(Quote from Ilan Pappé on Democracy Now!, 7/28/14):
"I think Israel in 2014 made a decision that it prefers to be a racist apartheid state and not a democracy," Pappé says. "It still hopes that the United States will license this decision and provide it with the immunity to continue, with the necessary implication of such a policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians wherever they are."
In 2007, Israeli professor (University of Haifa) and historian, Ilan Pappé, along with his family, left Israel for the UK due to death threats he received over critical positions he has taken regarding the occupation and treatment of Palestinians, especially after he supported a boycott of Israeli universities. He believes in a secular, one state, equality for all solution. Now, along with other positions and pursuits of his, he is a professor at the University of Exeter in England.
I was glad to catch him on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! - the show which I think has the best coverage of the current situation in Gaza - Israel's horrendous ongoing massacre/obliteration of the Palestinians, and the I/P conflict in general. It's so good at showing what is so bad - so much so, it is sometimes hard to watch. All of Monday's show, 7/28/14 was extremely informative and excruciatingly sad, which is why I am posting all 3 segments. Ilan Pappé is interviewed in the 3rd segment. I have posted some quotes from Pappe below the fold - reasonable thoughts on what spurred the Israeli incursion, beyond the tropes we are typically fed.
I urge you to watch the 2nd segment. It is Amy's in-studio interview of an incredible young Palestinian man, Amer Shurrab. He was lucky to have been one of the few to leave Gaza to come to America to study in our universities. However, luck is relative. And the adjective "unlucky" seems terribly inadequate to describe what happened to his family during the current incursion, but also five years ago, in Operation Cast Lead. Some things are just beyond words. But somehow, Amer finds the words - articulate, dignified, while dealing with the awful emotion that rises up, from what he knows. His first utterance is a painful sigh, and it is not the last one. He teaches us well too.
The 1st segment is reported by DN's excellent on-the-ground reporter, Sharrif Abdel Kouddous. He takes his knowledge of the region (Egyptian born) and conscientiously delivers uncensored comprehensive reporting of this ongoing assault, of what Palestinians endure, what witnesses such as himself encounter. This segment focuses on what Gazans find upon returning to their bombed out houses and neighborhoods... hurriedly combing through rubble for their own relatives, everything decimated, while the carnage continues. Just a pause, not the end.
Since Monday's show there's been widespread reporting of another UN sanctuary bombed, 20 killed, many injured... the main power plant destroyed, kids slaughtered as they ran to get sweets for Eid and played a bit in a playground... I cant really digest all this... it is too overwhelming and insane. Today, the death count is climbing toward 1,300.
What you probably wont get elsewhere is today's DN interview by Amy of American Jewish leader, Rabbi Henry Siegman. What he has to say about Israel, the occupation, Israel's founding, Hamas, and our propaganda (e.g., US Govt: "The US will not talk to terrorists/Hamas!") is very interesting. And he is given a lot of time to say it. His eyes were opened some time ago, he has a conscience, morals, and he calls bullshit on the propaganda. As Amy says, what he has to say "might surprise you."
I have to echo Amer, who, at the close of his interview, gave a very touching "thank you for all you do." to Amy. I too thank her and the DN staff, all of them, for what they do. Democracy Now proves to be a an essential voice in the wilderness of Palestinian coverage, a clear mirror on the hideous things that are being done in these terrible times.
This is a fight for independence. Remember that, Americans, the next time you get a tear in your eye on the 4th of July.
As the Palestinian death toll tops 1,000 in Gaza, we are joined from Haifa by Israeli professor and historian Ilan Pappé. A professor of history and the director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter, Pappé is the author of several books, including most recently, "The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge."
ILAN PAPPÉ: I think the most important thing is the historical context. When you listen to mainstream media coverage of the situation in Gaza, you get the impression that it all starts with an unreasonable launching of rockets into Israel by the Hamas. And two very basic historical kind of backgrounds are being missed. The very immediate one goes back to June this year, when Israel decided, by force, to try and demolish the Hamas politically in the West Bank and foil the attempts of the unity government of Palestine to push forward an international campaign to bring Israel to justice on the basis of the agenda of human rights and civil rights.Amy Goodman asks Ilan Pappé about the 3 settlers kidnapped and killed, the recent news that it was committed by a lone Hamas cell, not ordered by the leadership...
And the deeper historical context is the fact that ever since 2005, the Gaza Strip is being—or people in the Gaza Strip are being incarcerated as criminals, and their only crime is that they are Palestinians in a geopolitical location that Israel doesn’t know how to deal with. And when they elected democratically someone who was vowed to struggle against this ghettoizing or this siege, Israel reacted with all its force. So, this sort of wider historical context [... ]
ILAN PAPPÉ: It’s very significant, because this was, of course, known to the Israelis the moment they heard about this abduction and the killing of the three young settlers. It was very clear that Israel was looking for a pretext to try and launch both a military operation in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip in order to try and bring back the situation in Palestine to what it was during the failed peace process, with a sort of good domicile, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in a way that they could forget about it and continue with the colonization of the West Bank without the need to change anything in their attitude or policies. And the depression in the West Bank, the frustration, the anger, especially in May 2014, of the killing of five young Palestinians by the Israeli army, burst out in this local action, this local initiative, that had nothing to do with the strategy of the Hamas, that was willing to try and give Abu Mazen leeway to create a unity government and to try the new initiative—going to the United Nations, going to international bodies, in order to make Israel accountable for more than 46 years of colonization and occupation. So it really highlights the connection between a pretext and a policy and a strategy which has wreaked such carnage in Gaza today.