No Pride in This Memorial: April 9th in Middle East History

Posted on Mon, Apr 08, 2013 @ 10:55 PM
DeirYassinMap
 Map courtesy Wikipedia

An event the Palestinians recall every year is the massacre of 100110 Palestinian villagers at Deir Yassin on the city's western edge on April 9, 1948. It became the most significant aspect of Operation Nachshon, the Jewish campaign to open up the corridor between the Mediterranean coast and Jerusalem.

The attack on the village was carried out by two Jewish underground organizations, Irgun Z'vai Leumi (IZL) and Lohamei Herut Israel (Lehi; also known as the Stern Gang), with the apparent agreement of the Haganah in Jerusalem. The villagers had been friendly toward the Jews, refusing to allow Palestinian resistance fighters to stay there, but they had armed themselves against possible attack. The fighting went so badly for the Jewish attackers that they resorted to dynamiting houses, killing men, women and children. Though many younger male Palestinians escaped, others (women, children and old men) were humiliated by being trucked through Jerusalem in a kind of victory parade and then dumped in Arab East Jerusalem.

Along with many other sources, Benny Morris's 1999 book, Righteous Victimsdetails this confrontation. Deir Yassin's website contains much helpful information as does the associated documentary.

The immediate result of the massacre was such that a Palestinian refugee exodus began. This turning point in the Middle East conflict opened the way for Jewish successes in the days ahead. It also set the stage for fierce reprisal. Four days later, the Palestinians attacked a 10-vehicle convoy traveling to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus. During the six-hour fight, two armored buses were torched and more than 70 mostly unarmed Jewish doctors, nurses and lecturers died.

The State of Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, later apologized for the events at Deir Yassin.

Tags: palestinians, Ben-Gurion, 1948 war, Deir Yassin, Middle East Conflict