The philospher, Karl Popper, limited as he is when it comes to a serious study of the social sciences, does provide a sound introduction to academic caution and very early on I was aware that you cannot write sweeping statements such as, “the English in the nineteenth century thought”. How can we possibly know what “the English in the nineteenth century thought? My essays were soon peppered with phrases such as, “the evidence would seem to suggest”, “it would appear”, “it might be that” etc. However, today I stumbled on the Historian Ilan Pappe1 who, along with people like Norman Finkelstein and Avi Shlaim, render academic caution on the Palestinian tragedy superflous. There is no “might” and no “may be” and the “Nakba” happened, it is a historical fact, and it was an ethnic cleansing. Indeed, it is an ethnic cleansing that has continued until today. If there is any real debate in Israel it is not on whether there was an ethnic cleansing or not but rather on the morality of it. Israel, ethnic cleansing is not only immoral it comes under the rubric of “a crime against humanity”.
For a lot of people the crime is all about what is happening now and the history is by and large ignored. In one of my earlier posts i came to the conclusion that, despite, what happened in 1948 some sort of of compromise is required on the part of the Palestinians. However, it appears that the more the history is delved into, the greater the dillema that confronts us. Today I looked at a three short videos under the heading ‘1948 Lest We Forget’.2 The third video was called “Sands of Sorrow”, and it showed a Palestinian refugee camp in 1950. Forgetting won’t happen and, if I might be permitted some academic caution, the evidence would seem to suggest that for many Palestines compromise has to be very difficult. Moreover, with Israel, still pursuing its ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, while simultaneously perpetrating a bit by bit genoicide in the Gaza strip, real compromise is not on the agenda. Nevertheless, while it is especially difficult for some of my Palestinian friends to accept, I still believe that a compromise based on the UN partition plan of 1947, is the only way forward even if I personally believe that there should be no such a thing as a Jewish, Muslim or Christian state.
The map above shows the 1947 UN partition of Palestine.
1 http://ilanpappe.com/?page_id=2 see link on the left
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