Prof. Ilan Pappé is the best known member of Israel’s generation of “new historians” who have been rewriting the history of Israel’s founding in 1948. Thanks to the declassification of British and Israeli documents in the 1980s Pappé has dedicated himself to exposing the truths behind the long established myths around what Israel calls its war of independence in 1948. That war led to the ethnic cleansing of three quarters of a million Palestinians and the destruction of over 500 of their villages in what is now Israel.
That’s described in Pappé’s seminal book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, published in 2006 while he was chair of the Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies at Haifa University. The publication led to personal attacks on him in the Israeli Knesset and in Israel’s academia. After threats on his person, Pappé left Israel in 2008 and was welcomed at the University of Exeter in Britain. There he is currently the director of the university’s European Center for Palestine Studies.
Pappé says that reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis in a future peace process must be based on an investigation of war crimes committed by Israel in 1948. Pappé supports the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement for an economic and political boycott of Israel. He believes boycotts are justified because quote: “they can move us forward along the only remaining viable and non-violent road to saving both Palestinians and Israelis from an impending catastrophe.”
At the time of partition, the Jewish population owned less than 6% of Palestine. When Israel declared its “independence,” in 1948 it came into existence on 78 percent of historic Palestine, a percentage it has steadily increased in subsequent years, a process that continues today. Today 40% of the Palestinian West Bank is off-limits to Palestinians.
This May 2016 speech by Ilan Pappé explains his positions including his remedy. Since Israel has already annexed almost all of Palestine, there is no longer an option for a two state solution. Pappé says the solution is One State for all its inhabitants and he lays out some of the basics.
Ilan Pappé spoke on May 2, 2016, at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley, CA. He was the keynote speaker at the anniversary celebration of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, MECA, a nonprofit humanitarian aid organization based in Berkeley, CA. Since 1988 MECA has provided more that $21 million in food, medicine, medical supplies, and clothes, as well as books, toys and school supplies to children and families in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon. It can be found on line at