city:deir yassin

  • Burying the Nakba: How Israel systematically hides evidence of 1948 expulsion of Arabs
    By Hagar Shezaf Jul 05, 2019 - Israel News -

    International forces overseeing the evacuation of Iraq al-Manshiyya, near today’s Kiryat Gat, in March, 1949. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/Israel State Archives

    Four years ago, historian Tamar Novick was jolted by a document she found in the file of Yosef Vashitz, from the Arab Department of the left-wing Mapam Party, in the Yad Yaari archive at Givat Haviva. The document, which seemed to describe events that took place during the 1948 war, began:

    “Safsaf [former Palestinian village near Safed] – 52 men were caught, tied them to one another, dug a pit and shot them. 10 were still twitching. Women came, begged for mercy. Found bodies of 6 elderly men. There were 61 bodies. 3 cases of rape, one east of from Safed, girl of 14, 4 men shot and killed. From one they cut off his fingers with a knife to take the ring.”

    The writer goes on to describe additional massacres, looting and abuse perpetrated by Israeli forces in Israel’s War of Independence. “There’s no name on the document and it’s not clear who’s behind it,” Dr. Novick tells Haaretz. “It also breaks off in the middle. I found it very disturbing. I knew that finding a document like this made me responsible for clarifying what happened.”

    The Upper Galilee village of Safsaf was captured by the Israel Defense Forces in Operation Hiram toward the end of 1948. Moshav Safsufa was established on its ruins. Allegations were made over the years that the Seventh Brigade committed war crimes in the village. Those charges are supported by the document Novick found, which was not previously known to scholars. It could also constitute additional evidence that the Israeli top brass knew about what was going on in real time.

    Novick decided to consult with other historians about the document. Benny Morris, whose books are basic texts in the study of the Nakba – the “calamity,” as the Palestinians refer to the mass emigration of Arabs from the country during the 1948 war – told her that he, too, had come across similar documentation in the past. He was referring to notes made by Mapam Central Committee member Aharon Cohen on the basis of a briefing given in November 1948 by Israel Galili, the former chief of staff of the Haganah militia, which became the IDF. Cohen’s notes in this instance, which Morris published, stated: “Safsaf 52 men tied with a rope. Dropped into a pit and shot. 10 were killed. Women pleaded for mercy. [There were] 3 cases of rape. Caught and released. A girl of 14 was raped. Another 4 were killed. Rings of knives.”

    Morris’ footnote (in his seminal “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949”) states that this document was also found in the Yad Yaari Archive. But when Novick returned to examine the document, she was surprised to discover that it was no longer there.

    Palestine refugees initially displaced to Gaza board boats to Lebanon or Egypt, in 1949. Hrant Nakashian/1949 UN Archives

    “At first I thought that maybe Morris hadn’t been accurate in his footnote, that perhaps he had made a mistake,” Novick recalls. “It took me time to consider the possibility that the document had simply disappeared.” When she asked those in charge where the document was, she was told that it had been placed behind lock and key at Yad Yaari – by order of the Ministry of Defense.

    Since the start of the last decade, Defense Ministry teams have been scouring Israel’s archives and removing historic documents. But it’s not just papers relating to Israel’s nuclear project or to the country’s foreign relations that are being transferred to vaults: Hundreds of documents have been concealed as part of a systematic effort to hide evidence of the Nakba.

    The phenomenon was first detected by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research. According to a report drawn up by the institute, the operation is being spearheaded by Malmab, the Defense Ministry’s secretive security department (the name is a Hebrew acronym for “director of security of the defense establishment”), whose activities and budget are classified. The report asserts that Malmab removed historical documentation illegally and with no authority, and at least in some cases has sealed documents that had previously been cleared for publication by the military censor. Some of the documents that were placed in vaults had already been published.
    An investigative report by Haaretz found that Malmab has concealed testimony from IDF generals about the killing of civilians and the demolition of villages, as well as documentation of the expulsion of Bedouin during the first decade of statehood. Conversations conducted by Haaretz with directors of public and private archives alike revealed that staff of the security department had treated the archives as their property, in some cases threatening the directors themselves.

    Yehiel Horev, who headed Malmab for two decades, until 2007, acknowledged to Haaretz that he launched the project, which is still ongoing. He maintains that it makes sense to conceal the events of 1948, because uncovering them could generate unrest among the country’s Arab population. Asked what the point is of removing documents that have already been published, he explained that the objective is to undermine the credibility of studies about the history of the refugee problem. In Horev’s view, an allegation made by a researcher that’s backed up by an original document is not the same as an allegation that cannot be proved or refuted.

    The document Novick was looking for might have reinforced Morris’ work. During the investigation, Haaretz was in fact able to find the Aharon Cohen memo, which sums up a meeting of Mapam’s Political Committee on the subject of massacres and expulsions in 1948. Participants in the meeting called for cooperation with a commission of inquiry that would investigate the events. One case the committee discussed concerned “grave actions” carried out in the village of Al-Dawayima, east of Kiryat Gat. One participant mentioned the then-disbanded Lehi underground militia in this connection. Acts of looting were also reported: “Lod and Ramle, Be’er Sheva, there isn’t [an Arab] store that hasn’t been broken into. 9th Brigade says 7, 7th Brigade says 8.”
    “The party,” the document states near the end, “is against expulsion if there is no military necessity for it. There are different approaches concerning the evaluation of necessity. And further clarification is best. What happened in Galilee – those are Nazi acts! Every one of our members must report what he knows.”

    The Israeli version
    One of the most fascinating documents about the origin of the Palestinian refugee problem was written by an officer in Shai, the precursor to the Shin Bet security service. It discusses why the country was emptied of so many of its Arab inhabitants, dwelling on the circumstances of each village. Compiled in late June 1948, it was titled “The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine.”

    Read a translation of the document here (1)

    This document was the basis for an article that Benny Morris published in 1986. After the article appeared, the document was removed from the archive and rendered inaccessible to researchers. Years later, the Malmab team reexamined the document, and ordered that it remain classified. They could not have known that a few years later researchers from Akevot would find a copy of the text and run it past the military censors – who authorized its publication unconditionally. Now, after years of concealment, the gist of the document is being revealed here.

    The 25-page document begins with an introduction that unabashedly approves of the evacuation of the Arab villages. According to the author, the month of April “excelled in an increase of emigration,” while May “was blessed with the evacuation of maximum places.” The report then addresses “the causes of the Arab emigration.” According to the Israeli narrative that was disseminated over the years, responsibility for the exodus from Israel rests with Arab politicians who encouraged the population to leave. However, according to the document, 70 percent of the Arabs left as a result of Jewish military operations.

    Palestinian children awaiting distribution of milk by UNICEF at the Nazareth Franciscan Sisters’ convent, on January 1, 1950. AW / UN Photo

    The unnamed author of the text ranks the reasons for the Arabs’ departure in order of importance. The first reason: “Direct Jewish acts of hostility against Arab places of settlement.” The second reason was the impact of those actions on neighboring villages. Third in importance came “operations by the breakaways,” namely the Irgun and Lehi undergrounds. The fourth reason for the Arab exodus was orders issued by Arab institutions and “gangs” (as the document refers to all Arab fighting groups); fifth was “Jewish ’whispering operations’ to induce the Arab inhabitants to flee”; and the sixth factor was “evacuation ultimatums.”

    The author asserts that, “without a doubt, the hostile operations were the main cause of the movement of the population.” In addition, “Loudspeakers in the Arabic language proved their effectiveness on the occasions when they were utilized properly.” As for Irgun and Lehi operations, the report observes that “many in the villages of central Galilee started to flee following the abduction of the notables of Sheikh Muwannis [a village north of Tel Aviv]. The Arab learned that it is not enough to forge an agreement with the Haganah and that there are other Jews [i.e., the breakaway militias] to beware of.”

    The author notes that ultimatums to leave were especially employed in central Galilee, less so in the Mount Gilboa region. “Naturally, the act of this ultimatum, like the effect of the ’friendly advice,’ came after a certain preparing of the ground by means of hostile actions in the area.”
    An appendix to the document describes the specific causes of the exodus from each of scores of Arab locales: Ein Zeitun – “our destruction of the village”; Qeitiya – “harassment, threat of action”; Almaniya – “our action, many killed”; Tira – “friendly Jewish advice”; Al’Amarir – “after robbery and murder carried out by the breakaways”; Sumsum – “our ultimatum”; Bir Salim – “attack on the orphanage”; and Zarnuga – “conquest and expulsion.”

    Short fuse
    In the early 2000s, the Yitzhak Rabin Center conducted a series of interviews with former public and military figures as part of a project to document their activity in the service of the state. The long arm of Malmab seized on these interviews, too. Haaretz, which obtained the original texts of several of the interviews, compared them to the versions that are now available to the public, after large swaths of them were declared classified.

    These included, for example, sections of the testimony of Brig. Gen. (res.) Aryeh Shalev about the expulsion across the border of the residents of a village he called “Sabra.” Later in the interview, the following sentences were deleted: “There was a very serious problem in the valley. There were refugees who wanted to return to the valley, to the Triangle [a concentration of Arab towns and villages in eastern Israel]. We expelled them. I met with them to persuade them not to want that. I have papers about it.”

    In another case, Malmab decided to conceal the following segment from an interview that historian Boaz Lev Tov conducted with Maj. Gen. (res.) Elad Peled:
    Lev Tov: “We’re talking about a population – women and children?”
    Peled: “All, all. Yes.”
    Lev Tov: “Don’t you distinguish between them?”
    Peled: “The problem is very simple. The war is between two populations. They come out of their home.”
    Lev Tov: “If the home exists, they have somewhere to return to?”
    Peled: “It’s not armies yet, it’s gangs. We’re also actually gangs. We come out of the house and return to the house. They come out of the house and return to the house. It’s either their house or our house.”
    Lev Tov: “Qualms belong to the more recent generation?”
    Peled: “Yes, today. When I sit in an armchair here and think about what happened, all kinds of thoughts come to mind.”
    Lev Tov: “Wasn’t that the case then?”
    Peled: “Look, let me tell you something even less nice and cruel, about the big raid in Sasa [Palestinian village in Upper Galilee]. The goal was actually to deter them, to tell them, ‘Dear friends, the Palmach [the Haganah “shock troops”] can reach every place, you are not immune.’ That was the heart of the Arab settlement. But what did we do? My platoon blew up 20 homes with everything that was there.”
    Lev Tov: “While people were sleeping there?”
    Peled: “I suppose so. What happened there, we came, we entered the village, planted a bomb next to every house, and afterward Homesh blew on a trumpet, because we didn’t have radios, and that was the signal [for our forces] to leave. We’re running in reverse, the sappers stay, they pull, it’s all primitive. They light the fuse or pull the detonator and all those houses are gone.”

    IDF soldiers guarding Palestinians in Ramle, in 1948. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    Another passage that the Defense Ministry wanted to keep from the public came from Dr. Lev Tov’s conversation with Maj. Gen. Avraham Tamir:
    Tamir: “I was under Chera [Maj. Gen. Tzvi Tzur, later IDF chief of staff], and I had excellent working relations with him. He gave me freedom of action – don’t ask – and I happened to be in charge of staff and operations work during two developments deriving from [Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion’s policy. One development was when reports arrived about marches of refugees from Jordan toward the abandoned villages [in Israel]. And then Ben-Gurion lays down as policy that we have to demolish [the villages] so they won’t have anywhere to return to. That is, all the Arab villages, most of which were in [the area covered by] Central Command, most of them.”
    Lev Tov: “The ones that were still standing?”
    Tamir: “The ones that weren’t yet inhabited by Israelis. There were places where we had already settled Israelis, like Zakariyya and others. But most of them were still abandoned villages.”
    Lev Tov: “That were standing?”
    Tamir: “Standing. It was necessary for there to be no place for them to return to, so I mobilized all the engineering battalions of Central Command, and within 48 hours I knocked all those villages to the ground. Period. There’s no place to return to.”
    Lev Tov: “Without hesitation, I imagine.”
    Tamir: “Without hesitation. That was the policy. I mobilized, I carried it out and I did it.”

    Crates in vaults
    The vault of the Yad Yaari Research and Documentation Center is one floor below ground level. In the vault, which is actually a small, well-secured room, are stacks of crates containing classified documents. The archive houses the materials of the Hashomer Hatzair movement, the Kibbutz Ha’artzi kibbutz movement, Mapam, Meretz and other bodies, such as Peace Now.
    The archive’s director is Dudu Amitai, who is also chairman of the Association of Israel Archivists. According to Amitai, Malmab personnel visited the archive regularly between 2009 and 2011. Staff of the archive relate that security department teams – two Defense Ministry retirees with no archival training – would show up two or three times a week. They searched for documents according to such keywords as “nuclear,” “security” and “censorship,” and also devoted considerable time to the War of Independence and the fate of the pre-1948 Arab villages.
    “In the end, they submitted a summary to us, saying that they had located a few dozen sensitive documents,” Amitai says. “We don’t usually take apart files, so dozens of files, in their entirety, found their way into our vault and were removed from the public catalog.” A file might contain more than 100 documents.
    One of the files that was sealed deals with the military government that controlled the lives of Israel’s Arab citizens from 1948 until 1966. For years, the documents were stored in the same vault, inaccessible to scholars. Recently, in the wake of a request by Prof. Gadi Algazi, a historian from Tel Aviv University, Amitai examined the file himself and ruled that there was no reason not to unseal it, Malmab’s opinion notwithstanding.

    According to Algazi, there could be several reasons for Malmab’s decision to keep the file classified. One of them has to do with a secret annex it contains to a report by a committee that examined the operation of the military government. The report deals almost entirely with land-ownership battles between the state and Arab citizens, and barely touches on security matters.

    Another possibility is a 1958 report by the ministerial committee that oversaw the military government. In one of the report’s secret appendixes, Col. Mishael Shaham, a senior officer in the military government, explains that one reason for not dismantling the martial law apparatus is the need to restrict Arab citizens’ access to the labor market and to prevent the reestablishment of destroyed villages.
    A third possible explanation for hiding the file concerns previously unpublished historical testimony about the expulsion of Bedouin. On the eve of Israel’s establishment, nearly 100,000 Bedouin lived in the Negev. Three years later, their number was down to 13,000. In the years during and after the independence war, a number of expulsion operations were carried out in the country’s south. In one case, United Nations observers reported that Israel had expelled 400 Bedouin from the Azazma tribe and cited testimonies of tents being burned. The letter that appears in the classified file describes a similar expulsion carried out as late as 1956, as related by geologist Avraham Parnes:

    The evacuation of Iraq al-Manshiyya, near today’s Kiryat Gat, in March, 1949. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    “A month ago we toured Ramon [crater]. The Bedouin in the Mohila area came to us with their flocks and their families and asked us to break bread with them. I replied that we had a great deal of work to do and didn’t have time. In our visit this week, we headed toward Mohila again. Instead of the Bedouin and their flocks, there was deathly silence. Scores of camel carcasses were scattered in the area. We learned that three days earlier the IDF had ‘screwed’ the Bedouin, and their flocks were destroyed – the camels by shooting, the sheep with grenades. One of the Bedouin, who started to complain, was killed, the rest fled.”

    The testimony continued, “Two weeks earlier, they’d been ordered to stay where they were for the time being, afterward they were ordered to leave, and to speed things up 500 head were slaughtered.... The expulsion was executed ‘efficiently.’” The letter goes on to quote what one of the soldiers said to Parnes, according to his testimony: “They won’t go unless we’ve screwed their flocks. A young girl of about 16 approached us. She had a beaded necklace of brass snakes. We tore the necklace and each of us took a bead for a souvenir.”

    The letter was originally sent to MK Yaakov Uri, from Mapai (forerunner of Labor), who passed it on to Development Minister Mordechai Bentov (Mapam). “His letter shocked me,” Uri wrote Bentov. The latter circulated the letter among all the cabinet ministers, writing, “It is my opinion that the government cannot simply ignore the facts related in the letter.” Bentov added that, in light of the appalling contents of the letter, he asked security experts to check its credibility. They had confirmed that the contents “do in fact generally conform to the truth.”

    Nuclear excuse
    It was during the tenure of historian Tuvia Friling as Israel’s chief archivist, from 2001 to 2004, that Malmab carried out its first archival incursions. What began as an operation to prevent the leakage of nuclear secrets, he says, became, in time, a large-scale censorship project.
    “I resigned after three years, and that was one of the reasons,” Prof. Friling says. “The classification placed on the document about the Arabs’ emigration in 1948 is precisely an example of what I was apprehensive about. The storage and archival system is not an arm of the state’s public relations. If there’s something you don’t like – well, that’s life. A healthy society also learns from its mistakes.”

    Why did Friling allow the Defense Ministry to have access the archives? The reason, he says, was the intention to give the public access to archival material via the internet. In discussions about the implications of digitizing the material, concern was expressed that references in the documents to a “certain topic” would be made public by mistake. The topic, of course, is Israel’s nuclear project. Friling insists that the only authorization Malmab received was to search for documents on that subject.

    But Malmab’s activity is only one example of a broader problem, Friling notes: “In 1998, the confidentiality of the [oldest documents in the] Shin Bet and Mossad archives expired. For years those two institutions disdained the chief archivist. When I took over, they requested that the confidentiality of all the material be extended [from 50] to 70 years, which is ridiculous – most of the material can be opened.”

    In 2010, the confidentiality period was extended to 70 years; last February it was extended again, to 90 years, despite the opposition of the Supreme Council of Archives. “The state may impose confidentiality on some of its documentation,” Friling says. “The question is whether the issue of security doesn’t act as a kind of cover. In many cases, it’s already become a joke.”
    In the view of Yad Yaari’s Dudu Amitai, the confidentiality imposed by the Defense Ministry must be challenged. In his period at the helm, he says, one of the documents placed in the vault was an order issued by an IDF general, during a truce in the War of Independence, for his troops to refrain from rape and looting. Amitai now intends to go over the documents that were deposited in the vault, especially 1948 documents, and open whatever is possible. “We’ll do it cautiously and responsibly, but recognizing that the State of Israel has to learn how to cope with the less pleasant aspects of its history.”
    In contrast to Yad Yaari, where ministry personnel no longer visit, they are continuing to peruse documents at Yad Tabenkin, the research and documentation center of the United Kibbutz Movement. The director, Aharon Azati, reached an agreement with the Malmab teams under which documents will be transferred to the vault only if he is convinced that this is justified. But in Yad Tabenkin, too, Malmab has broadened its searches beyond the realm of nuclear project to encompass interviews conducted by archival staff with former members of the Palmach, and has even perused material about the history of the settlements in the occupied territories.

    Malmab has, for example, shown interest in the Hebrew-language book “A Decade of Discretion: Settlement Policy in the Territories 1967-1977,” published by Yad Tabenkin in 1992, and written by Yehiel Admoni, director of the Jewish Agency’s Settlement Department during the decade he writes about. The book mentions a plan to settle Palestinian refugees in the Jordan Valley and to the uprooting of 1,540 Bedouin families from the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip in 1972, including an operation that included the sealing of wells by the IDF. Ironically, in the case of the Bedouin, Admoni quotes former Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira as saying, “It is not necessary to stretch the security rationale too far. The whole Bedouin episode is not a glorious chapter of the State of Israel.”

    Palestinian refugees leaving their village, unknown location, 1948. UNRWA

    According to Azati, “We are moving increasingly to a tightening of the ranks. Although this is an era of openness and transparency, there are apparently forces that are pulling in the opposite direction.”
    Unauthorized secrecy
    About a year ago, the legal adviser to the State Archives, attorney Naomi Aldouby, wrote an opinion titled “Files Closed Without Authorization in Public Archives.” According to her, the accessibility policy of public archives is the exclusive purview of the director of each institution.
    Despite Aldouby’s opinion, however, in the vast majority of cases, archivists who encountered unreasonable decisions by Malmab did not raise objections – that is, until 2014, when Defense Ministry personnel arrived at the archive of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. To the visitors’ surprise, their request to examine the archive – which contains collections of former minister and diplomat Abba Eban and Maj. Gen. (res.) Shlomo Gazit – was turned down by its then director, Menahem Blondheim.

    According to Blondheim, “I told them that the documents in question were decades old, and that I could not imagine that there was any security problem that would warrant restricting their access to researchers. In response, they said, ‘And let’s say there is testimony here that wells were poisoned in the War of Independence?’ I replied, ‘Fine, those people should be brought to trial.’”
    Blondheim’s refusal led to a meeting with a more senior ministry official, only this time the attitude he encountered was different and explicit threats were made. Finally the two sides reached an accommodation.
    Benny Morris is not surprised at Malmab’s activity. “I knew about it,” he says “Not officially, no one informed me, but I encountered it when I discovered that documents I had seen in the past are now sealed. There were documents from the IDF Archive that I used for an article about Deir Yassin, and which are now sealed. When I came to the archive, I was no longer allowed to see the original, so I pointed out in a footnote [in the article] that the State Archive had denied access to documents that I had published 15 years earlier.”
    The Malmab case is only one example of the battle being waged for access to archives in Israel. According to the executive director of the Akevot Institute, Lior Yavne, “The IDF Archive, which is the largest archive in Israel, is sealed almost hermetically. About 1 percent of the material is open. The Shin Bet archive, which contains materials of immense importance [to scholars], is totally closed apart from a handful of documents.”

    A report written by Yaacov Lozowick, the previous chief archivist at the State Archives, upon his retirement, refers to the defense establishment’s grip on the country’s archival materials. In it, he writes, “A democracy must not conceal information because it is liable to embarrass the state. In practice, the security establishment in Israel, and to a certain extent that of foreign relations as well, are interfering with the [public] discussion.”

    Advocates of concealment put forward several arguments, Lozowick notes: “The uncovering of the facts could provide our enemies with a battering ram against us and weaken the determination of our friends; it’s liable to stir up the Arab population; it could enfeeble the state’s arguments in courts of law; and what is revealed could be interpreted as Israeli war crimes.” However, he says, “All these arguments must be rejected. This is an attempt to hide part of the historical truth in order to construct a more convenient version.”

    What Malmab says
    Yehiel Horev was the keeper of the security establishment’s secrets for more than two decades. He headed the Defense Ministry’s security department from 1986 until 2007 and naturally kept out of the limelight. To his credit, he now agreed to talk forthrightly to Haaretz about the archives project.
    “I don’t remember when it began,” Horev says, “but I do know that I started it. If I’m not mistaken, it started when people wanted to publish documents from the archives. We had to set up teams to examine all outgoing material.”
    From conversations with archive directors, it’s clear that a good deal of the documents on which confidentiality was imposed relate to the War of Independence. Is concealing the events of 1948 part of the purpose of Malmab?

    Palestinian refugees in the Ramle area, 1948. Boris Carmi / The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    “What does ‘part of the purpose’ mean? The subject is examined based on an approach of whether it could harm Israel’s foreign relations and the defense establishment. Those are the criteria. I think it’s still relevant. There has not been peace since 1948. I may be wrong, but to the best of my knowledge the Arab-Israeli conflict has not been resolved. So yes, it could be that problematic subjects remain.”

    Asked in what way such documents might be problematic, Horev speaks of the possibility of agitation among the country’s Arab citizens. From his point of view, every document must be perused and every case decided on its merits.

    If the events of 1948 weren’t known, we could argue about whether this approach is the right one. That is not the case. Many testimonies and studies have appeared about the history of the refugee problem. What’s the point of hiding things?
    “The question is whether it can do harm or not. It’s a very sensitive matter. Not everything has been published about the refugee issue, and there are all kinds of narratives. Some say there was no flight at all, only expulsion. Others say there was flight. It’s not black-and-white. There’s a difference between flight and those who say they were forcibly expelled. It’s a different picture. I can’t say now if it merits total confidentiality, but it’s a subject that definitely has to be discussed before a decision is made about what to publish.”

    For years, the Defense Ministry has imposed confidentiality on a detailed document that describes the reasons for the departure of those who became refugees. Benny Morris has already written about the document, so what’s the logic of keeping it hidden?
    “I don’t remember the document you’re referring to, but if he quoted from it and the document itself is not there [i.e., where Morris says it is], then his facts aren’t strong. If he says, ‘Yes, I have the document,’ I can’t argue with that. But if he says that it’s written there, that could be right and it could be wrong. If the document were already outside and were sealed in the archive, I would say that that’s folly. But if someone quoted from it – there’s a difference of day and night in terms of the validity of the evidence he cited.”

    In this case, we’re talking about the most quoted scholar when it comes to the Palestinian refugees.
    “The fact that you say ‘scholar’ makes no impression on me. I know people in academia who spout nonsense about subjects that I know from A to Z. When the state imposes confidentiality, the published work is weakened, because he doesn’t have the document.”

    But isn’t concealing documents based on footnotes in books an attempt to lock the barn door after the horses have bolted?
    “I gave you an example that this needn’t be the case. If someone writes that the horse is black, if the horse isn’t outside the barn, you can’t prove that it’s really black.”

    There are legal opinions stating that Malmab’s activity in the archives is illegal and unauthorized.
    “If I know that an archive contains classified material, I am empowered to tell the police to go there and confiscate the material. I can also utilize the courts. I don’t need the archivist’s authorization. If there is classified material, I have the authority to act. Look, there’s policy. Documents aren’t sealed for no reason. And despite it all, I won’t say to you that everything that’s sealed is 100 percent justified [in being sealed].”

    The Defense Ministry refused to respond to specific questions regarding the findings of this investigative report and made do with the following response: “The director of security of the defense establishment operates by virtue of his responsibility to protect the state’s secrets and its security assets. The Malmab does not provide details about its mode of activity or its missions.”

    Lee Rotbart assisted in providing visual research for this article.


  • Ce que les combattants juifs de 1948 disent sur la Nakba | Middle East Eye édition française

    Date de publication : Vendredi 1 juin 2018 - 14:57 | Dernière mise à jour : il y a 1 mois 2 semaines
    Si, officiellement, Israéliens et Palestiniens s’écharpent au sujet des événements de 1948 qui ont conduit 805 000 Arabes à l’exil forcé, en pratique, des combattants juifs ont très tôt témoigné des crimes dont ils ont pu être complices, voire auteurs.

    Pour les Israéliens, 1948 incarne l’heure de gloire du projet sioniste, le moment où les juifs reviennent dans les pages de l’Histoire comme des acteurs de leur destin et, surtout, parviennent à réaliser l’utopie émise 50 ans plus tôt par Theodor Herzl : l’édification, en Palestine, d’un État refuge pour le « peuple juif ».

    Pour les Palestiniens, 1948 symbolise l’avènement du processus colonial qui les a dépossédés de leur terre et de leur droit à la souveraineté, leur « Nakba » (catastrophe).
    Les premières voix dissonantes

    Par différents biais, certains Israéliens ont, dès le lendemain de 1948, témoigné des événements passés. Durant le conflit, certains cadres du mouvement sioniste interpellent la direction au sujet du traitement de la population arabe de Palestine, qu’ils jugent indigne des valeurs que les combattants juifs prétendent défendre. D’autres prennent des notes pour espérer témoigner dès que le feu aura cessé.

    Durant le conflit, certains cadres du mouvement sioniste interpellent la direction au sujet du traitement de la population arabe de Palestine, qu’ils jugent indigne des valeurs que les combattants juifs prétendent défendre

    Yosef Nahmani, officier supérieur de la Haganah, la force armée de l’Agence juive qui deviendra l’armée d’Israël, écrit ainsi dans son journal, en date du 6 novembre 1948 : « À Safsaf, après […] que les habitants eurent hissé le drapeau blanc, [les soldats] ont rassemblé les hommes et les femmes séparément, ligoté les mains de cinquante ou soixante villageois, et les ont abattus et tous enterrés dans une même fosse. Ils ont également violé plusieurs femmes du village. […] Où ont-ils appris un comportement aussi cruel, pareil à celui des nazis ? […] Un officier m’a raconté que les plus acharnés étaient ceux qui venaient des camps. »

    En réalité, dès que la guerre prend fin, le récit du vainqueur s’impose et la société civile israélienne fait face à de nombreux autres défis, bien plus urgents que le sort des réfugiés palestiniens. Ceux qui souhaitent témoigner le font par la fiction et la littérature.

    L’écrivain et homme politique israélien Yizhar Smilansky publie ainsi dès 1949 Khirbet Khizeh, où il évoque l’expulsion d’un village arabe éponyme. Pour l’auteur, nul besoin d’avoir de remords sur cette part de l’histoire, ce « sale boulot » était nécessaire pour bâtir le projet sioniste. Son témoignage reflète une sorte d’expiation des péchés : reconnaître ses torts et les dévoiler pour se libérer d’un poids.

    Devenu un best-seller, le roman est adapté en téléfilm en 1977 mais sa diffusion suscite de vifs débats car il remet en cause la version israélienne d’un peuple palestinien parti volontairement de ses terres pour ne pas vivre aux côtés des juifs.
    Photo extraite du film tiré du roman Khirbet Khizeh montrant une brigade de combattants juifs pendant la Nakba (Wikipedia)

    D’autres ouvrages sont publiés, mais peu font autant preuve de réalisme que la trilogie de Netiva Ben-Yehuda, publiée en 1984, dont le titre traduit de l’hébreu est « Le chemin des liens : roman sur trois mois en 1948 ». Commandante du Palmah, l’unité d’élite de la Haganah, elle évoque les exactions et les humiliations commises sur la population arabe et livre des éléments sur le massacre d’Ein Zeintoun, qui eut lieu autour du 1er mai 1948.
    La focalisation sur Deir Yassin

    Le 4 avril 1972, le colonel Meir Pilavski, membre du Palmah, se confie dans les colonnes de Yediot Aharonot, l’un des trois plus grands quotidiens israéliens, sur le massacre de Deir Yassin, qui eut lieu le 9 avril et où près de 120 civils perdirent la vie. Il affirme que ses hommes étaient à proximité des événements mais qu’il leur fut conseillé de se retirer lorsqu’ils comprirent que les miliciens de l’Irgoun et du Stern, des groupes d’ultras qui avaient fait scission de la Haganah, étaient à la manœuvre.

    Les débats vont se focaliser autour des événements de Deir Yassin, au point d’oublier les près de 70 autres tueries de civils arabes. L’enjeu est important pour la gauche sioniste : placer la responsabilité des massacres sur des groupes d’ultras

    Dès lors, les débats vont se focaliser autour des événements de Deir Yassin, au point d’oublier les près de 70 autres tueries de civils arabes. L’enjeu est important pour la gauche sioniste : placer la responsabilité des massacres sur des groupes d’ultras.

    En 1987, lorsque paraissent les premiers ouvrages des « nouveaux historiens » israéliens tels qu’Ilan Pappé, une partie considérable des bataillons juifs de 1948 sont mis en cause. Pour celles et ceux qui s’étaient tus durant les dernières décennies, il est temps de parler publiquement.

    Une partie de la société israélienne semble également prête à entendre. Dans un contexte de première Intifada palestinienne et de négociations pré-Oslo, les milieux pacifistes entendent interroger leur société sur leur rapport à l’Autre et à l’histoire nationale.

    Ces espaces d’échanges se referment brutalement avec le déclenchement de la seconde Intifada, plus militarisée et qui s’inscrit dans un contexte d’échec des pourparlers de camp David et de rupture des négociations israélo-palestiniennes. L’affaire Teddy Katz incarne ce changement de contexte.
    L’« affaire » Teddy Katz

    Kibboutznik de 60 ans, Teddy Katz décide en 1985 de reprendre ses études et s’inscrit dans un parcours de recherche historique sous la direction d’Ilan Pappé, à l’université d’Haïfa. Il souhaite éclairer les événements qui se sont déroulés dans cinq villages palestiniens, dépeuplés en 1948. Il compile 135 entretiens de combattants juifs, dont 65 qui se concentrent sur la tragédie qui aurait eu lieu dans le village de Tantoura, vidé de ses 1 200 habitants le 23 mai 1948 par un bataillon du Palmah.

    Après deux ans de recherche, Katz affirme dans ses travaux qu’entre 85 et 110 hommes ont été froidement abattus sur la plage de Tantoura, après avoir creusé leurs propres tombes. La tuerie se poursuit ensuite dans le village, maison par maison. Une chasse à l’homme se joue également dans les rues. Le massacre cesse avec l’intervention d’habitants juifs du village voisin de Zikhron Yaakov. Au final, plus de 230 personnes sont assassinées.

    En janvier 2000, un journaliste de Maariv décide de retourner voir certains des témoins que mentionne Katz. Le principal témoin, Bentzion Fridan, commandant du bataillon du Palmah qui a opéré à Tantoura, nie tout en bloc et, avec d’autres gradés, porte plainte contre Katz. Celui-ci doit faire face à une dizaine d’avocats décidés à défendre l’honneur des « héros » de la nation.

    […] la version palestinienne de 1948 n’intéresse plus les pacifistes israéliens, trop occupés pour la plupart à rentrer dans le rang pour ne pas subir la condamnation d’une société refermée sur elle-même

    Sous la pression médiatique – qui parle de lui comme d’un « collabo » qui relaie la version de l’ennemi – et judiciaire, il accepte de signer un document reconnaissant avoir falsifié les témoignages. Bien qu’il décide quelques heures plus tard de se rétracter et qu’une commission universitaire ait plaidé en sa faveur, la procédure judiciaire se termine.

    Entre l’effondrement d’Oslo, le retour au pouvoir du Likoud, l’échec des négociations de Camp David et de Taba, la seconde Intifada et les attentats kamikazes, la version palestinienne de 1948 n’intéresse plus les pacifistes israéliens, trop occupés pour la plupart à rentrer dans le rang pour ne pas subir la condamnation d’une société refermée sur elle-même.
    Témoigner pour la postérité

    En 2005, le réalisateur Eyal Sivan et l’ONG israélienne Zochrot développent le projet Towards a Common Archive visant à collecter les témoignages de combattants juifs de 1948. Près d’une trentaine acceptent de témoigner, sans tabou ou presque, sur ce qu’ils ont fait et vu durant cette période riche en événements et où les récits s’affrontent.

    Pourquoi des combattants acceptent-ils de témoigner quelques années plus tard ? Pour Pappé, directeur scientifique du projet, il y a trois raisons. Premièrement, la plupart arrivent à la fin de leur vie et ne craignent donc plus de parler.

    Deuxièmement, ces ex-combattants considèrent qu’ils se sont battus pour un idéal qu’ils voient se détériorer avec la montée en Israël des milieux religieux, de l’extrême droite et du choc néolibéral imposé par Netanyahou durant ses mandats successifs. Troisièmement, ils sont persuadés que tôt ou tard, les jeunes générations apprendront l’origine des réfugiés palestiniens et ils pensent que la transmission de cette histoire gênante fait partie de leur responsabilité.

    Les témoignages de ces combattants ne sont pas homogènes. Certains se livrent explicitement quand d’autres ne souhaitent pas aborder certains sujets. Néanmoins, si tous se rejoignent sur la nécessité, en 1948, d’expulser les populations arabes pour bâtir l’État d’Israël, leurs avis s’opposent parfois sur l’utilité des tirs sur les civils.

    Tous affirment avoir reçu des ordres précis concernant la destruction des maisons arabes pour empêcher toute volonté de retour des populations exilées.

    Le « nettoyage » des villages se faisaient méthodiquement : à l’approche du lieu, les soldats tiraient ou envoyaient des grenades pour effrayer la population. Dans la majeure partie des cas, ces actes suffisaient à faire fuir les habitants. Parfois, il fallait faire sauter une ou deux maisons à l’entrée du village pour contraindre les quelques récalcitrants à fuir.

    Concernant les massacres, pour certains, ces actes faisaient partie des opérations de « nettoyage » puisque la direction du mouvement sioniste les avait autorisés, dans certains cas, à franchir cette ligne. La « ligne », justement, était franchie systématiquement lorsque la population refusait de partir, voire se retranchait pour résister et combattre.

    Plus de 60 ans après ces événements, les combattants n’expriment pas ou peu de regrets. Il fallait, selon eux, libérer l’espace du territoire promis par l’ONU pour y fonder l’État juif et faire disparaître les Arabes du paysage

    À Lod, plus d’une centaine d’habitants se réfugièrent ainsi dans la mosquée, croyant les rumeurs selon lesquelles les combattants juifs n’attaquaient pas les lieux de culte. Un tir de lance-roquettes eut raison de leur refuge, qui s’écroula sur eux. Les corps furent ensuite brûlés.

    Pour d’autres, les dirigeants Yigal Allon, chef du Palmah, et David Ben Gourion, chef de l’Agence juive, se seraient opposés aux tirs sur les civils, donnant l’ordre de les laisser partir puis de détruire les maisons.

    Les combattants témoignent également d’une attitude contrastée des Palestiniens. Dans la majeure partie des cas, ils semblaient « effrayés » et complètement perdus par les événements, accélérant le flot de réfugiés. Certains Arabes suppliaient les soldats de ne pas leur faire « comme à Deir Yassin », selon ces témoignages.

    D’autres semblaient convaincus de pouvoir revenir chez eux à la fin des combats, si bien qu’un témoin affirme que des habitants du village de Bayt Naqquba laissèrent à leurs voisins juifs du kibboutz de Kiryat-Avanim, avec qui les relations étaient bonnes, la clé de leurs maisons pour qu’ils puissent veiller à ce que rien n’y soit pillé.

    Ces bonnes relations judéo-arabes reviennent régulièrement, et rares sont les témoins qui parlent de mauvaise entente avant le début de la guerre. Lors d’une expulsion autour de Beersheba, des paysans palestiniens vinrent demander de l’aide aux habitants du kibboutz voisin, qui n’hésitèrent pas à intervenir et à dénoncer les actes des soldats sionistes.

    Plus de 60 ans après ces événements, les combattants n’expriment pas ou peu de regrets. Il fallait, selon eux, libérer l’espace du territoire promis par l’ONU pour y fonder l’État juif et faire disparaître les Arabes du paysage.

    Les opinions exprimées dans cet article n’engagent que leur auteur et ne reflètent pas nécessairement la politique éditoriale de Middle East Eye.

    #Palestine #histoire

    • «  »" En réalité, dès que la guerre prend fin, le récit du vainqueur s’impose et la société civile israélienne fait face à de nombreux autres défis, bien plus urgents que le sort des réfugiés palestiniens. Ceux qui souhaitent témoigner le font par la fiction et la littérature.""" = tant que les réfugiés restent vivants : une fois morts ils sont oubliés !

      «  »" les pacifistes israéliens, trop occupés pour la plupart à rentrer dans le rang pour ne pas subir la condamnation d’une société refermée sur elle-même «  »" = une autre manière de rester dans la victimisation !

      Il paraît que l’humanité va atteindre les 10 milliards d’humains vivants et qu’il n’y a pas de place pour tous : les nettoyages ethniques pour l’éthique peuvent commencer ; non ? à moins que ça ne court-circuite des commerces ...

  • Does Being ’Zionist Feminist’ Mean Betraying Women for Israel? - Tikun Olam תיקון עולם

    Rasmea Odeh participates in Detroit Black Lives Matter rally

    March 16, 2017 by Richard Silverstein Leave a Comment

    Yesterday, I wrote a critique of Emily Shire’s diatribe against the Women’s Strike Day USA protest. She especially singled out platform statements supporting Palestinian rights. Shire, a professed Zionist feminist, dismissed the criticisms of Israeli Occupation contained in the event platform as irrelevant to the issue of women’s rights. Then she launched into an attack on one of the conveners of the Strike Day, Rasmea Odeh. Shire alleges that Odeh is a convicted terrorist and former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S. designated terror group.

    A comment Deir Yassin published yesterday here got me to thinking further about this issue. I researched Rasmea’s case and the torture she endured. My view is this is precisely the sort of case and individual any women’s movement should embrace. Here is a summary of the facts of the case. In 1969, a cell of the PFLP planted bombs at a Jerusalem Super-Sol. They exploded, killing two Hebrew University students.
    shin bet torture

    Afterward, security forces arrested Odeh and jailed her without charges or access to counsel. She was tortured, by her account, for 45 days. Here is how she described her treatment in testimony to a UN commission on torture in Geneva:

    …”They beat me with sticks, plastic sticks, and with a metal bar. They beat me on the head and I fainted as a result of these beatings. They woke me up several times by throwing cold water in my face and then started all over again.”

    In addition to this physical torture, Odeh also faced sexual torture. Her father, a U.S. citizen, was also arrested and beaten, “and once they brought in my father and tried to force him under blows to take off his clothes and have sexual relations with me.” Later, interrogators “tore my clothes off me while my hands were still tied behind my back. They threw me to the ground completely naked and the room was full of a dozen or so interrogators and soldiers who looked at me and laughed sarcastically as if they were looking at a comedy or a film. Obviously they started touching my body.” In her father’s presence, interrogators threatened to “violate me” and “tried to introduce a stick to break my maidenhead [hymen].” Shackled naked from the ceiling, interrogators “tied my legs, which were spread-eagled, and they started to beat me with their hands and also with cudgels.”

    Every method described in her account is known from previous descriptions of the treatment of Arab terror suspects. We know, for example, that Doron Zahavi, an IDF AMAN officer, raped Mustafa Dirani in Prison 504. The beatings and positions she describes are also previously described in testimony by the Public Committee to Prevent Torture in Israel. Therefore, it’s not just conceivable that Rasmea endured the treatment she claims, it’s almost a certainty. Especially given that two Israelis were killed in the bombing.

    In summary, the Shin Bet tried to force her father to rape her. The interrogators themselves raped her and further degraded her sexually. And her father was tortured as a means of compelling her to confess. If this isn’t a perfect portrait of a cause that all feminists should embrace, I don’t know what is. So when Shire claims that Palestine is the farthest thing from what Women’s Strike Day’s mission should be, she’s engaging in willful blindness to the plight of another woman. A woman who happens to be Palestinian.

    Rasmea was tried and convicted in an Israeli military court, which features military judges and prosecutors using rules that favor the prosecution and shackle the hands of the defense. It can rule any evidence secret and so prevent the defense from seeing it, let alone rebutting it. Such a conviction could never withstand scrutiny under U.S. criminal procedures or even Israeli civilian courts.

    Further, Shire justifies her denunciation of Odeh by noting that Israel denies torturing Rasmea. So you have an Israeli security apparatus which is well-known for lying when evidence against it is damning. And you have Rasmea’s testimony, supported by scores of accounts by other security prisoners as to their treatment under similar circumstances. It reminds me of the story of the husband who returns home to find his wife in bed with another man. The man jumps out of bed and says: “Hey, this isn’t what this looks like. Nothing happened. I swear it. Who are you going to believe? Me, or your lyin’ eyes?” Emily Shire prefers to believe the agency that lies to her with a straight face. In doing so, she shows that she is a Zionist first and foremost; and a feminist second, if at all.

    As for the citizenship application infractions which the Justice Department is exploiting in order to expel her from the U.S.: she had been tortured once by Israel. Her decision to hide her previous conviction was surely founded on a fear that she might be deported once again back to Israel or Jordan (where Israel had sent her after her release from prison). The Jordanian security apparatus collaborates closely with Israeli intelligence. The former is quite handy with torture itself. Further, the U.S. judge in her first trial prohibited her attorney from raising torture as part of her defense. Her second trial will explicitly permit such testimony. Though I’m not privy to the defense strategy, I hope it will demand that a Shabak officer who participated in her interrogation testify at trial. And if his testimony diverges from the truth, I hope there is means to document this and hold him accountable. It would be one of the first times such an agent would be held accountable legally either inside or outside Israel.

    In the attacks against Rasmea, it’s certainly reasonable to bring up her participation in an act of terrorism: as long as you also examine the entire case against her. She admitted participation in the attack. But she denied placing the bomb in the supermarket. Despite her denial, this was the crime for which she was convicted. Further, Rasmea was released after serving ten years as part of a prisoner exchange. If Israel saw fit to release her, what is the point of using her alleged past crime against her today?

    As for her membership in a terror organization, she has long since left the militant movement. Her civic activism is solely non-violent these days. Further, virtually every leader of Israel for the first few decades of its existence either participated directly in, or ordered acts of terror against either British or Palestinian targets. Why do we grant to Israel what we deny to Palestinians?

    It may be no accident that two days before Shire’s broadside against the U.S. feminist movement (and Rasmea) in the NY Times, the Chicago Tribune published another hit-piece against her. The latter was credited to a retired Chicago professor. Her bio neglected to mention that she is also a Breitbart contributor who is the local coördinator for StandWithUs. This sin of omission attests either to editorial slacking or a deliberate attempt to conceal relevant biographical details which would permit readers to judge the content of the op-ed in proper context.

    The Tribune op-ed denounces Jewish Voice for Peace’s invitation to Rasmea to address its annual conference in Chicago later this month. As I wrote in last night’s post, what truly irks the Israel Lobby is the growing sense of solidarity among feminist, Jewish, Palestinian, Black and LGBT human rights organizations. Its response is to divide by sowing fear, doubt and lies in the media. The two op-eds in the Times and Tribute are stellar examples of the genre and indicate a coordinated campaign against what they deride as intersectionality.

    #Palestine #femmes #résistance #zionisme

  • Netanyahu likely to extend secrecy of some 1948 war documents 20 more years

    Defense establishment asked to lengthen classification period to 90 years, from 70, for material on Deir Yassin massacre, among other events

    Jonathan Lis and Ofer Aderet Oct 04, 2018

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to sign regulations extending the period of confidentiality for information in the defense archives from 70 years to 90 years. The Defense Ministry and other organization requested the extension to prevent the release this year of some materials relating to the period of the War of Independence in 1948.
    The extension is intended to prevent the exposure of intelligence sources and methods that are still in use today by security forces. The archives also include information that was received from foreign sources under the condition that it would not be released, say defense officials. The draft regulations state that even after 70 years have passed, exposure of some of the archival materials could harm national security. In 2010, Netanyahu extended the period of confidentiality for security archives from 50 years to 70 years.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    The legal adviser to the Israel State Archives, Naomi Aldubi, circulated a draft of the new regulations to the relevant government ministries Wednesday. The document states that the new regulations will apply to materials held by the Shin Bet security service, the Mossad and the archives of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, nuclear research centers and the Israel Institute for Biological Research. The new rules would also prevent the publication of raw intelligence from Military Intelligence as well as information concerning intelligence gathering for materials classified as secret and higher, along with materials concerning certain Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry units.
    The decision is expected to make life much more difficult for historians, other researchers and journalists and would also limit the public’s access to valuable historical information of public interest. For example, the new regulations would prevent the release of certain materials concerning the massacre at Deir Yassin in 1948.
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    In practice, the government will be able to prevent the release of any document related to the War of Independence that it wishes to keep secret. The new rules also contradict the recommendations of the supreme advisory council overseeing the Israel State Archives, which recommended extending the confidentiality of only some of the documents for five years.

    The Archives Law states that any person has the right to examine documents stored in the state archives, but also grants the government authority to restrict access according to the level of classification — for example, materials classified as “secret” — and according to the amount of time that has passed since the materials were created. This period ranges between 15 and 75 years, in accordance with the materials’ source and contents. For example, the classification period for the minutes of classified sessions of Knesset committees is limited to 20 years; for foreign policy documents the period is 25 years; for police archives, 30 years and for minutes of the security cabinet 50 years. Intelligence materials, including those of the Shin Bet, Mossad, Atomic Energy Commission and Biological Institute, remain classified for 70 years.
    Even after this period expires, the state archives and other archives, such as the IDF Archives, have not acted on their own initiative to release the materials. In practice, the end of the classification period alone is not sufficient for automatic declassification of the material. First, the chief archivist must examine the materials. After that, a special ministerial committee, headed by the justice minister, has the right to apply additional restrictions on access to them.
    The committee used its power to prohibit access to the so-called Riftin report on extrajudicial executions carried out by the Haganah pre-independence army. In 1998, half a century after the report was written, its confidentiality period expired, after which it should have been unsealed. In the 20 years that have passed since then, two state archivists requested, and received, extensions of the classification period from the ministerial committee.
    The draft proposal does stipulate that the relevant organizations must draw up new protocols that would enable the unsealing of classified materials after 50 years, on their own initiative. In addition, they would be instructed to conduct an annual review of their classified documents in order to determine whether they can be declassified.

  • 70 years since the Deir Yassin Massacre. On April 9, 1948, Zionist militias, Irgun and Lehi (a.k.a Stern Gang), attacked the village of Deir Yassin, killing over 100 people including women and children. Reports stated that the residents of the small village were mutilated, decapitated, disemboweled and raped.

    In an article published recently by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, hidden evidence and shocking new testimonies regarding the massacre have been released.

    Neta Shoshani, an Israeli filmmaker who has been researching the history of the massacre, entitled her most recent film “Born in Deir Yassin”. Shoshani interviewed and gathered testimonies from people who were present during the massacre, and evidence from Israeli archives that are hidden from the public.

    She showed the evidence to the Israeli Newspaper Haaretz. The film shows “A young fellow tied to a tree and set on fire. A woman and an old man shot in the back. Girls lined up against a wall and shot with a submachine gun.”

    Among those who testified was Yehuda Feder, former member of Lehi. “In the village I killed an armed Arab man and two Arab girls of 16 or 17. I stood them against a wall and blasted them with two rounds from the Tommy gun.” He told Shoshani, adding “We confiscated a lot of money and silver and gold jewelry fell into our hands.”

    Former Jerusalem commander of Lehi, Yehoshua Zettler, said “They took dead people, piled them up and burned them.”, and described the residents of the village saying “they ran like cats.” The attackers cut through the village using explosives, blowing up houses, and “within a few hours, half the village wasn’t there any more” said Zettler.

    Mordechai Gichon, before he died last year was a lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army; a Haganah intelligence officer at the time. He was sent to Deir Yassin after the massacre. “When the Cossacks burst into Jewish neighborhoods, then that should have looked something like this,” he said - comparing Deir Yassin to Jewish pogroms. “My impression was more of a massacre than anything else. If it is a matter of killing innocent civilians, then it can be called a massacre.” He told Shoshani.

    Yair Tsaban, a member of the Youth Brigades at the time, was sent to bury the corpses in fear of the Red Cross showing up “at any moment, and it was necessary to blur the traces [of the killings] because publication of pictures and testimonies about what had happened in the village would be very damaging to the image of our War of Independence.”
    Read more: Israeli historian uncovers hidden Palestinian history

    #DeirYassinMassacre #DeirYassin #Palestine

  • In Words and Deeds: The Genesis of Israeli #Violence

    Russian-born Menachem Begin was the leader of the Irgun which, along with the Stern Gang and other Jewish militants, massacred hundreds of civilians in Deir Yassin.

    ‘Tell the soldiers: you have made history in Israel with your attack and your conquest. Continue this until victory. As in Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy. God, God, Thou has chosen us for conquest," Begin wrote at the time. He described the massacre as a “splendid act of conquest.”

    The intrinsic link between words and actions remain unchanged.

    Nearly 30 years later, a once wanted terrorist, Begin became Prime Minister of Israel. He accelerated land theft of the newly-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, launched a war on Lebanon, annexed Occupied Jerusalem to Israel and carried out the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla in 1982.

    Some of the other terrorists-turned-politicians and top army brass include Begin, Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, Rafael Eitan and Yitzhak Shamir. Each one of these leaders has a record dotted with violence.

    Shamir served as the Prime Minister of Israel from 1986 – 1992. In 1941, Shamir was imprisoned by the British for his role in the Stern Gang. Later, as Prime Minister, he ordered a violent crackdown against a mostly non-violent Palestinian uprising in 1987, purposely breaking the limbs of kids accused of throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.

    So, when government ministers like Ariel and Bennett call for wanton violence against Palestinians, they are simply carrying on with a bloody legacy that has defined every single Israeli leader in the past. It is the violent mindset that continues to control the Israeli government and its relationship with Palestinians; in fact, with all of its neighbors.


  • Témoignages du massacre censuré de Deir Yassin : « Ils ont empilé les corps, et ils les ont brûlés »
    18 juillet | Ofer Aderet pour Haaretz |Traduction JPP pour l’AURDIP

    Un jeune garçon est attaché à un arbre et on y met le feu. Une femme et un vieil homme abattus dans le dos. Des filles sont alignées contre un mur et abattues à la mitraillette. Les témoignages recueillis par la cinéaste Neta Shoshani sur le massacre à Deir Yassin sont difficiles à traiter, même 70 ans après les faits.

    Depuis deux ans maintenant, un document dont la lecture est difficile est déposé aux archives de l’association pour commémorer l’héritage du Lehi – les combattants pour la liberté d’Israël, milice clandestine d’avant l’État. Il a été rédigé par un membre de la clandestinité il y a environ 70 ans. Le lire peut rouvrir une blessure saignante de l’époque de la Guerre d’indépendance qui, jusqu’à ce jour, suscite beaucoup d’émotion dans la société israélienne.

    « Vendredi dernier ensemble avec Etzel » - l’acronyme pour l’Organisation militaire nationale, connue aussi sous le nom d’Irgoun, autre milice clandestine antérieure à l’État, dirigée par Menachem Begin – « notre mouvement a mené une opération violente pour occuper le village arabe sur la route de Jérusalem à Tel Aviv : Deir Yassin. J’ai participé à cette opération de la façon la plus active », écrit Yehuda Feder, dont le nom de guerre au Lehi (connu aussi comme Groupe Stern) était « Giora ».

    Plus loin dans la lettre, il décrit en détail sa part dans le massacre qui a eu lieu ici. « C’était la première fois dans ma vie que par mes mains et sous mes yeux des Arabes tombaient. Dans le village, j’ai tué un Arabe armé et deux filles arabes de 16 ou 17 ans, venues aider l’Arabe qui avait été abattu. Je les ai placées contre un mur et je les ai mitraillées avec deux rafales de l’arme d’un Tommy », écrit-il, décrivant comment il a procédé à l’exécution des filles avec une mitraillette.

    Dans le même temps, il raconte le pillage avec ses copains dans le village une fois occupé. « Nous avons confisqué beaucoup d’argent et de bijoux en argent et en or, tombés entre nos mains » écrit-il. Il conclut la lettre avec les mots : « Ce fut une opération violente et c’est avec raison que la gauche nous diffame à nouveau ».

    traduction en français de l’article signalé ici :

    • Shoshani a commencé à s’intéresser à l’histoire de Deir Yassin il y a une dizaine d’années, alors qu’elle travaillait à son projet final à l’Académie Bezalel des Arts et du Design à Jérusalem, qui portait sur une documentation de l’hôpital psychiatrique d’État de Kfar Shaul, hôpital qui a été construit sur les terres de Deir Yassin après la guerre.

      Deir Yassine, comme Oradour-sur-Glane, est un nom exotique qui évoque un petit village reculé dans la campagne. En fait pas du tout, c’est aujourd’hui un quartier de #Jérusalem, très connu parce que, à quelques centaines de mètres de là, se situe le musée de #Yad_Vachem, le mémorial de la Shoah...

      #Palestine #Histoire #Massacre #Mémoire #1948

  • Testimonies from the censored Deir Yassin massacre: ’They piled bodies and burned them’ - Israel News -

    A young fellow tied to a tree and set on fire. A woman and an old man shot in back. Girls lined up against a wall and shot with a submachine gun. The testimonies collected by filmmaker Neta Shoshani about the massacre in Deir Yassin are difficult to process even 70 years after the fact
    By Ofer Aderet Jul 16, 2017

    read more:

    For two years now a document that makes for difficult reading has been lying in the archives of the association to commemorate the heritage of Lehi – the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel pre-state underground militia. It was written by a member of the underground about 70 years ago. Reading it could reopen a bleeding wound from the days of the War of Independence that to this day stirs a great deal of emotion in Israeli society.

    “Last Friday together with Etzel” – the acronym for the National Military Organization, also known as the Irgun, another pre-state underground militia, led by Menachem Begin – “our movement carried out a tremendous operation to occupy the Arab village on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road – Deir Yassin. I participated in this operation in the most active way,” wrote Yehuda Feder, whose nom de guerre in Lehi (also known as the Stern Gang) was “Giora.”

    Further along in the letter, he describes in detail his part in the massacre that took place there. “This was the first time in my life that at my hands and before my eyes Arabs fell. In the village I killed an armed Arab man and two Arab girls of 16 or 17 who were helping the Arab who was shooting. I stood them against a wall and blasted them with two rounds from the Tommy gun,” he wrote, describing how he carried out the execution of the girls with a submachine gun.

    Along with that, he tells about looting in the village with his buddies after it was occupied. “We confiscated a lot of money and silver and gold jewelry fell into our hands,” he wrote. He concludes the letter with the words: “This was a really tremendous operation and it is with reason that the left is vilifying us again.”

  • Testimony from the censored massacre
    A young fellow tied to a tree and set on fire. A woman and an old man shot in back. Girls lined up against a wall and shot with a submachine gun. The testimonies Neta Shoshani collected about the massacre in Deir Yassin make for difficult reading even 70 years after the fact. Some of them will be shown in her new film ’Born in Deir Yassin’ and others are being published here for the first time. To this day, the state is censoring the photographs from the massacre
    read more:

    For two years now a document that makes for difficult reading has been lying in the archives of the association to commemorate the heritage of Lehi – the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel pre-state underground militia. It was written by a member of the underground about 70 years ago. Reading it could reopen a bleeding wound from the days of the War of Independence that to this day stirs a great deal of emotion in Israeli society.
    “Last Friday together with Etzel” – the acronym for the National Military Organization, also known as the Irgun, another pre-state underground militia, led by Menachem Begin – “our movement carried out a tremendous operation to occupy the Arab village on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road – Deir Yassin. I participated in this operation in the most active way,” wrote Yehuda Feder, whose nom de guerre in Lehi (also known as the Stern Gang) was “Giora.”
    Further along in the letter, he describes in detail his part in the massacre that took place there. “This was the first time in my life that at my hands and before my eyes Arabs fell. In the village I killed an armed Arab man and two Arab girls of 16 or 17 who were helping the Arab who was shooting. I stood them against a wall and blasted them with two rounds from the Tommy gun,” he wrote, describing how he carried out the execution of the girls with a submachine gun.
    Along with that, he tells about looting in the village with his buddies after it was occupied. “We confiscated a lot of money and silver and gold jewelry fell into our hands,” he wrote. He concludes the letter with the words: “This was a really tremendous operation and it is with reason that the left is vilifying us again.”

    Pictures of the occupation of Deir Yassin. Most researchers state that 110 inhabitants of the village were killed there. IDF archive / Defense Ministry
    This letter is one of the historical documents revealed in a new documentary film entitled “Born in Deir Yassin” by director Neta Shoshani, who devoted the past several years to comprehensive historical research on the Deir Yassin massacre, one of the constitutive incidents of the War of Independence, which has remained a blot on Israel to this day.
    In advance of the premiere screening of the film at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Shoshani showed Haaretz the testimonies she has gathered about the incident, the result of extensive digging in archives along with in-depth interviews with the last living participants in the action. Some of them broke a silence of decades when they spoke to her, often for the first time in front of a camera.

  • Yes, Benny Morris, Israel did perpetrate ethnic cleansing in 1948 - Opinion - Israel News |
    The Israeli historian is right about one thing: The understandings that the Arabs should be expelled in 1948 were not carried out in full.

    Daniel Blatman Oct 14, 2016
    read more:

    A good historian always examines his conclusions. If he comes to the conclusion that things he wrote previously require a reassessment, he is obligated to face that. But a historian who, at the start of his career, determined that Israel is responsible for the mass flight of the Palestinians in 1948 and later changed his views until he became the darling of the settler right, is a pathetic phenomenon. Benny Morris has followed that path.
    He has betrayed two key duties of the historian: to be open-minded and recognize the extensive research literature that directly relates to his own areas of research; and not to distort his own previous conclusions due to current political insights. [Morris’ “Israel conducted no ethnic cleansing in 1948,” Haaretz, October 10, was in response to Daniel Blatman’s “Netanyahu, this Is what ethnic cleansing really looks like,” Haaretz, October 3.]
    On March 10, 1948, the national Haganah headquarters approved Plan Dalet, which discussed the intention of expelling as many Arabs as possible from the territory of the future Jewish state. Morris wrote about it in his book “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War” (2010). He stated that the plan aroused a historiographical dispute, with pro-Palestinian historians claiming it was a master plan for expelling the Arabs living in Israel. He claimed that a careful examination of the plan’s wording leads to a different conclusion.
    Whose different conclusion? That of scholars who are experts on ethnic cleansing? Or legal experts who grappled with the problem? No, that of Morris, of course. He does not accept the definition of ethnic cleansing that was carried out by the Jews in 1948. Perhaps there was a “mini” ethnic cleansing in Lod and Ramle. Perhaps some marginal massacre (Deir Yassin), which caused the panicked flight of Palestinians.
    The problem is that these are precisely the circumstances that lead to ethnic cleansing. Had Morris bothered to properly study the documents of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, he would understand why his statements would be considered absurd at any serious scientific conference.
    The following was stated by the prosecutor in the trial of Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian-Serb leader who was convicted of responsibility for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia: “In ethnic cleansing ... you act in such a way that in a given territory, the members of a given ethnic group are eliminated. ... You have massacres. Everybody is not massacred, but you have massacres in order to scare those populations. ... Naturally, the other people are driven away. They are afraid ... and, of course, in the end these people simply want to leave. ... They are driven away either on their own initiative or they are deported. ... Some women are raped and, furthermore, often times what you have is the destruction of the monuments which marked the presence of a given population ... for instance, Catholic churches or mosques are destroyed.”

  • The Poem That Exposed Israeli War Crimes in 1948 - Israel News - Haaretz

    On November 19, 1948, Natan Alterman, whose influential “Seventh Column” – an op-ed in poetry form – appeared every Friday in the daily Davar, the mouthpiece of Israel’s ruling Mapai party (forerunner of Labor), published a poem titled “About This.” Excerpts:
    Across the vanquished city in a jeep he did speed –
    A lad bold and armed, a young lion of a lad!
    And an old man and a woman on that very street
    Cowered against a wall, in fear of him clad.
    Said the lad smiling, milk teeth shining:
    “I’ll try the machine gun”… and put it into play!
    To hide his face in his hands the old man barely had time
    When his blood on the wall was sprayed.

    We shall sing, then, about “delicate incidents”
    Whose name, don’t you know, is murder.
    Sing of conversations with sympathetic listeners,
    Of snickers of forgiveness that are slurred.

    For those in combat gear, and we who impinge,
    Whether by action or agreement subliminal,
    Are thrust, muttering “necessity” and “revenge,”
    Into the realm of the war criminal.
    (translation by Ralph Mandel)
    Extremely moved by the verses, David Ben-Gurion, then chairman of the Provisional State Council in the nascent Jewish state, wrote Alterman: “Congratulations on the moral validity and the powerful expressiveness of your latest column in Davar… You are a pure and faithful mouthpiece of the human conscience, which, if it does not act and beat in our hearts in times like these, will render us unworthy of the great wonders vouchsafed to us until now.
    “I ask your permission to have 100,000 copies of the article – which no armored column in our army exceeds in combat strength – printed by the Defense Ministry for distribution to every army person in Israel.”
    What were the war crimes referred to in the poem?

    Natan Alterman.Moshe Milner / GPO
    The massacres perpetrated by Israeli forces in Lydda (Lod) and in the village of Al-Dawayima, west of Hebron, were among the worst mass killings of the entire War of Independence. In an interview in Haaretz in 2004, historian Benny Morris (author of “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949”) declared that the most egregious massacres “occurred at Saliha, in Upper Galilee (70-80 victims), Deir Yassin on the outskirts of Jerusalem (100-110), Lod (50), Dawamiya (hundreds) and perhaps Abu Shusha (70).”
    Lod was conquered in Operation Dani (July 9-19, 1948), which also targeted nearby Ramle. The political and military leadership viewed the capture of those two towns as crucial, because the concentration of Arab forces there threatened Tel Aviv and its surroundings. Specifically, the aim was for the fledgling Israel Defense Forces to clear the roads and allow access to the Jewish communities on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road – which remained under Arab control – and to take control of the hilly areas stretching from Latrun to the outskirts of Ramallah. This would mean a clash with units of Jordan’s Arab Legion, which were deployed – or supposedly deployed – in the area.
    Another goal of Operation Dani, which was led by Yigal Allon with Yitzhak Rabin as his deputy, was to expand the territories of the young Jewish state beyond the boundaries delineated by the UN partition plan.
    On July 10, Lod was bombed by the Israeli air force, the first such attack in the War of Independence. A large ground force had also been assembled, including three brigades and 30 artillery batteries, based on the army’s assessment that large Jordanian forces were in the area.
    To their surprise, the IDF units encountered little or no resistance. Even so, there are Palestinian and other Arab sources that allege that 250 people were massacred after Lod was taken. Claims about the scale of the massacre gain credence from Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, who maintains that the army killed 426 men, women and children in a local mosque and the surrounding streets. According to him, 176 bodies were found in the mosque, and the rest outside. Testimony of a Palestinian from Lod lends support to these estimates: “The [Israeli troops], violating all the conventions, shelled the mosque, killing everyone who was inside. I heard from friends who helped remove the dead from the mosque that they carried out 93 bodies; others said there were many more than a hundred.” Clearly, though, there are no agreed-upon, precise figures, and the estimates from both sides are tendentious.
    Israeli troops went from house to house, expelling the remaining inhabitants to the West Bank. In some cases, soldiers looted abandoned houses and stole from the refugees.
    Ben-Gurion’s intentions with respect to Lod remain a subject of debate. Years later, Rabin related how in a meeting with him and Allon, Ben-Gurion, when asked what to do with the residents of Ramle and Lod, gestured with his hand and said, “Expel them.” This version of events was to have been included in Rabin’s memoirs but was banned for publication in Israel, in 1979. His account did appear in The New York Times at the time, and caused a furor. Allon, who also took part in the meeting with Ben-Gurion, vehemently denied Rabin’s account.On July 12, an order was issued by the Yiftah Brigade “to remove the residents from Lod speedily … They are to be directed to Beit Naballah [near Ramle].” .

  • ’Barbarism by an educated and cultured people’ — #Dawayima #massacre was worse than #Deir_Yassin

    “There was no battle and no resistance (and no Egyptians). The first conquerors killed from eighty to a hundred Arabs [including] women and children. The children were killed by smashing of their skulls with sticks. Is it possible to shout about Deir Yassin and be silent about something much worse?” For the first time ever, a letter quoting one of the Israeli soldiers who were part of the Al-Dawayima massacre in October 1948 is published in full.

    On Friday, February 5th 2016, Haaretz published an article in Hebrew by Israeli historian Yair Auron, which covers one of the biggest massacres of 1948. The massacre is of Al Dawayima, west of Al-Khalil (which is often referred to as Hebron). In a 2004 interview with Haaretz, Israeli historian Benny Morris refers to this as a massacre of “hundreds”.

    After the massacre, a letter was sent to the editor of the leftist affiliated newspaper Al-Hamishmar, but never published. As Auron notes, there are still many archives of the time which are classified. Auron also states that there was an investigation that was never concluded and “died out” as a massive amnesty was provided to military personnel in February 1949.

    This is a very exhaustive article, but I found it useful enough to translate this letter in full on its own. The letter, which first “disappeared,’ was provided to Auron by historian Benny Morris. Although these matters have been referred to in passing in historical summaries, the letter has never been published before in full.

  • The forgotten refugees of 1948
    Ibrahim Ahmad | Tuesday 15 September

    A portrait of Haj Hemdan, who is over 90 years old and is one of the very few remaining Palestinian refugees who fled to Egypt escaping the 1948 war in Palestine (MEE/Ibrahim Ahmad)

    In Fadel Island, a humble village in a remote area of Egypt’s Sharqia governorate about five hours by car from Cairo, resides a community of second-generation Palestinian refugees.

    The population was about 2,000 when the original refugees fled to Egypt in May of 1948, fearing a similar fate to those who were massacred at Deir Yassin. They crossed the Sinai desert with their camels, carrying simple belongings, and were welcomed by Egypt’s government. They were settled in the refugee camp of “Gezirt Fadel” - later to become the village it is today - with a promise to be relocated to a better place soon after.

    El-Haj Hemdan - in his early nineties and one of the very few remaining 1948 refugees, with his amazing ability to recall what had happened nearly 65 years ago - told Middle East Eye his story.

    “They said it was a matter of a month or two, and we would be relocated to a place closer to the capital," Hemdan said.

    "We waited and waited, governments changed, kings fled, presidents died, and nothing happened. After five or six years we abandoned our tents and built houses. But still, some of us retained the hope that we would be relocated to a better place. We didn’t understand the lesson yet: Arabs rarely keep their promises.”(...)

  • Zion’s Rebel Daughter
    Gabriel Piterberg, New Left Review

    In another major paper at the time of the 1948 War, Arendt denounced the massacre of Deir Yassin and the killings in Jaffa and Haifa as deliberate measures of terror by the Revisionist wing of Zionism to drive the Arab populations out of Palestine. The building of a separate Jewish economy by the mainstream labour wing of Zionism—which had been its pride—she saw as the curse that made possible the expulsion of the Arabs (‘ almost 50 per cent of the country’s population ’) without loss to the Jews. In the Middle East, surrounded by a vastly larger Arab population, the result could only be a continual inner insecurity. ‘ A home that my neighbour does not recognize and respect is not a home. ’ The newly created state of Israel would be a land ‘ quite other than the dream of world Jewry, Zionist and non-Zionist’—an armed and introverted society, in which ‘political thought would centre around military strategy ’, degenerating into ‘ one of those small warrior tribes about whose possibilities and importance history has amply informed us since the days of Sparta ’, leaving the Arabs ‘ homeless exiles ’, and the Arab problem as ‘ the only real moral and political issue of Israeli politics ’.

  • Dans une lettre datée du 2 décembre 1948, adressée au New York Times, Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt ainsi que 26 autres signataires juifs protestent contre la visite de Menachem Begin aux Etats-Unis

    "Parmi les phénomènes politiques les plus perturbateurs de notre époque, on peut compter l’émergence, à l’intérieur de l’Etat d’Israël, nouvellement créé, du « Parti de la Liberté » ( Tnuat Haherut ), un parti politique apparenté, dans son organisation, ses méthodes, sa philosophie politique et ses prétentions sociales, aux partis politiques nazis et fascistes. Il est issu des anciens membres et sympathisants de l’ancien Irgun Zvai Leumi, une organisation chauviniste, terroriste, de l’aile droite, en Palestine.

    La visite imminente, aux Etats Unis, de Menachem BEGIN, chef de ce parti, est, de toute évidence, calculée afin de donner l’impression d’obtenir un soutien américain pour son parti, à l’occasion des prochaines élections israéliennes, et de celler des liens politiques avec les éléments conservateurs sionistes américains. Plusieurs Américains de réputation nationale ont prêté leur nom pour soutenir sa visite. Il est inconcevable que ceux qui luttent contre le fascisme à travers le monde , si correctement informés sur le passé politique de Mr Begin et ses ambitions, puissent ajouter leur nom au soutien du mouvement qu’il représente.

    Avant que des dommages irréparables ne puissent être causés par des contributions financières, par des manifestations publiques de soutien au profit de Begin et par la fabrication, en Palestine, du sentiment qu’une grande partie de l’Amérique est en train de soutenir les éléments fascites en Israël, le Peuple américain doit être informé sur les antécédents et les objectifs de Mr Begin et de son mouvement.

    Les déclarations publiques du parti de Mr Begin ne révèlent pas son ambition actuelle. Aujourd’hui, ils parlent de liberté, de démocratie et d’anti-impérialisme, jusqu’à ce qu’ils aient prêché ouvertement, tout récemment, la doctrine de l’Etat fasciste. C’est dans ses actions que le parti terroriste trahit ses réelles aspirations ; à la lumière de ses actions passées, nous pouvons juger de ce à quoi l’on peut s’attendre dans le futur.

    Attaque d’un village arabe :

    Un exemple choquant a été donné par leur comportement au sein du village arabe de Deir Yassin. Ce village, situé à l’écart des routes principales et entourées de terres juives, n’a pris aucune part à la guerre et a même combattu des groupes arabes qui avaient l’intention d’établir leur base dans ce village. Le 9 avril, selon le New York Times, des groupes terroristes ont attaqué ce paisible village, qui n’était en rien un objectif militaire dans ce conflit, et ont tué la plupart de ses habitants ( 240 personnes : hommes, femmes, enfants ), et en ont gardé quelques uns en vie, afin de les faire parader, en tant que prisonniers, dans les rues de Jérusalem. La plus grande partie de la Communauté Juive fut horrifiée par cette démonstration et l’Agence Juive envoya un télégramme d’excuses au roi Abdullah de Cisjordanie. mais les terroristes, bien loin de regretter leur geste, tirèrent fierté de ce massacre, en firent largement publicité, et invitèrent tous les correspondants étrangers présents dans le pays, pour voir les cadavres entassés et les dégats causés au village de Deir Yassin.

    L’incident de Deir Yassin illustre le caractère et les actions du Parti de la Liberté.

    A l’intérieur de la Communauté juive, ils ont prêché un mélange d’ultra-nationalisme, de mysticisme religieux et de supériorité raciale. A l’instar d’autres partis fascistes, ils ont pris l’habitude de briser des grèves et ont exercé, eux-mêmes, des pressions afin d’éliminer les syndicats indépendants. Dans leur élan, ils ont proposé la création de corporations syndicales sur le modèle de l’Italie fasciste. Au cours de ces dernières années de violence sporadique à l’encontre des intérêts britaniques, le I Z L et les groupes STERN ont inauguré le règne de la terreur au sein de la Communauté juive de Palestine. Des enseignants étaient battus pour les avoir dénigré, des adultes furent abattus pour ne pas avoir autorisé leurs enfants à les rejoindre, C’est par des méthodes de gangsters, des coups, des vitrines brisées, des vols à grande échelle, que les terroristes sont parvenus à intimider la population et exiger une lourde contribution.

    Les membres du Parti de la Liberté n’ont pris aucune part dans l’heureuse édification de la Palestine. Ils n’ont réclamé aucune terre, construit aucune colonie, et n’ont fait qu’affaiblir l’activité de la défense Juive. Leurs efforts pour l’immigration, à grand renfort de publicité, étaient minutieux et principalement orientés en vue de l’immigration de compatriotes fascistes.

    Des décalages constatés :

    Les décalages entre les prétentions hardies, formulées à présent par Begin et son parti, et le constat du bilan passé, en Palestine, portent l’empreinte d’un parti qui n’est pas ordinaire. C’est la marque indiscutable d’un parti fasciste pour lequel le terrorisme ( à l’encontre des Juifs, des Arabes, aussi bien que des Britaniques ) et les masquarades sont des moyens d’action, et un « Etat suprême », le but.

    A la lumière de ces considérations évidentes, il est impératif que la vérité, au sujet de Mr Begin et de son mouvement, soit diffusée dans ce pays. Il n’y a rien de plus tragique que de constater que le leadership du Sionisme américain a refusé de mener campagne contre les efforts de Begin, exposant de ce fait ses éléments constitutifs au danger encouru par Israël de soutenir Begin.

    Les signataires,ci-dessous désignés, ont recours à ce moyen de présenter publiquement quelques faits marquants mettant en cause Mr Begin et son parti ; et insister auprès de toute personne concernée de ne pas soutenir cette dernière démonstration de fascisme."

    Isidore ABRAMOWITZ

    Hannah ARENDT

    Abraham BRICK

    Rabbi Jessurun CARDOZO

    Albert EINSTEIN

    Herman EISEN, M.D.

    Hayim FINEMAN

    M. GALLEN, M.D.


    Zelig S. HARRIS

    Sidney HOOK

    Fred KARUSH

    Bruria KAUFMAN

    Irma L. LINDHEIM

    Nachman MAISEL

    Seymour MELMAN


    M.D. Harry M. OSLINSKY

    Samuel PITLICK

    Fritz ROHRLICH

    Louis P. ROCKER

    Ruth SAGIS

    Itzhak SANKOWSKY


    Samuel SHUMAN


    Irma WOLFE

    Stephan WOLF

    New York, Dec. 2, 1948

    • 1948, face au massacre de Deir Yassin

      Jacques de Reynier, un délégué arabisant, est à la manœuvre depuis Jérusalem pour organiser la venue de Genève de huit collègues, dont trois médecins, et dix infirmières. Le 10 avril 1948, le Haut Comité arabe, l’autorité des Arabes de Palestine, le prie de venir en aide aux blessés et d’évacuer les morts de Deir Yassin, village musulman aux portes de Jérusalem, où un massacre a été perpétré la veille. Il s’y rend le dimanche 11 avril. Dans le rapport qu’il rédige deux jours plus tard (lire ci-dessous), il cite le chiffre de 200 morts, une évaluation faite par le commandant des troupes juives qui ont procédé à l’assaut. Jacques de Reynier sera le seul témoin extérieur d’un épisode qui va s’imposer dans la mémoire palestinienne comme le symbole de la Nakba, la « catastrophe », à savoir la défaite militaire face à l’armée juive et l’exode massif – entre 700 000 et 800 000

      (je mets ce lien car je n’arrive pas à fixer celui du Temps)

  • Aujourd’hui, anniversaire du massacre de #Deir_Yassin.

    Deir Yassin Remembered

    Early in the morning of April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun (headed by Menachem Begin) and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a village with about 750 Palestinian residents. The village lay outside of the area to be assigned by the United Nations to the Jewish State; it had a peaceful reputation. But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Deir Yassin was slated for occupation under Plan Dalet and the mainstream Jewish defense force, the Haganah, authorized the irregular terrorist forces of the Irgun and the Stern Gang to perform the takeover.

    In all over 100 men, women, and children were systematically murdered. Fifty-three orphaned children were literally dumped along the wall of the Old City, where they were found by Miss Hind Husseini and brought behind the American Colony Hotel to her home, which was to become the Dar El-Tifl El-Arabi orphanage.

  • Deir Yassin, 9 avril 1948

    Le 9 avril a une résonance particulière dans la mémoire palestinienne. Il y a 65 ans, le 9 avril 1948, la Palestine connaissait son Oradour-sur-Glane. 120 miliciens de l’Irgoun et de Lehi, deux groupes terroristes, assistés de la Haganah, prennent d’assaut le village de Deir Yassin.

    Hommes, femmes et enfants seront tués de sang-froid. Comme l’écrit Dina Elmuti, petite fille d’une rescapée de ce massacre, dans un témoignage publié sur le site Electronic Intifada, cette boucherie marquera un tournant dans l’histoire de la Palestine : « Le massacre de Deir Yassin n’est ni le plus important ni le plus horrible. Mais les atrocités commises, la sophistication des méthodes et les armes utilisées contre les civils en font de loin le plus sadique et le plus vicieux », précise Dina Elmuti.

  • We must never forget the massacre in Deir Yassin

    Remember the date: Friday, 9 April 1948, a day of infamy in Palestinian history. My grandmother was nine years old at the time of the Deir Yassin massacre and every day since she has lived with a steadfast commitment to never forget.


    Fathers, grandfathers, brothers and sons were lined up against a wall and sprayed with bullets, execution style. Beloved teachers were savagely mutilated with knives. Mothers and sisters were taken hostage and those who survived returned to find pools of blood filling the streets of the village and children stripped of their childhoods overnight.