"The Debate on '1948' in Palestine/Israel"
last update: 20151225
The Debate on "1948" in Palestine/Israel
This paper discusses the debate about "1948" between Israeli and Palestinian historians after the 1980s. Next,
it discusses different perspectives of the historiography of "1948" in Palestine/Israel.
From 1948 to 1949, after the State of Israel proclaimed its independence, neighboring Arab countries invaded
Palestine, creating approximately 750,000 Palestinian refugees. Since then, there have been conflicting
historical narratives of "1948." The Israeli narratives have described the event as a "War of Independence"
against the Arabs and the British Mandate. In contrast, the Palestinians have narrated it as "Nakba,"
"catastrophe" in Arabic, expressing the Palestinian collective memory of dispossession of land and property.
My discussion makes three points. The first regards the debate between an Israeli historian, Benny Morris,
and a Palestinian historian, Walid Khalidi, which disputed the relationship between the Zionist militias' "Plan
Dalet" and the cause of the Palestinian refugee crisis. The second focuses on the argument of a Palestinian
researcher, Nur Masalha, who discussed the Zionist leadership's "transfer" policy against the Arab population
as the background of the Zionist military actions. The last point treats the discussion by Ilan Pappe, an Israeli
historian, who reinterprets "1948" from the perspective of "ethnic cleansing."
Keywords: historiography, War of Independence, Nakba, population transfer, ethnic cleansing