Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Ilan Pappe says Israel needs to acknowledge the crime it committed
against the Palestinian people
As part of Al Jazeera's coverage of the anniversary of the creation of Israel and the Palestinian 'Nakba', Israeli historian Ilan Pappe reflects upon the events of 1948 and how they led to 60 years of division between the Israelis and Palestinians.
"Between February, 1948 and December,1948 the Israeli army systematically occupied the Palestinian villages and towns, expelled by force the population and in most cases also destroyed the houses, looted their belongings and took over their material and cultural possessions. This was the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
During the ethnic cleansing, wherever there was resistance by the population the result was a massacre. We have more than 30 cases of such massacres where a few thousand Palestinians were massacred by the Israeli forces throughout the operation of the ethnic cleansing......
The international community was aware of the ethnic cleansing but the international community, especially in the West, decided not to confront head on the Jewish community in Palestine after the Holocaust.
And, therefore, there was a kind of conspiracy of silence and again the international community did not react and was complacent and this was very important for the Israelis because it showed them that they can adopt as a state ideology ethnic cleansing and ethnic purity.
Part of any ethnic cleansing operation is not just wiping out the population and expelling it from the earth. A very typical part of ethnic cleansing is wiping people out of history.
For ethnic cleansing to be an effective and successful operation you also have to wipe people out of memory and the Israelis are very good at it. They did it in two ways......."