9th April 1948 – Deir Yassin Massacre
On the 9th of April 1948 the village of Deir Yassin ceased to exist as a Palestinian village. For it was on that day when members of various right-wing Zionist gangs attacked the village and killed at least 107 people, injuring many more.
The Zionist terrorist groups involved were principally the Irgun and the Stern gangs but almost certainly supported by other military factions within the Jewish community and the ‘official’ Israeli armed forces, the Haganah.
There are various arguments as to why the village was attacked but really what these boil down to is an effort to seek a justification for the action of the terrorists.
Yes, there was a war going on, but that doesn’t mean to say that a heavily armed militia force has the right to go into a village and basically kill any anybody they find at the location.
It has been argued that Palestinian fighters had attacked Zionist forces from the vicinity of the village but then you come across the sticky justification that was used by the German Fascists when they destroyed the village of Lidice, in Czechoslovakia, killing all adult males and sending the women and children to concentration camps, after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. This took place only 6 years earlier in June 1942.
(It is well worth mentioning here that there are many ‘Deir Yassin’s’ in 20th century history. The village of Oradour-sur-Glane, near Limoges in France was similarly attacked by the Nazis in June 1944. The Albanian village of Borovë suffered a similar fate in July 1943 after Partisans had attacked a Nazi convoy in the nearby mountains only days before. And we should not forget the United States atrocity of the massacre of My Lai on March 16th, 1968 during the Vietnam War.)
Unfortunately, all that the Jews who were fighting for the establishment of the State of Israel had learnt from their experience under the Nazis, from the 1930s to the end of the Second World War, were the terrorist tactics of those very same people who had persecuted Jewish and other people throughout Europe and their thirst for other peoples’ lands.
Invaders, fascists and imperialists will often justify their actions by saying that it was the other side that made the first move. However, it has to be remembered that the Palestinians were fighting for their homeland. It was the Zionists who were the usurpers, taking land that didn’t belong to them (whatever justification they sought from the 2,000-year-old religious texts).
The majority of the members of the Zionist terrorist groups were very recent immigrants to the country and sought to establish the legitimacy of the Jewish claim to the territory by the use of force and terror.
I have no intention of going through the claims and counterclaims here as they really are not relevant. Nothing justifies the indiscriminate slaughter of men, women and children simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Whether it was part of the original plan or not what the massacre did achieve was the terrorising of the local Palestinian population, in neighbouring villages as well as the village of Deir Yassin itself. Many of the Palestinians in the vicinity sought to get as far as possible away from these various Zionist, terrorist groups.
Those not killed or injured at Deir Yassin left with whatever they could carry with them. And it was the creation of this climate of fear which was probably the biggest achievement for the Zionists in the attack upon the village.
Killing Palestinians was good, frightening the rest away was even better.
But the massacre at Deir Yassin in 1948 was not unique in Palestine and there were a number of similar attacks on other villages in the subsequent years (Zeita, Beit Nuba and Yalu in 1967, for example).
Perhaps in 2021 there are not the same sort of atacks on Palestinian villages as happened at Deir Yassin but the Israeli Armed Forces continue to maintain a regime of terror and a total disruption of the daily lives of Palestinians with checkpoints and forced searches, etc.
Even the reaction of the Israeli government (which was given control over huge swathes of Palestinian land by the imperialist powers on 14th May 1948) to the massacre is similar to what is commonplace nowadays.
Although there was no ‘official’ Jewish representation in the attack upon Deir Yassin such an action would not have happened without some sort of sanction from those waiting to take political power. There was no condemnation of the attack and certainly no punishment of those who perpetrated the massacre. Quite the opposite. If only privately the attack would have been seen as part of the ‘ethnic cleansing’ that was part of Zionist philosophy from the earliest days and resulted in the removal of potential ‘trouble-makers’.
And the fate of the actual buildings of Deir Yassin is being replicated today.
Within two or three years of the massacre the buildings had been taken over as part of a Jewish hospital. Later, other buildings were demolished and Palestinian cemetery was cleared for the construction of a major rod.
Since the massacre Deir Yassin has been erased from the map of Palestine as a Palestinian village and has become absorbed into the Jewish state.
This is exactly the same as is happening now throughout many parts of Palestine where Zionist settlers are taking over Palestinian land, making villages unsustainable and making the life of the people intolerable. This is in an effort to force the people to leave the land, leave the country and leave the territory to Israel so the state can establish its own racist, apartheid society where the only people who are welcomed are Jewish.
In remembering the events of 9th April 1948 we should make sure we realise that the same terrorist tactics are being used 73 years later and for basically the same ends – that is, Israel for the Jews only.
(Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel) in 2021 was commemorated on 7th/8th April, only a day before the anniversary of the Deir Yassin massacre. Few Israeli citizens, I imagine, considered that the juxtaposition of these dates should have been cause for a time of reflexion.)