What would be the reaction of LRB readers if a senior lecturer at a British university were to start a discussion of World War Two with the bombing of Dresden by the RAF, without first mentioning the invasion of Poland and the V2 rocket attack on London? This is what Ilan Pappe (LRB, 8 January) is doing when he says that the cause of the Middle East conflict is the alleged ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. He does not mention the war waged by the Palestinians on pre-independence Israel, or the invasion of the newborn state by five Arab armies with the purpose of destroying it. Pappe argues that ‘neither the Palestinians nor the Arab world at large will feel able to accept a Jewish state’ unless Israel acknowledges the right of return of Palestinian refugees. He does not tell the reader that after this happens there will be no need for such acceptance because the Jewish state will cease to exist.