” was completed on Mar. 10,1948, in the “Red House” that was theHQ of Hagana, the Zionist undergroundmilitia (xi-xii). Six months later “morethan half of Palestine’s native population,close to 800,000 people, had beenuprooted, 531 villages had beendestroyed, and eleven urbanneighborhoods had been emptied of theirinhabitants . . . [it was] a clear-cut caseof an ethnic cleansing operation,regarded under international law todayas a crime against humanity” (xiii;between 31 and 37 massacres took place[258]). This “crime” has been “erasedalmost totally from the global publicmemory” (xiii). Those who planned itand carried out are known; “All arefamiliar figures in the pantheon of Israeliheroism” (xiv). The “new history” debatein the 1980s did not go far enoughbecause it used only official Israelisources (xiv-xv). Walid Khalidi’s
 All That Remains
[1992] is an almanac of destroyed villages and is an essentialreference (xv-xvi). “In this book, I wantto explore both the mechanism of the1948 ethnic cleansing, and the cognitivesystem that allowed the world to forget,and enabled the perpetrators to deny,the crime the Zionist movementcommitted against the Palestinian peoplein 1948 . . . to make the case for theparadigm of ethnic cleansing and use itto replace the paradigm of war as thebasis for the scholarly research of, andthe public debate about, 1948” (xvi; xvi-xviii). This is a necessary first steptoward reconciliation (xviii).
Ch. 1: An Alleged’ Ethnic Cleansing?
Pappe accepts the Hutchinsonencyclopedia’s definition of ethniccleansing as “expulsion by force in orderto homogenize the ethnically mixedpopulation of a particular region orterritory” and argues that it applies toPalestine in 1948 (1-9).
Ch. 2: The Drive for an Exclusively Jewish State.
“Zionism secularized andnationalized Judaism” by making EretzIsrael not something for the “end of times” but to be realized now (10-11).Palestinians began to sense the danger in1905-1910 (11-12). Zionism’s aim torecreate the Jewish people’s “ancienthomeland” was linked to Europeancolonialism and 19
th
-century Christianmillenarianism; socialism’s influence wasweak (12-13). The Balfour Declaration of 1917 (13). Zionism’s “violent core”became clear in the 1920s and 1930s(13-15). Orde Wingate, a British officer,transformed the Hagana into “themilitary arm of the Jewish Agency, theZionist governing body in Palestine that
 
in the end developed and thenimplemented . . . the ethnic cleansing of its native population” (15-17). Ben-ZionLuria’s proposal that all Arab villages beinventoried was carried out in the 1930s,with an “archive” of information with aview to attacking them developed andupdated until 1947 (17-22). After 1942the British were seen as the only obstacleand became the focus of the Zionistleadership (22-23). David Ben-Gurionwas leader and policy architect, focusingon
bitachon
(‘security’ in Hebrew) (23-27). When it was known in late 1946 thatthe British would be leaving, Ben-Gurion’s aides began working on plansfor the Palestinian population (27-28).
Ch. 3: Partition and Destruction:U.N. Resolution 181 and Its Impact.
When ethnic cleansing operations inPalestine began in early December 1947,indigenous Palestinians made up twothirds of the population; few Jews hadsettled in the countryside (29-31). TheBritish, and then the U.N. SpecialCommittee for Palestine (UNSCOP)pronounced in favor of partition,combined with placing Jerusalem underan international regime; this became U.N.General Assembly Resolution 181,approved on Nov. 27, 1949, which gavethe Zionist movement 56% of the landwhen Jews actually occupied about 6%(31-33). The Palestinians rejected thepartition concept and boycottednegotiations (33-35). The complexpolitical structure over which Ben-Gurionpresided “probably constitutes the onlycomplex aspect of the history related inthis book . . . and is beyond the remit of this book”; it allowed Ben-Gurion todecide on his own policies toward theoutside world; he used Arab andPalestinian rejection of the plan to arguethat the partition was a dead letter (35-37). Beginning in June 1947, Ben-Gurionformed an unofficial and informal ad hocgroup Pappe calls ‘the Consultancy’ thatmet in Ben-Gurion’s house or the RedHouse to resolve how to deal with thePalestinians; the phrase ‘defending OurNational Future’ was “a code for[changing] the demographic balance of the country” (37-38).
Ch. 4: Finalizing a Master Plan.
[Longest chapter.] Chronologicaloverview of 1947-1948 (39-41). TheZionist leadership was committed to joining together all Jewish settlementsand to colluding with Jordan, where theHashemite king’s resentments made hima friend (41-43). A military force wasbuilt up and in May 1948 a largeshipment of arms from Czechoslovakiaand the USSR arrived; the newly formedIsraeli army was assisted by MenachemBegin’s Irgun and its offshoot the SternGang (
Lehi
), and by the Hagana (44-46).Internal documents show that Zionistleaders were always confident of theirmilitary superiority (46-47). The Zionistideological discussion used the term ‘theBalance’ in formulating its ethniccleansing plan, referring to demography(48). Ben-Gurion believed that 80% Jewswas a viable minimum and that expulsionwas the best way to achieve it (48-49). The resignation of the Palestinians andtheir desire to return to “normality” wasseen by Zionist leaders as a problem (50-52). On Dec. 10, 1947, the Consultancydiscussed the need to initiate violenceagainst Palestinians (52-55). A campaignof aggression begin, starting with“violent reconnaissance” and proceedingto attacks on Palestinian neighborhoods(in Haifa) and on villages (Balad al-Shaykh), killing many (55-60). Irgun andthe Stern Gang terrorized Arabneighborhoods in Haifa while the Britishturned a blind eye (60-61). In the ‘LongSeminar’ of Dec. 31, 1947-Jan. 2, 1948,the Consultancy decided to “turn everyunauthorized initiative into an integralpart of the plan, giving it their blessingretrospectively,” and there was a “shift atthis point to systematic operations of take-over, occupation and expulsion(61-72). Meanwhile, Ben-Gurion’s publicspeeches depicted Arabs and
 
Palestinians as Nazis (72-73). “[T]he Jewish army was now able to develop itsown weapons of destruction” (73-74).Concerned that units of the ArabLiberation Army had taken up somepositions in the Palestinian partition,operations in February were “part of afirst attempt to link the concept of unhampered Jewish transport onPalestine’s main routes with the ethniccleansing of the villages”; Qisarya was“the first village to be expelled in itsentirety,” followed by Barrat Qisarya (itsland now completely covered by “a Jewish development town, Or Akiva”),Khirbat al-Burj, Daliyat al-Rawha, Sa‘sa,and Qira (the last “very close to where Ilive today . . . Like so many other scenicsites in this area set aside for recreationand tourism, this one too hides the ruinsof a 1948 village. To my shame it tookme years to discover this” [79]) (74-80).February and March saw the final touchesto Plan Dalet (the Yehoshua plan, namedafter the recently killed YehoshuaGloberman), “the master plan for theexpulsion of all the villages in ruralPalestine” (82); the official line that thiswas a period when Zionists facedannihilation is total propaganda (80-85).
Ch. 5: The Blueprint for EthnicCleansing: Plan Dalet.
Ben-Gurion’sprivate attitude during the April 1-May15, 1948 period differed from his publicattitude (86-87). The beginning of theexecution of Plan Dalet was operationNachson, “the first operation in which allthe various Jewish military organizationsendeavored to act together as a singlearmy—providing the basis for the futureIsraeli Defence Forces (IDF)” (88).Palestinians were expelled from villagesaround Jerusalem ( 89-90). Themassacre at Deir Yassin (90-91). Theoffensive against urban centers,beginning with Tiberias (92). In Haifa,the affluent left after the Decemberterrorization and the population wasviolently assaulted beginning onPassover’s eve, Apr. 21, 1948 (92-96).Safad (97-98). Jerusalem, beginning onApr. 24, resulting in the ethnic cleansingof “eight Palestinian neighborhoods andthirty-nine villages . . . in the Greater Jerusalem area, their populationtransferred to the eastern part of thecity” (98-99). Acre in early May, usingtyphoid infection of the water supply(100-01). Baysan (101-02). Jaffa, thelast city to be taken, on May 13, two daysbefore the end of the British Mandate(102-03). Then “the pace” becomes“hard to follow . . . Between 30 Marchand 15 May, 200 villages were occupiedand their inhabitants expelled. This is afact that must be repeated, as itundermines the Israeli myth that the‘Arabs’ ran away once the ‘Arab invasion’began. Almost half of the Arab villageshad already been attacked by the timethe Arab governments eventually and, aswe know, reluctantly decided to send intheir troops” (104). Sirin, a model of religious coexistence, occupied on May12 despite good “connections” and thepresence of Christians (105-06). Morevillages were emptied, but no pressaccounts gave a “full picture of events”(107-10). The massacre in Ayn Al-Zaytun, the subject of Elias Khoury’s[1998] epic novel
Bab al-Shams
(111-13). The Druze and the Circassians threwtheir support to the Jews as the winningside, discrediting the official Zionistmyth” that destruction was narrowlyaverted (114-15). Arab leaders“procrastinated, and postponed [action],for as long as they could” (116; 115-18). Transjordan’s King Abdullah colluded withthe Zionists (118-21). Palestinianleadership was in disarray (121-22). ButIsraeli and U.S. public opinion succeededin portraying the Zionists as close todestruction and in demonizing the Arabs(122). The U.S. State Dept. took theposition that the partition had failed, butZionist lobbyists persuaded President Truman to recognize Israel (May 14,1948, the day the British mandate ended(123-24). British knowledge of Plan Daletseems likely though it is unproved (125).

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