today is the anniversary of the massacre of dier yassin. it is not the only massacre that jewish terrorists enacted upon palestinians during an nakba in 1948. not by far. nor is it the only time since 1948 that they have committed a massacre. one need only to look at gaza to know the answer to that question. but deir yassin is a touchstone for palestinians because of the symbolic nature of this particular massacre. it was widely publicized, including in newspapers like the new york times to spread terror among Palestinians so that they would flee their homes so jews could steal them and occupy them. here are the events according to the deir yassin remembered website that took place 61 years ago today:
Early in the morning of Friday, April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun, headed by Menachem Begin, and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a village with about 750 Palestinian residents. It was several weeks before the end of the British Mandate. The village lay outside of the area that the United Nations recommended be included in a future Jewish State. Deir Yassin had a peaceful reputation and was even said by a Jewish newspaper to have driven out some Arab militants. But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and one plan, kept secret until years afterwards, called for it to be destroyed and the residents evacuated to make way for a small airfield that would supply the beleaguered Jewish residents of Jerusalem.
By noon over 100 people, half of them women and children, had been systematically murdered. Four commandos died at the hands of resisting Palestinians using old Mausers and muskets. Twenty-five male villagers were loaded into trucks, paraded through the Zakhron Yosef quarter in Jerusalem, and then taken to a stone quarry along the road between Givat Shaul and Deir Yassin and shot to death. The remaining residents were driven to Arab East Jerusalem.
That evening the Irgunists and the Sternists escorted a party of foreign correspondents to a house at Givat Shaul, a nearby Jewish settlement founded in 1906. Over tea and cookies they amplified the details of the operation and justified it, saying Deir Yassin had become a concentration point for Arabs, including Syrians and Iraqis, planning to attack the western suburbs of Jerusalem. They said that 25 members of the Haganah militia had reinforced the attack and claimed that an Arabic-speaking Jew had warned the villagers over a loudspeaker from an armored car. This was duly reported in The New York Times on April 10.
A final body count of 254 was reported by The New York Times on April 13, a day after they were finally buried. By then the leaders of the Haganah had distanced themselves from having participated in the attack and issued a statement denouncing the dissidents of Irgun and the Stern Gang, just as they had after the attack on the King David Hotel in July 1946. A 1987 study undertaken by Birzeit University’s Center for Research and Documentation of Palestinian Society found “the numbers of those killed does not exceed 120”.
The Haganah leaders admitted that the massacre “disgraced the cause of Jewish fighters and dishonored Jewish arms and the Jewish flag.” They played down the fact that their militia had reinforced the terrorists’ attack, even though they did not participate in the barbarism and looting during the subsequent “mopping up” operations.
They also played down the fact that, in Begin’s words, “Deir Yassin was captured with the knowledge of the Haganah and with the approval of its commander” as a part of its “plan for establishing an airfield.”
Ben Gurion even sent an apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But this horrific act served the future State of Israel well. According to Begin:
Arabs throughout the country, induced to believe wild tales of “Irgun butchery,” were seized with limitless panic and started to flee for their lives. This mass flight soon developed into a maddened, uncontrollable stampede. The political and economic significance of this development can hardly be overestimated.
Of about 144 houses, 10 were dynamited. The cemetery was later bulldozed and, like hundreds of other Palestinian villages to follow, Deir Yassin was wiped off the map. By September, Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Poland, Rumania, and Slovakia were settled there over the objections of Martin Buber, Cecil Roth and other Jewish leaders, who believed that the site of the massacre should be left uninhabited. The center of the village was renamed Givat Shaul Bet. As Jerusalem expanded, the land of Deir Yassin became part of the city and is now known simply as the area between Givat Shaul and the settlement of Har Nof on the western slopes of the mountain.
interestingly, the deir yassin website has posted a copy of a letter that albert einstein wrote (see above) the day after this massacre to a man seeking funding for more such terrorist attacks on palestinians. clearly, the man wrote to the wrong person:
Prior to the creation of the State of Israel, two Jewish terrorist groups were working to cleanse Palestine of its Arab inhabitants and its British occupiers. The more brutal of these groups was Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) also known as the Stern Gang after its founder Avraham Stern.
Much of the financial support for these Jewish terrorists came from the United States. The Stern Gang received money collected under the more perfidious name, American Friends of the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel. Mr. Shepard Rifkin was the executive director after the UN Partition of Palestine and prior to the creation of Israel in May 1948.
Against his better judgment Rifkin solicited Albert Einstein to help the Stern Gang raise American money for arms to drive out the Arabs and help create a Jewish state. On April 10th, the day after the infamous massacre of Arabs at Deir Yassin, Einstein replied calling the Stern Gang terrorists and misled criminals.
but, of course, to really understand what happened it is important to listen to the survivors. to their oral history. here is a film featuring zeinab mohammad ismail attieh who tells you how she survived the massacre:
there are a few testimonies of survivors by people like abu yusef on a nakba site hosted by the khalil sakakini center in ramallah, here is abu yusef’s:
“(..)After the battle, the Jews took elderly men and women and youths, including 4 of my cousins and a nephew. They took them all. Women who had on them gold and money, were stripped of their gold. After the Jews removed their dead and wounded, they took the men to the quarry and sprayed them all with bullets.
(..)One woman had her son taken some 40 to 60 meters away from where she and the rest of the women stood by, and shot him dead. Then they brought Jewish kids to throw stones at his body. They later poured kerosene on his body and set it ablaze while the women watched from a distance. We later collected ourselves, & checked who was missing. At Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, we were gathered by the Arab Supreme Committee. Each of us was looking for a son, a daughter, a sister or a mother.
All men were busy fighting. Eyewitnesses were only women. The elderly men were told to remove the dead, both Arabs and Jews. They took the bodies of the Jews and left the Arab bodies until they later were thrown in a well in the village center.”
there are other such testimonies and more information on the palestine remembered website as well. of course, this website provides oral histories of many people who survived numerous massacres and whose villages were destroyed when their land became colonized by the zionist entity starting in 1948.
one of the prime terrorists involved in the terrorism of the villagers of deir yassin was, of course, menachem begin as a member of the terrorist irgun (just like rahm israel imanuel’s father). upon learning of begin’s visit to the united states on december 2, 1948 albert einstein, among others, wrote an open letter that was published in the new york times:
Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the Emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
The current visit of Menahem Begin, leader of this party to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American Support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents. Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin’s behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.
The public avowals of Begin’s party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.
Attack on Arab Village
A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had Taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants – 240 men, women and children – and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan.
But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin. The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party. Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority.
Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their Stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model. During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for Not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.
The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.
The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and His party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a “Leader State” is the goal.
In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has Refused to campaign against Begin’s efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.
The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.
RABBI JESSURUN CARDOZO,
HERMAN EISEN, M.D.,
M. GALLEN, M.D.,
ZELIG S. HARRIS,
IRMA L. LINDHEIM,
MYER D. MENDELSON, M.D.,
HARRY M. ORLINSKY,
LOUIS P. ROCKER,
ITZHAK SANKOWSKY, I.J.
the main issue with deir yassin–the lesson from this historical even that we remember every year–that should never be forgotten and never forgiven–is that we should resist at all costs any attempt for continuing ethnic cleansing plans devised by the zionist entity. which has gone on for more than 61 years now. and it continues today. the way that palestinians are being terrorized off their lands by colonists and israeli terrorist soldiers alike is the same thing. maybe not as big, maybe not new york times headlines, but it is the same thing. it is a continuation of the same process. here is yet an example of that ethnic cleansing from al quds, with beautiful palestinians refusing to be terrorized into flight. instead they are steadfast and they will rebuild their houses again and again and again: