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Home > Archives > August_2008 > Ilan Pappe Blames West’s “Conspiracy of Silence” Condoning Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August 2008, pages 44-45;

Southern California Chronicle

"Ilan Pappe Blames West’s 'Conspiracy of Silence':
"Condoning Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing"

By Pat and Samir Twair

Dr. Ilan Pappé (Staff photos S. Twair).


August 2008

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PROFESSOR Ilan Pappé of Exeter University gave three separate lectures in three days—May 14, 15 and 16—at the University of California at Irvine, University of California at Los Angeles and the al-Awda convention. At UCLA on May 15, the Oxford University-educated Israeli historian noted that, on any other day, many in his audience would be protesting Israel’s criminal acts against the Palestinians, but that on this date, people should contemplate what happened 60 years ago on the pronouncement of the founding of Israel.

According to Pappé, who resigned last year from his teaching post at Haifa University because of right-wing harassment over his books and his support of the boycott against Israeli universities, Zionists crystallized their formula in the 1930s. Their credo was that in order to create a Jewish nation, the indigenous population must be cleared.

By 1947, Pappé stated, it was obvious that the Zionists had failed, as only 7 percent of the land had been purchased, and Jews—mainly newcomers—accounted for only one-third of the population. In 1948, under orders from soon-to-be Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Zionists opted for ethnic cleansing, which meant razing 530 Palestinian villages and looting all their possessions, including furniture, books and bank accounts.

A conspiracy of silence on the part of the International Red Cross and Western journalists covered up the Zionist crime, Pappé continued. The message to the Jews, he said, was that Europe wanted to atone for its silence during the Nazi persecution of Jews. A go-ahead signaled that building their state would bring closure to what the West allowed to happen to Jews during World War II.

With the 1967 capture of Gaza, the West Bank and Golan Heights, Israel seized more land—but also got more Palestinians. Israeli leaders conducted extensive meetings from May 1967 to January 1968, Pappé said, and concluded that Israel could possibly withdraw from the Golan, but that the West Bank and Gaza were necessary to the state’s existence.

According to Pappé, following the 1967 conquest Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan decided not to annex the West Bank and Gaza in order to deny full citizenship to the Palestinian inhabitants. The Israeli leaders conceived a mega prison in which the Palestinians could run their domestic affairs without interference from the wardens. If they resisted, however, the population would suffer terrible collective punishment.

The Israelis took pains to package their policy in the language of peace so as to manipulate Washington into going along with the charade.

Pappe urged the audience not to use the word “conflict” when describing what is going on in Israel/Palestine. “There is no conflict between the rapist and his victim nor the occupier and the occupied,” he explained to audible gasps in the audience.

“Your role,” he concluded, “is to convince the U.S. government that it must be fair and that no solution that looks like another prison is acceptable.”