Israeli Massacre of Deir Yassin
By Dr. Elias Akleh
The state of Israel was established and is sustained on the continuous perpetration of genocides, destruction of whole towns, land theft, home demolition, ethnic cleansing, and terror against Palestinians. The massacre of the Palestinian small town of Deir Yassin in 9th of April 1948; 65 years ago of this week, is just one typical massacre story that details Zionist Jewish Israeli savagery prescribed in their holy book, the Talmud.
Palestine at the time was under the British occupation (Mandate) that ended on 15th of May 1948. Until that time there was no Israeli government or Israeli army, rather Zionist Jewish militia groups financed and armed by World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency. The largest was the Haganah; a secret Jewish terrorist group armed and trained by officers from the British army. The Haganah, later, formed the backbone of the present Israeli army. Within the Haganah there was an elite striking force called the Palmach, who specialized in assassination, terror and demolition. There were also two other smaller underground terrorist groups; Itzel or Irgun founded by Se’ev Jabotinsky the head of the Jewish Zionist Organization, and Lehi or Stern founded by the Zionist terrorist Abraham Stern.
Before the end of the British Mandate the Zionist leaders launched on April 4th 1948 their general expansionist colonial plan dubbed as “Plan Dalet”; a Zionist master offensive military plan with many sub-operations such as Nachshon, Harel, and Maccabi, whose aim was the systematic ethnic cleansing of as many Palestinians as possible and the theft of as much Palestinian land as possible before the end of the British Mandate. The Haganah had committed many massacres against the Palestinian population and had totally razed as many as 400 Palestinian towns. The Haganah thus gained popularity among the Zionist Jews.
There developed a competition between the Haganah on one side and the Irgun and Lehi on the other for popularity among Jews and for political leadership in the perceived future Israeli state. Such gain was achieved by one side in uprooting and transferring Palestinians and in the destruction of their towns and villages more than the other side.
During the first week of April 1948 the Haganah launched Operation Nachshon to carve out and hold a highway passage for their forces from Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast in the west all the way to Jerusalem in the interior of the country committing on their way many massacres of Palestinian civilians and demolishing their towns. The Haganah, at the time, was held up still by Palestinian fighters at Al-Qastal; west of Jerusalem and a few miles away from the village of Deir Yassin.
On the other side Irgun and Lehi terrorist groups wanted to gain popularity over the held-up Haganah through a military victory. They chose an easy virtually unarmed defenseless village of Deir Yassin as their target. Deir Yassin was a small Palestinian village located west of Jerusalem with about 750 inhabitants, who lived peacefully with their neighboring Zionist Jewish colony of Giv’at Shaul despite all the political and military conflicts of that time. The two communities had signed a non-aggression agreement between them. Yet, typical of Zionist Jews, who throughout their long history had never honored any agreement they signed with non-Jews, Zionist Jewish terrorist groups of Irgun and Lehi came out of Giv’at Shaul, attacked the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin on Friday 9th of April 1948 and savagely murdered scores of them; men, women and children, blew up their homes and wiped the village off the map.
Irgun was headed by Menachim Begin, who became the 6th Israeli prime minister, while Lehi was headed by Yitzhak Shamir, who became the 7th Israeli prime minister. Israel is the only country where terrorist leaders such as Menachim Begin and Yitzhak Shamir (also Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon) are rewarded with the position of prime ministers.
In a joint operation coded “Operation Unity” the two Zionist Jewish terrorist groups attacked Deir Yassin in the morning of April 9th, 1948 with the aim of killing as many Palestinians as possible and of forcing the rest out of their homes and land. Driving through the only street leading to the village the attackers were held up by Palestinian snipers using old one-shot hunting rifles. When four attackers were killed the terrorist groups called the commander of the Haganah, David Shaltiel, for help. He sent some of his troops among them a Palmach unit commanded by Mordechai Weg. With an armored vehicle and a two-inch mortar they were able to silence the resistance and occupy the village in a matter of two hours.
A process of cleaning up the village was, then, conducted by the terrorist groups which included the rape of some women, the cold murder of many Palestinians, and the blowing up of homes. Men and women were lined up against the walls in the main street and executed in cold blood. Members of whole families were murdered in their homes even after surrendering. Girls and women were raped and then murdered. The Zionist terrorists had bayoneted the wombs of Pregnant women and crushed the heads and bodies of dozens of children and babies. This cleanup process continued through the next two days, Saturday and Sunday, and demonstrated the savagery of the Zionist Jewish terrorists.
Members of the Zionist terror groups, themselves, had reported such atrocities. Among the many of them was Yehoshua Gorodenchik, an Irgun physician, reported that they had to withdraw at one time and had decided to murder all prisoners. “We had prisoners and before the retreat we decided to liquidate them, we also liquidated the wounded… we eliminated every Arab we came across up to that point.”
Eliyahu Arbel, a Haganah operations officer, inspected the village and reported: “I have seen a great deal of war, but I never saw a sight like Deir Yassin … largely comprised of the bodies of women and children, who were murdered in cold blood.”
Israeli colonel Meir Pa’el admitted that “The Irgun and Lehi men came out of hiding and began to ‘clean’ the houses. They shot whoever they saw, women and children included, the commanders did not try to stop the massacre …”
Zvi Ankori, who commanded one of the terrorist units at Deir Yassin stated: “I went into 6 to 7 houses. I saw cut off genitalia and women’s crushed stomachs. According to the shooting signs on the bodies, it was direct murder.” (New York Jewish Newsletter in October 1960)
Alfred Engel, a Jewish physician, who was on site, saw that “It was clear that the attackers had gone from house to house and shot the people at close range.”
The most damning graphic description of the massacre of Deir Yassin came from Jacques de Reynier, the then representative of the International Red Cross, who was the first to reach the site. His statement indicated that “there were people rushing everywhere, in and out of houses, carrying Sten guns, rifles, pistols and long ornate knives. They seemed half mad. I saw a beautiful girl carrying a dagger still covered with blood. I heard screams … everything had been ripped apart. There were bodies strewn around… cleaning up was done with guns and grenades, the work finished with knives.” Reynier estimated seeing some 200 bodies, one of a woman, probably eight months pregnant, shot in the stomach. There were also butchered infants. Schoolgirls and elderly women have been raped and then murdered. Ears had been severed to remove ear rings, bracelets had been torn from arms and rings from fingers.
Journalists Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre had obtained a dossier of 1948 British Mandate criminal investigation into Deir Yassin. According to the dossier, one woman among others described being sexually assaulted while “other women around me were being raped, too.” (Statement of Safiyeh Attiyeh, dossier 179/110/17 GS, “Secret,” quoted in Collins and Lapierre, O Jerusalem! 275,276). According to Collins and Lapierre, the British investigation was corroborated by physical evidence obtained through medical examination of the survivors.
On hearing of the atrocities committed at Deir Yassin the Haganah commander, David Shaltiel, insisted that Irgun and Lehi terrorists never leave the village before burying all the dead. The Zionist terrorist groups refused the order and left the village, so a burial crew was sent to do the job. They hauled about 70 bodies to a quarry, piled them in a heap, poured gasoline and set them ablaze. But when the fire did not do a thorough job, they used bulldozers to fill the quarry with dirt to bury the bodies. (Milstein, Out of Crisis Comes Decision, p. 273; Milstein, “Deir Yassin”)
In an attempt to boost their popularity the members of the Zionist Jewish terrorist groups of Irgun and Lehi loaded about twenty five Palestinian men, women and children into trucks, stripped them naked, and paraded them victoriously through the Jewish Zakhron Yosef quarter in Jerusalem, then they drov back into a stone quarry in Deir Yassin and executed them in cold blood. Harry Levin, a Haganah broadcaster and future Israeli diplomat, recorded seeing “three trucks driving slowly up and down King George V Avenue bearing men, women and children, their hands above their heads, guarded by Jews armed with sten-guns and rifles.” (Levin, Jerusalem Embattled, 57)
Fifty five children, who survived the massacre, were dumped at the Mendelbaum Gate in Jerusalem. Some of them knocked on the door of Palestinian Jerusalemite Hind Al-Husseini seeking shelter. After hearing about the massacre Al-Husseini rushed to find the rest of the children deciding to care for all of them. She turned her grandfather’s mansion into an orphanage and school calling it Dar Al-Tifl Al-Arabi (Home of the Arab Child). Al-Husseini dedicated her whole life to the orphans of Deir Yassin and to other Palestinian children.
The number of massacred Palestinians was disputed. Most sources, including The New York Times of April 13, put the number of the victims at 254, including 25 pregnant women and 52 children. Many sources had quoted Irgun’s commander, Raanan, who in a press conference, described the massacre as a successful battle and exaggerated the numbers of dead in order the boost the Jewish moral and to frighten other Palestinians into flight. He later explained “I told the reporters that 254 were killed so that a big figure would be published and so that Arabs would panic … across the country.” (Milstein). A 1987 study undertaken by Birzeit University’s Center for Research and Documentation of Palestinian Society (CRDPS) found the numbers of those murdered does not exceed 120.
The massacre of Deir Yassin has a significant importance in the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict although it was not the first or the last massacre the Israelis committed against Palestinians. Unlike previous massacres of Palestinians and the wiping off of their towns, the massacre of Deir Yassin was the first to be known by the outside world due to its vicinity to the capital of Jerusalem. This allowed the Red Cross to investigate and to report the massacre.
Also, the commanders of Irgun and Lehi had called for a press conference, during which they announced their victory in occupying the first Palestinian town in cooperation with the Haganah’s Palmach forces. Their exaggeration of the number of victims was echoed through press into the Arab and Western capitals resulting in strong international condemnations. Such condemnation embarrassed the Jewish Agency, prompting its leader at the time David Ben-Gurion, to send a telegram of apology to Jordanian King, Abdullah, condemning the “rogue” Zionist organizations of Irgun and Lehi.
Although the Haganah had tried to distance itself from the Irgun and Lehi and to deny its role in the massacre, its full participation is very well known to everybody. The leader of Irgun, Menachim Begin, had admitted on December 28, 1950 in a press interview in New York that the Deir Yassin “incident” had been carried out in accordance with an agreement between the Irgun and the Jewish Agency and the Haganah. In October 1960 the New York Jewish Newsletter reported that Menachim Begin had bragged that “The massacre was not only justified, but there would not have been a state of Israel without the victory at Deir Yassin.”
Mordechai Nisan of the Truman Research Centre of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem wrote an article for “The American Zionist Journal” in which he expressed his concern about the failure to understand the major significance of terrorism in the struggle for Jewish sovereignty. He wrote: “Without terror it is unlikely that Jewish independence would have been achieved when it was.”
Nisan’s statement describes a fundamental fact throughout the three thousand years of Jewish history. Jewish independence and statehood could have never achieved except through terrorism and genocide as prescribed in their religion. Their Talmud commands them to perpetrate genocides against all non-Jews, including women, children and old, even their animals, and to destroy their towns. Check Isaih 13:16-18, Samuel I 15:2-3, Numbers 31:16-18, Deuteronomy 2:34, Deuteronomy 3:6-7, Ezekiel 9:5-6, and Joshua 6:21 for just very few examples of their genocidal religious teachings.
Unfortunately, western countries such as UK, France, Germany, Canada and particularly the US, who claim themselves to be the champions of democracy, freedom, protectors of human rights, and the fighters of terrorism, are providing blind and unconditional financial, military and political support to Israeli state terrorism. I can understand Zionist Israeli Jewish genocidal and terrorist tendencies in lieu of their religion, but I cannot understand western support to such terrorism. I wonder what religion are they, really, prescribed to?
Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab writer from a Palestinian descent born in the town of Beit Jala. His family was first evicted from Haifa after the “Nakba” of 1948, then from Beit Jala after the “Nakseh” of 1967. He lives now in the US, and publishes his articles on the web in both English and Arabic.