What follows is a quote from Ilan Pappe’s 2006 book, ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’. It need not be assumed that all the outrages were on the one side, Pappe records both. My purpose in this extract is to point out that the Israeli military was not then, as it is not now, a ‘moral army’. It is a body of men and women whose failings were and are covered up by the politicians and the generals. When they cannot be obscured they are excused. This is from the chapter, Occupation and its Ugly Face (p.210)

‘The perpetrators can only talk, it seems, shielded by the safe distance of years. This is how a particularly apalling case came to light just recently. On 12 August 1949, a platoon of soldiers in the Negev … captured a twelve year old Palestinian girl and locked her up for the night in their military base near the kibbutz. For the next few days she became the platoon’s sexslave as the soldiers shaved her head, gang-raped her and in the end murdered her.  Ben-Gurion lists this rape too in his diary but it was censored out by his editors. On 29 October 2003, the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, publicised the story based on the testimonies of the rapists; twenty-two soldiers had taken part in the barbaric torture and execution of the girl. When they were brought to trial, the severest punishment the court handed down was a prison term of two years for the soldier who had done the actual killing’.

An enduring peace will not be possible for Jews and Palestinians until the leaders of the western nations face up to the historical realities and those responsible are held accountable.  Jews, the majority of whom live outside Israel are at risk, not only because of antiSemitism, but because of genuine anger at Zionism’s Ugly Face.  Crying ‘antiSemitism’ when faced with hard truths does nothing to solve the problem and undermines any claim of morality, democracy and even civilization.

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