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The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine [Paperback]

by Ilan Pappe
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 7, 2007 1851685553 978-1851685554 Second Edition
The renowned Israeli historian revisits the formative period of the State of Israel. Between 1947 and 1949, over 400 Palestinian villages were deliberately destroyed, civilians were massacred, and around a million men, women, and children were expelled from their homes at gunpoint. Denied for almost six decades, had it happened today it could only have been called "ethnic cleansing".

Decisively debunking the myth that the Palestinian population left of their own accord in the course of this war, Ilan Pappe offers impressive archival evidence to demonstrate that, from its very inception, a central plank in Israel’s founding ideology was the forcible removal of the indigenous population. Indispensable for anyone interested in the Middle East.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Ground breaking research into a well kept Israeli secret. A classic of historical scholarship on a taboo subject by one of Israel's foremost New Historians." -- Ghada Karmi - Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, England, UK

"Ilan Pappe is Israel's bravest, most principled, most incisive historian." -- John Pilger - author, journalist, and filmmaker

"Leading Israeli historian Ilan Pappe delves into his country's bloodied past in search of answers in the present." -- Morning Star, 25 April, 2008

Ground breaking research into a well kept Israeli secret. A classic of historical scholarship on a taboo subject by one of Israel's foremost New Historians. -- Ghada Karmi - Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies,

Ilan Pappe is Israel's bravest, most principled, most incisive historian. -- John Pilger - author, journalist, and filmmaker

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, 04/26/2007

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; Second Edition edition (September 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851685553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851685554
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
580 of 673 people found the following review helpful
By Rami
In order to achieve peaceful coexistence in Palestine/Israel, it is imperative that both Palestinians and Israelis hear the true stories of the other and acknowledge their own wrongdoings.

This book documents, using historical sources, the wrongdoings that were done to the Palestinians during the 1948 war (the Israeli war of independence and the war the Palestinians call the catastrophe). This book analyses historical evidence from Israeli sources, indepdently proving true the 1948 experiences the Palestinian refugees, men and women, rich and poor, muslim and christian recount about their cleansing from their land and property.

These events of 1948 accounted here were censored by the perpetrators from even the Israeli population. These events were never added to school books and intentionally pushed out of the Israeli society's consciousness.

However, these events and experiences are vivid in the Palestinian consciousness. Palestinians continue to live the consequences of their diaspora and forced migration in 1948 today.

In order to achieve peace, it is crucial to understand the Palestinian experience and acknowledge it. These experiences are just as true and unquestionable to Palestinians as true and unquestionable the holocaust is to the Israelis.

Now it is totally expected that the book would face resistence and bad reviews here by some Israelis who have never heard these stories and are unwanting to hear them (thanks to censorship). Similarly, zionist enthusiasts are likely to resist this book as they've always resisted any effort that would make heard the Palestinian history.
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428 of 511 people found the following review helpful
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." This contradicts the Zionists' public claim that they were seizing a land without a people.

Pappe writes of the Israelis' March 1948 plan for evicting the Palestinians, "The orders came with a detailed description of the methods to be employed to forcibly evict the people: large-scale intimidation; laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centres; setting fire to homes, properties and goods; expulsion; demolition; and, finally, planting mines among the rubble to prevent any of the expelled inhabitants from returning."

Between 30 March and 15 May 1948, i.e. before any Arab government intervened, Israeli forces seized 200 villages and expelled 250,000 Palestinians. The Israeli leadership stated, "The principal objective of the operation is the destruction of Arab villages ... the eviction of the villagers." On 9 April, Israeli forces massacred 93 people, including 30 babies, at Deir Yassin. In Haifa, the Israeli commander ordered, "Kill any Arab you encounter."

This all happened under British rule in Palestine, where Britain had 75,000 troops: Britain's Mandate did not end until 14 May. The Labour government connived at the Israeli onslaught, although the British state was legally obliged as the occupier (and also by UN resolution 181) to uphold law and order. Yet the Labour government announced that it would no longer be responsible for law and order and it withdrew all the British policemen.
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348 of 418 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Palestinians pay the price for Europe's guilt December 8, 2006
Ilan Pappe has written a scholarly work on the dark side of the formation of the state of Israel. While this is the first book I've ever read on the subject and can't ascertain whether the book is 100% factually accurate, you can't just dismiss all of it simply out of hand just because you don't agree with the contents.

While atrocities were committed by both sides one can't but help feel sympathy and sadness for the Palestinians. Not only were they the majority in Palestine but the world's memory of 1948 is that the land was empty and those few Arabs living there left voluntarily. They were up against a determined, highly organized and motivated Zionist movement that saw Palestine as their future homeland that necessitated a majority Jewish population. The Arabs were to pay for the blood on the hands of Europeans with their own blood and the land they lived on for centuries.

Well before 1947 there were extremely extensive surveys started of every Arab village down even into the minutest detail. These surveys were they used by the Nagana and the Stern gangs terrorize those villages to "motivate" the Arabs to leave. Dynamiting houses with the occupants inside was quite effective as was shooting through windows.

There are those who think that any ad motion of guilt will lead to the destruction of Israel miss the point. The Truth and Reconciliation committee in SA has led to peace. Could not the Israelis admit some guilt and start on the road to peace? Admitting guilt will take away some of the fire that the Jihadist's use to fan the flames of their hatred.

Honest dialogue by both sides is what is sorely needed if we are to see peace in our lifetimes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Opened my eyes to what our country is/has supported re: Israel.
This book gives the background to why Palestinians are unhappy to this day. They (700,000) were violently thrown out of their homes almost 60 years ago, and continue to be harassed... Read more
Published 11 days ago by L. A. Graves
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written
A wonderful look into the genocide of Palestinians while the world watches as zionism leads to the systematic dismantling of another nation.
Published 14 days ago by Jacob Bird
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Interesting Analysis of the Nakba
As a Christian and American patriot, I was interested to read a book on this controversial subject by an ethnic Jew and Israeli citizen (Mr. Read more
Published 24 days ago by the1911patriot
3.0 out of 5 stars Good history, but misguided opinions and interpretations of fact.
This is a one sided story of the founding of Israel. As you know, there are two sides. However, if your sole concern is dehumanizing, demonizing and delegitimizing Israel, then... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Jack Sigman
3.0 out of 5 stars Fact or Fiction?
I believe this is an important book for anyone who is seriously interested in this subject. However, to answer the question I posed in the title of my review, this book is neither... Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Thurm
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible book
Another propaganda book against the Jewish state..These books are soo rampant these days....All they accomplish is,they flare up the feelings of denial and victimhood by one side... Read more
Published 1 month ago by JEN
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read on the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
Mr. Carter writes from an objective point of view...This book is extremely sad yet enlightening. You will not learn the contents in schools ladies and Gents. Read more
Published 1 month ago by «°~*~°Natasha °~*~°»
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth be told
Well documented. After so many years finally Ilan Pappe brings the horror of the Zionists goals to the forefront of the world.
Published 1 month ago by joel
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read it!
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe is an eye opener and shocking at the same time. Too bad that movie industry is ruled by the people who are not interested that large... Read more
Published 1 month ago by mzeina
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read
Pappe details the earliest days of the state of Israel and in doing so provides much needed context to understand the ongoing conflict.
Published 2 months ago by Nadia
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Topic From this Discussion
The Ethnic cleansing of Palestine
Boy, for an attempt at ethnic cleansing from a people who are extremely successful at thier endeavors, it was surely a failure! Hmmm, could it just be a bumper sticker and a tall tale? Certainly sounds like one!
Quite a population increase these "Cleansed" So-Called... Read more
Oct 2, 2009 by Ginsburg |  See all 2 posts
Propaganda Posing As History
@sherrie, let me correct you in your mistakes.
1- israel is receiving aid from the US, and they get less than what Egypt and Saudi Arabia gets.
And I'm not counting Jordan, kuweit, etc.
2- israel was not "put" as a watch dog in this area. If you read a little history you will see... Read more
Nov 9, 2010 by ran trieger |  See all 16 posts
So when are Pappe's attackers going to say something that holds up?
The following is a quote from

Erskine Childers, an Irish nationalist and author, examined the British record of the radio broadcasts by the Arab leaders at the time, and found no evidence of such orders. "There was not a single order, or... Read more
Jun 4, 2007 by MrBabakS |  See all 91 posts
what a joke
One other note on history. The ancient Synagogue in Gaza (excavations) were destroyed under Arafat's direction. Even a contemporary fact such as half the Old City was Jewish by 1948. But where did all the Old Cities' Jews, the Synagogues, and thier property go? The Arabs destroyed the synagogues,... Read more
Oct 2, 2009 by Ginsburg |  See all 13 posts
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