Israeli historian Ilan Pappé thinks ‘there will never be two states’


Date published: 17th  August 2009

Source: Orange.es (translated from Spanish into English by 3.071 Km).

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When the Israeli historian Ilan Pappé said that ‘there will never be two states,’ one Israeli and one Palestinian, it is not with pessimism, but from the sad conviction that the ‘Zionist colonial project’ has no reverse gear.

Scourge of the official historiography of the Jewish State, Pappé (Haifa, 1954) does not scrimp on controversial terms ( ‘racism’, ‘ethnic cleansing’) and hide in the political correctness ( ‘I am an anti-Zionist historian and a peace activist ‘) to analyze the past and present of his country in an interview with Efe.

Two years ago, tired of pressures and threats, Pappé made the bags and changed the University of Haifa their home by the Department of History of Exeter (England).

Last week he returned to the area to give a lecture sponsored by the Spanish Cooperation in the Arab village of Anata, West Bank, where husking that ‘another story’, which says, ‘Israeli society is not yet ready to listen” .

‘People break the mirror when they do not like what they see in it. I am the mirror that the Israelis do not like, which does not mean that what they see is not there,’ he pointed.

Pappé is one of the passionate supporters of the imposition of sanctions on Israel and boycotting their products, events and universities to ‘send a message to their society and government, both of which strongly want to be part of the West, that in these circumstances they can not expect to be seen as a civilized nation.”

‘Inside Israel there is very little hope of change. And things turn to worse. So we need pressure from outside, although it is not known whether it will work. We must try for the sake of the people who are here,’ he argues.

The author of ‘The ethnic cleansing of Palestine’ and ‘History of Modern Palestine: one land, two peoples’ rejects the idea that a boycott of Israel might be counterproductive to the Jewish State, entrenched in a ‘the world hates us’, in front of measures that could remind to an extent the ones the Third Reich took against Jews in Germany.

“Israeli society can not close itself more. It is already in the worst side of its history in terms of understanding what is happening around them. The boycott can only be for the better. Maybe a blow like this will open their eyes “, says.

Pappé argues it is essential to convince the international community that the Zionist project is as colonial as the South African apartheid was.

In fact, one of the projects that he is working on is the release of a comparative analysis among the two paradigms that is revealing ‘many similarities’.

‘In some cases, the Palestinians are being treated much better than the Africans in the South African apartheid, but in others it is far worse here. In both cases there is a colonial project. However, while in South Africa all the world saw it as such, in Israel we are still fighting to convince  the international community about it,” he says.

Son of German Jews who escaped the Nazis, Pappé criticized, however, another frequent comparison of Israel with Hitler’s Germany.

‘Surely it is not politically or historically rigorous, because the Nazis practiced genocide and Israel practices what might be called ethnic cleansing, which is different’, differenciated.

‘The Nazis – he continues -, were a unique case and comparisons with them will not help to understand the situation. I do not judge it as an Israeli, this is not my problem, but as a professional historian and as an activist for peace. I think, in fact, that this comparison undermines the Palestinian cause. ”

A cause that, in his view, is not based on claimin the creation of a state in Gaza and the West Bank, but the establishment of a single secular multi-ethnic nation in the historical Palestine.

‘In Ramallah, Nablus or Anata there is no independence. Everything is part of Israel in different legal systems. There will never be two states, because the only state already exists. So you can only dream of a different regime. It is a utopia, but the only one by which it is worth fighting,” he concludes.

Is it not too late, after decades of accumulated hatred, for Jews and Arabs living together in a single country? ‘I think it’s just the opposite, – replied with determination -,  ‘the one state solution is already a reality: Israel, which controls everything.”

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