AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: The Israeli Paradigm, Part I


21 May 2012
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION:  The Israeli Paradigm, Part I

by Anonymous CPTer

 I have been
reading Ilan Pappé’s (1) book Forgotten
.  I find his
writing to be informative and thought provoking and so was excited a couple
weeks ago, when the team and I got a chance to hear Pappé speak at the
Alternative Information Centre in Beit Sahour.

What Pappé said offered an alternative to
much of the discourse surrounding Israel and Palestine.  Pappé argued that most people, even
those who see themselves as being pro-Palestinian, still speak and think within
the paradigm (2) created by Zionists.

According to Pappé, in this paradigm of peace the Zionists
saw that they must establish full control over the West Bank, to fulfill their
vision of the State of Israel.  He
likened the situation in the West Bank to that of a prison.  If Palestinians within the West Bank are
willing to work within the framework of the paradigm and ‘behave,’ they will
receive rewards and benefits, and the prison will resemble an open detention
center where people have some freedoms and can move around somewhat freely.  These benefits, Pappé stated, could even
incorporate a state, but it would be a state without sovereignty, and a state
that was still within the Zionist paradigm, and therefore still ultimately
under Zionist control.  However, if
the Palestinians dare to challenge the paradigm they will find themselves in a
maximum-security prison where Israel severely restricts their rights and limits
their freedoms.

Papp explained that the paradigm has been so well
constructed that even his colleagues in the field of activism are sucked in by
it.  He told us of how in his last
book he wrote with Noam Chomsky Chomsky had been partly sucked in by the
paradigm and the idea of realpolitik.  Pappé argued that the rights of the Palestinians are not something
that can be negotiated—land can be negotiated, even statehood, but not human
rights.  Pappé elucidated how
easily Israel and the international community as a whole compromise the rights
of Palestinians, but Israel would never negotiate or relinquish the rights of Israelis.

The paradigm, argued by Pappé, is alive and well in the
Western world and within Israel, through the use of word choices.  Talk of the “peace process” and the “road
map to peace,” make it look like the Palestinians are receiving a fair deal,
when in fact they are still being oppressed and occupied.  Pappé challenged us to bring into the
discourse of Israel and Palestine the words “Settler-colonialism,” “occupation”
and “apartheid.”  Words that,
according to a Palestinian man in the audience, are so effective in challenging
the paradigm that people who speak them are quickly silenced and face harsh
consequences.  In the U.K., partisans
of Israel often charge the people who speak these words with anti-Semitism, or they
accuse these people of speaking too harshly of Israel.  

In the second part of this article, I will show how the
situation in Hebron fully supports the truth of these words.


(1) Ilan Pappé (Hebrew: אילן פפה; born 7 November 1954[1] in HaifaIsrael)
is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at
the University of Exeter in the UK, director of the university’s European Centre
for Palestine Studies, co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political
Studies, and political activist. He was formerly a senior lecturer in political science at
the University of Haifa (1984–2007) and chair of the Emil Touma Institute for
Palestinian and Israeli Studies in Haifa (2000–2008)

(2) A set of experiences, beliefs and
values that affect the way an individual perceives reality and responds to that

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