As a small group of Palestinian and Israeli activists flanked by various members of the Israeli 'security services' walked past the malls, banks and cafes cluttered along Kenfai Nesharim street they were largely met with blind indifference. A few members of the orthodox Jewish community now living in the area stopped momentarily, particularly those who were old enough to remember. Others didn't even turn their heads. A small group of young boys wearing kippas followed the group inquisitively. People waiting for buses were too preoccupied with their iPhones to even notice the Palestinians brushing past them carrying large black signs listing names written in both Arabic and Hebrew. As the group stopped outside an old Palestinian house to read out the names of 38 members of the Radwan family, a group of Israeli men passing in a car momentarily shouted obscenities.
'Selective amnesia' and outright denial are intrinsic tools of settler-colonialism. When passed down through generations they create an illusionary 'history' and a notion of 'permanence' in what is 'now' rather than what 'was' (or what 'should be' in the context of rights). Ongoing forcible displacement – or ethic cleansing – of Palestinians is addressed today under various 'security' needs by the Zionist movement and its state. The historic events without which the ongoing Nakba would never have begun remain largely un-contextualised in mainstream history books. Pivotal events, such as the massacre in the village of Deir Yassin are covered up by doctored history, alien architecture and settler implantation. The malls, bus depos, hospital and children's parks in the settlements of Givat Shaul Beth and Har Nof were built on the blood of Palestinian villagers.
On April 9th 1948, about 120 members of the Irgun and Lehi Zionist militias attacked the village of Deir Yassin in the early hours of the morning. Hand grenades were thrown into houses as their Palestinian residents hid inside. Others were shot. 38 members of the Radwan family were killed. The majority of the victims in Deir Yassin were children under the age of 15 and people over 60, many were women – such people were not resistance fighters although there was some resistance in the village when it fell under attack. Reports published at the time placed the number of dead at around 250, more recent studies estimate the figure to be between 100-120. Prisoners were rounded up and paraded through the Old City of Jerusalem by their captors. Some were then taken to a nearby quarry and executed. Orphaned children were dumped near Damascus Gate.
As news of the massacre spread several Palestinian populations fled their villages upon hearing that the Zionist militia were approaching – desperate to escape from a similar fate. The massacre in Deir Yassin was far from the only massacre carried out during the initial ethnic cleansing programs on which the state of Israel was founded, but it probably had the most fundamental effect on the Palestinian psyche.
Deir Yassin was one of nearly 170 Palestinian villages that were forcibly depopulated prior to the establishment of the state. This fact is significant in proving the falsification of the Zionist claim that Palestinian villages were 'vacated during war' as 'Arab armies' attacked the newly founded state after its declaration on May 15th 1948. Deir Yassin was a strategic action carried out by the Zionist movement within their program to establish Zionist supremacy in Palestine and over the indigenous population. Such policies have continued under various guises ever since; the Nakba continues.
MEMO Photograher: Rich Wiles
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