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Deir Yassin must never be forgotten

April 19, 2021 at 2:32 pm

Palestinians in their memorial march on 07 April 2005 at the original site of their former village of Deir Yassin in Jerusalem [ATTA HUSSEIN/AFP via Getty Images]

Have our special days just become painful memories that we relive every year? Such days within the past few weeks were some that will not be forgotten or erased from the memory of the Palestinians, nor should they be erased from the memory of every Arab worthy of the name and those who campaign for justice around the world. Land Day, Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, and the anniversary of the Deir Yassin massacre should be etched in our memories forever.

There is nothing wrong with recalling these painful events; they are particularly pertinent in the midst of the normalisation epidemic that has swept the Arab countries recently, prompting the UAE to congratulate Israel on its “Independence Day”, when it occupied Palestinian lands and displaced 750,000 Palestinian people. The UAE actually wished the settlers a happy “Independence Day”, coinciding with the intense Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip for three consecutive days in the holy month of Ramadan.

The UAE’s perfidious normalisation plan with Israel - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The UAE’s perfidious normalisation plan with Israel – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The treacherous rulers in Abu Dhabi have sold Palestine for a pittance, or rather for free. They have betrayed the Arab people and are trying with all their might to change the focus and form a new Arab conscience by erasing Zionism’s historical and present-day violence. Our historic enemy has become their friend and ally.

For them I would say just three words: remember Deir Yassin. This massacre was a prime example of Zionist cruelty and brutality, a model adopted by Israel ever since. Yes, the same Israel which is joining hands with the Emiratis; the same Israeli hands which are stained with Palestinian blood.

Deir Yassin was a Palestinian village to the west of Jerusalem It was attacked by armed Zionist terrorists on 9 April 1948, just a month before the announcement of the establishment of Israel on the ruins of Palestine. On that fateful day, Zionist terrorists led by Menachem Begin — who went on to become Prime Minister of Israel — killed up to 250 Palestinian men, women, and children. Nor were the elderly spared. The terrorists mutilated the bodies in a hideous manner, by cutting off ears, cutting out vital organs, and slashing the stomachs of pregnant women. They threw the children onto bonfires and shot the men and youth of the village who were at home. They threw “150 maimed corpses” into the village well. In 1980, Israeli Jews rebuilt the village over the ruins of the original buildings and named the streets after the Irgun terrorist who carried out the massacre.

OPINION: Remembering the Deir Yassin massacre 73 years later

Professor Ilan Pappé included details of the killings in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oneworld Publications, 2006). “As they burst into the village, the Jewish soldiers sprayed the houses with machine-gun fire, killing many of the inhabitants. The remaining villagers were then gathered in one place and murdered in cold blood, their bodies abused while a number of the women were raped and then killed.”

Prof Ilan Pappe at MEMO and EuroPal Forum conference The Palestine Question in Europe on 23 November 2019 [Middle East Monitor]

Prof Ilan Pappe at MEMO and EuroPal Forum conference The Palestine Question in Europe on 23 November 2019 [Middle East Monitor]

The number of victims at Deir Yassin has since been disputed. However, as Pappé points out, “One only has to be told that thirty babies were among the slaughtered in Deir Yassin to understand why the whole ‘quantitative’ exercise — which the Israelis repeated as recently as April 2002 in the massacre in Jenin — is insignificant.”

According to Geoff Simons in his book also called The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Palestinian Return Centre, 2006), “Jacques de Raynier, head of the International Red Cross delegation, visited Deir Yassin on 10 April 1948 and reported on what had transpired. First, he encountered an Irgun [terrorist group] woman displaying her bloodstained cutlass, ‘still dripping with blood’, like a trophy.” Then he pushed aside “Israeli criminals” and entered a house: “I found some bodies cold,” he reported. “Here the ‘cleaning up’ had been done with machine guns then hand grenades. It had been finished off with knives… the same thing in the next room… as I was about to leave, I heard something like a sigh. I looked everywhere, turned over all the bodies, and eventually found a little foot, still warm. It was a little girl of ten, mutilated by a hand-grenade, but still alive… everywhere it was the same horrible sight.”

The massacre of Deir Yassin was one of the most horrific massacres that the Arabs have witnessed in our modern era, but it was neither the first nor the last. Nevertheless, it was instrumental in establishing the Zionist project on the land of Palestine, which the UAE now, shamelessly, celebrates. “Massacre and terror,” wrote Simons, “had been used to great effect in clearing the Arab towns and villages for Jewish settlement.”

OPINION: We must never forget Israel’s massacre in Jenin

Palestinian historians have tallied the number of massacres carried out by the Zionist gangs and put the figure at eighty, at a rate of one massacre for every five or so villages occupied by the Zionist terrorists in 1948. Those who survived were forced out of their homes; many hundreds, even thousands, died during the Lydda “death march” forced upon them by the nascent Israelis.

This is the Israel that the Arab Zionists are rushing to embrace today. They want the Arabs to forget the Zionists’ bloody history and normalise relations with them, but there is no way we will ever forget the massacres, the occupation of Arab Palestine, and the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population.

The normalising Arabs have lost the argument already; we will not change our moral compass. Palestine will remain Arab, and Israel will remain the historical enemy of the nation. Palestine will return to the heart of the nation one day. That may not look very likely at the moment, but it is inevitable, God willing, while the Arab Zionists and normalisers will be thrown into the dustbin of history.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.