DECEMBER 9, 2022
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The Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories

The Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories

By Ilan Pappe

Ilan Pappé is an expatriate Israeli historian and socialist activist. He is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. He is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), The Modern Middle East (2005), A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (2003), and Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1988).
Pappé is one of Israel’s New Historians who, since the release of pertinent British and Israeli government documents in the early 1980s, have been rewriting the history of Israel’s creation in 1948, and the corresponding expulsion or flight of 700,000 Palestinians in the same year. He has written that the expulsions were not decided on an ad hoc basis, as other historians have argued, but constituted the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, in accordance with Plan Dalet, drawn up in 1947 by Israel’s future leaders. He blames the creation of Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East, arguing that Zionism is more dangerous than Islamic militancy, and has called for an international boycott of Israeli academics. Renowned Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe’s groundbreaking book revisits the formation of the State of Israel. Between 1947 and 1949, over 400 Palestinian villages were deliberately destroyed, civilians were massacred and around a million men, women, and children were expelled from their homes at gunpoint.

Ilan Pappe’s The Biggest Prison on Earth exposes Israeli violations in Palestine against its indigenous people. The Israeli historian reveals Israel’s ugly crimes against humanity over the years, using clear-cut evidence that indicts the settler colonial entity. Pappe comprehensively analyzes Zionist objectives in occupied Palestine, and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in different historical epochs.

The Israeli historian’s latest work earned the “2017 Book of Palestine Award,” and it was recently translated into Arabic by the Nawfal/Hachette Antoine Lebanese publishing house.

This new work par-excellence dealing with the history of the Palestinian occupied territories unmasks Zionist projects and violations of Palestinians’ rights since the ethnic cleansing of Palestine began in 1948. Pappe dedicates his book to the children of Palestine who endured killing, injury, and bullying because they live in the biggest prison on earth.

In this comprehensive exploration of one of the world’s most prolonged and tragic conflicts, Pappe uses recently declassified archival material to analyse the motivations and strategies of the generals and politicians – and the decision-making process itself – that laid the foundation of the occupation. From a survey of the legal and bureaucratic infrastructures that were put in place to control the population of over one million Palestinians, to the security mechanisms that vigorously enforced that control, Pappe paints a picture of what is to all intents and purposes the world’s largest ‘open prison’. The book includes a forward, introduction, and twelve chapters that make up 357 pages.

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