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

Israel's 60th Anniversary Examined in Middle East Institute Special Report

Posted on Mon, May 12, 2008 @ 03:03 PM
Middle East conflict's seminal moment: 1948
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Details: Israel's 60th Anniversary  Examined in Middle East Institute Special Report
Israel's 60th Anniversary
The Middle East Institute has a Viewpoints Special Report: "Israel: Growing Pains at 60." It features the opinions of many scholars on the current situation after 60 years, including those of my friend Menachem Klein, who let me know about the report which goes live Monday May 12. It provides excellent in-depth analysis to accompany the special report I just completed for Vision: "Israel's 60th Anniversary in Context." 

Tags: 1948 war, Menachem Klein, 60th anniversary of israel, middle east institute, Middle East Conflict

Deir Yassin, the Black Stain at Israel's Founding

Posted on Mon, Feb 04, 2008 @ 04:05 PM

In Palestine 60 years ago: Operation Nachshon and the awful events at the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin—a turning point in the First Arab-Israeli War

Deir Yassin Remembered

During the Jewish campaign to open up the corridor between the coast and Jerusalem in April 1948 (Operation Nachshon), the most significant event was the massacre of 100-110 Palestinian villagers at Deir Yassin on the city's western edge on April 9. The attack on the village was carried out by two Jewish underground organizations, IZL (Irgun Z'vai Leumi) and LHI (Lehame Herut Israel [Stern Gang]), with the apparent agreement of the Haganah in Jerusalem. As the attack progressed, it was met with fierce and unexpected resistance. Though the villagers had been friendly toward the Jews, not allowing Palestinian resistance fighters to stay there, they had understandably armed themselves against possible attack.

Now they resisted. The fighting went so badly for the Jewish attackers that they resorted to dynamiting houses, killing men, women and children.

The details are found in many sources, including Benny Morris's 1999 book, Righteous Victims. The web site for Deir Yassin contains much helpful information as does the memorial documentary.

The immediate result of the massacre was to galvanize Arab hatred, but also to create fear to such a degree that a Palestinian refugee exodus was set in motion. It was indeed a turning point that made the Jewish successes in the days ahead much easier. But it also set the pattern for reprisal. On April 13, the Palestinians launched a six hour attack on a ten-vehicle convoy bound for the Hadassah Hospital-Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus. In a brutal end to the confrontation, two armored buses were torched and more than 70 mostly unarmed Jewish doctors, nurses and lecturers lost their lives.

Tags: arab-israeli conflict, 1948 war, Benny Morris, Deir Yassin, operation nachshon

60 Years Ago in Palestine: The Lead-Up to Israeli Independence

Posted on Thu, Jan 31, 2008 @ 04:11 PM
Jewish War Plan D[aleth] Accelerated
Abdel Qadir al-Husayni

In early April 1948, the Jewish leadership under Ben-Gurion gradually operationalized their offensive Plan D[aleth]. It was still several weeks before British withdrawal when the plan was originally to come into effect. Part of the accelerated program, known as Operation Nachshon, involved opening up a corridor from the coast to Jerusalem—a narrow road overlooked by Arab villages. This action came in response to the attacks of an Arab armed band that had formed along with others in December 1947-January 1948. One of the largest was led by Abdel Qadir al-Husayni, whose territory encompassed the hills around Ramallah and Jerusalem and who was known to be active in attacking the corridor road. According to Michael Hudson, Operation Nachshon also foresaw the annexing of "as much as the city as possible to the Jewish state."

Two critical events in April led to the subsequent Zionist capture of significant parts of Jerusalem.

On March 31 Ben-Gurion had met with Jewish underground (Haganah) leaders and ordered an attack on the Arab village of Kastel, which overlooked the Tel Aviv–Jerusalem road. The Palmach captured the village on April 2, only to be counter-attacked by Abdel Qadir al-Husayni's men. Believing that the village was in his hands, at dawn on April 8 Abdel Qadir mistakenly walked up to a Jewish sentry and was shot dead. Recapturing the hilltop of Kastel, Arab forces took the leader's body to the Haram/Temple Mount and buried him there next to his father. Husayni's death was a tremendously demoralizing moment for the Palestinians and a turning point in the war.

The second event was the infamous Jewish attack on the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin on the western edge of Jerusalem. We will come to that next time.

Tags: jerusalem, mid east conflict, palestinians, Ben-Gurion, 1948 war, abdel qadir al husyani

Israel's 60th Anniversary Just Ahead

Posted on Mon, Jan 21, 2008 @ 04:27 PM

Current Israeli-Palestinian Impasse in Context of the 60th Anniversary

Ben  Gurion 1948

It's often noted that the ongoing Middle-East Conflict had its origins in two seminal eventsthe 1948 and 1967 warsand the effects they had on the Palestinian population. Last year saw the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War/June 1967 War. I covered this in earlier posts on February 7, May 7, May 9June 6 and June 7, 2007. 

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel (May 14) and the war that broke out immediately afterwards as Arab armies attempted to destroy the UN-sanctioned Jewish state at birth. In the next few days, we'll look at the events leading up to the 1948 war.

 

 

Naymz Profile for Dr.  David  Hulme

Tags: 1948 war, 1967 War, 60th Anniversary of the State of Israel, Six-Day War