Ilan Pappe is an Israeli academic who has made his name by hating Israel and everything it stands for. In his view, expressed with obsession and a degree of paranoia, Jewish nationalism, that is to say Zionism, has been from its outset a deliberate tool for dispossessing the Palestinians; and therefore it is to be condemned root and branch. He reserves the Palestinian term of Nakba, meaning catastrophe, for describing what to Israelis is their war of independence of 1948. To him, Israeli politicians and soldiers, one and all, are so many murderers. Forests have been planted only to cover up the past. Houses are ‘monstrous villas and palaces for rich American Jews’. Everything Israeli is ugly, everything Palestinian is beautiful. One day, he supposes, the Israelis may well consummate their original crime with something even worse. The only possible alternative lies in the immediate return of every Palestinian to his original home, and that will mean the end of the state whose existence so offends Pappe. This, of course, is exactly the inflexible position taken by Hamas and the PLO.
The reader’s initial reaction must be one of pity. Poor man! What a strain it must be to belong to a nation whose members are so overwhelmingly unbearable that he longs for them to be overpowered by others. Yet there is more to it than that. Sad