The statements that there was "no massacre at Deir Yassin" and that "no one has ever found evidence of an ideology of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians" (Letters, May 2) cannot be allowed to stand. Ilan Pappe's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine is meticulously researched and referenced, citing Israeli and Zionist material as well as Arab sources. In it, for example, Pappe reports Herzl's view that "cleansing the land was a valid option" and quotes from the alleged "liberal" thinker Leo Motzkin in 1917: "Our thought is that the colonisation of Palestine has to go in two directions: Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel and the resettlement of the Arabs of Eretz Israel in areas outside the country. The transfer of so many Arabs may seem at first unacceptable economically, but is none the less practical. It does not require too much money to resettle a Palestinian village on another land."If these letters are correct, especially the first two, then yesterday's were lies. And what headline did the Guardian run above today's offerings? Contested history that haunts the Middle East peace process. Contested my eye!
Pappe also refers to the Hagana-implemented systematic and detailed identification of the location and characteristics of all Arab villages, including individuals who were thought likely to present problems. He writes of the subsequent use of this information, first in a campaign of intimidation and then in "expulsion and destruction".
A massacre did indeed occur at Deir Yassin and even worse atrocities were perpetrated in Haifa, Tantura, Dawaymeh and elsewhere, as documented by the Jewish historians Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim. Plan Dalet did involve ethnic cleansing. At least 10,000 Palestinians were killed, more than 30,000 injured and 750,000 were driven out of their homes and their land. Over 400 of their villages were razed to the ground and 60% of Palestinians became homeless.
The letters responding to Messrs Fry, Rose, Pinter et al (Letters, April 30) demonstrate the problem we still face 60 years since the Naqba and the establishment of Israel in Palestine: the denial by Zionists of Palestinians, their rights and that Israel was set up in their land and against their will. They should be directing their frustration and anger at the then Zionist leaders who sold them the lie that Palestine was a "land without a people for a people without a land".
As a Palestinian, I applaud Jews who realise the injustice that befell the Palestinians and are prepared to stand up and say this knowing the vicious attacks they will endure. We will only have peace in Palestine when Zionists come to terms with the injustice and Israel has a leadership that will embark on a genuine peace process and reconciliation and not the charade that is Annapolis and post-Annapolis.
Richard Engel as a judge of the debate
1 hour ago