Ilan Pappé praised in Iran as a "prominent anti-Zionist Israeli historian and intellectual"Historians in the News
tags: Israel, Palestine, Ilan Pappe, Gaza
As Israel continues its massive military aggression against the Gaza Strip, which has already cost the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians, the international condemnation of the atrocities committed by the Tel Aviv regime and its cruel massacre of the unarmed citizens of the besieged Gaza grows steadily.
Just recently, a group of Jewish scholars, most of whom were born in the Occupied Territories and teaching at the Israeli universities, have signed a petition, calling on the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to stop its deadly incursion into the coastal territory.
A prominent anti-Zionist Israeli historian and intellectual, who is best known for his outspoken criticism of the Israeli government and his opposition to the occupation of Palestinian territories, believes that the Western mainstream media are giving a lopsided and unfair coverage to the war on Gaza, which has many different reasons, including the influence of the Israeli lobby and the fear of these media outlets of being branded anti-Semitist.
In an exclusive interview with Tehran Times, Prof. Ilan Pappé said that Zionism has reduced Judaism "into a narrow minded ethno-nationalism that depended on the success of a colonialist project."
Ilan Pappé is a political activist, historian and professor at the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter, Britain. He is also the director of the university's European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. From 1984 to 2007, he was a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. A former member of Israel's Hadash Party, he was the party's candidate for the parliament (Knesset) elections in 1996 and 1999. In 2012, he published the book "The Bureaucracy of Evil: The History of the Israeli Occupation" that was released by the Oneworld Publications.
Prof. Pappé responded to our questions on the recent Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip and the historical, legal aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The following is the text of the interview.
Q: It was reported that Israel launched its military incursion into the Gaza Strip after Hamas allegedly kidnapped and killed three young Israeli settlers. So far, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been slaughtered in the month-long conflict. Do you consider this mass killing in such a broad extent, and the obliteration of the civilian infrastructure of the Gaza Strip a logical, proportionate and justifiable response to the kidnapping of three Israeli citizens, while there isn't still reliable evidence showing that the abduction was done by Hamas?
A: No, of course not and the destruction of Gaza is not really a retaliation to the abduction and killing of the three settlers. The incident was a pretext for implementing a policy that was formulated long time ago towards the Gaza Strip; a geopolitical area of Palestine for which Israel has no clear policy. It manages, at least in its own eyes, quite successfully, the rest - 98 percent - of Palestine. It imposes harsh restrictions on the Palestinian minority inside Israel and colonial rule in the West Bank. These policies were also tried in the Gaza Strip but it was a risk to have settlers there and it was too full of refugees for to be seriously considered part of Israel. So it was ‘ghettoized’ with the hope that it would be domiciled in such a way. But Gaza resists and the only way Israel deems possible to react to this, is to use all its military might to crash that rebellion.
Q: Can we interpret the Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip as an effort to ruin the newly-formed unity government in Palestine? Is Israel trying to delegitimize Hamas in the eyes of the people of Gaza Strip who voted unanimously in the 2006 legislative election to bring it to power, and to pretend that Hamas is not capable of providing security and welfare for them?
A: Indeed, there is also a more immediate reason for the particular timing of this assault. The Fatah-Hamas unity government and the Palestinian Authority decision to replace the ‘peace process’ with an appeal to international organizations endangers, in the eyes of the Israelis, their control over the West Bank. So the wish was for destroying Hamas politically in the West Bank and militarily in the Gaza Strip.
Q: It seems that a growing number of Israeli academicians, intellectuals, journalists and ordinary citizens on the streets are turning frustrated at the policies of Israel and its brutalization of the Palestinian citizens. I just read that a large group of Israeli university professors have signed a petition, calling on Tel Aviv to cease its military operations against the civilian population in Gaza. So, we see an emerging trend in opposition to the Israeli policies. What's your take on that?
A: I would not exaggerate the number of dissenting voices inside Israel. There are of course such voices, but the society at large, 87 percent according to one poll, is not only behind the government’s policy in Gaza, but even demand a more brutal action over there. So I think we cannot rest our hopes for an end to the violence in Palestine on a change from within Israel. Only strong pressure from the outside can produce such a result...
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