Published by Verso, September 2006
In the present political atmosphere in the US and Europe, anybody who expresses criticism of Israelâ€™s policies is immediately silenced as an anti-Semite. Part of the reason why the pro-Israel lobbies have been so successful in their use of this accusation is the massive lack of knowledge about what is really happening in Israel-Palestine. Without the facts, the dominant narrative remains that Israel is struggling to defend its very existence. Attention focuses mainly on the horrible, despicable Palestinian terror; hence critics of Israel are often accused of justifying terror. My aim in this book is to provide the facts, as they unfold â€“ openly – in the Israeli media.
This book covers the history of the Israeli occupation of Palestine since 2003; it is framed against my previous book Israel/Palestine, which covers the period between 1999 and 2002. At the opening of Israel/Palestine I wrote:
The state of Israel was founded in 1948 following a war which the Israelis call the War of Independence, and the Palestinians call the nakba – the catastrophe. A haunted, persecuted people sought to find a shelter and a state for itself, and did so at a horrible price to another people. During the war of 1948, more than half of the Palestinian population at the time – 1,380,000 people – were driven off their homeland by the Israeli army. Though Israel officially claimed that a majority of the refugees fled and were not expelled, it still refused to allow them to return, as a UN resolution demanded shortly after the 1948 war. Thus, the Israeli land was obtained through ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants.
This is not a process unfamiliar in history. Israelâ€™s actions remain incomparable to the massive ethnic cleansing of Native Americans by the settlers and government of the United States. Had Israel stopped there, in 1948, I could probably live with it. As an Israeli, I grew up believing that this primal sin our state was founded on might be forgiven one day, because the foundersâ€™ generation was driven by the faith that this was the only way to save the Jewish people from the danger of another holocaust. But it didnâ€™t stop there.