An amazing editorial appeared in the Haaretz newspaper of July 7, 2019. I read it twice to be sure that I was reading it correctly I was. And it made me heartsick.
The editorial in our most honest and respected newspaper founded by the Schocken family , where my wife had worked just prior to our marriage, blared the headline, “The Nakba Isn’t Going Away.”
Nakba refers in Arabic to the traumatic events from their point of view which resulted in the deaths and deportations from Palestine by pre-Israeli Jewish military of hundreds of thousands of Arab residents.
The sub-title of the article read “Burying the Nakba: How Israel Systematically Hides Evidence of the 1948 Expulsion of Arabs “.
Many years ago I had read the accounts of massacres of Palestinian Arabs, militants and civilians, published by Benny Morris, a noted Jewish professor of history, in which he witnessed and detailed expulsion and slaughter of Arabs by members of the IDF.
His first-hand accounts sickened me. Even in war, I had always believed that our soldiers showed mercy to civilians.
But in 2004, Professor Morris completed his revision of THE BIRTH OF THE PALESTINE PROBLEM OF 1947-1949.
In his revision ( reasons only for political personal advantages, without doubt), Morris claimed that his original book was based upon documents revealed to him by the IDF. He wrote in his revised book, “What the new material shows is that there were far more Israeli acts of massacres than I had previously thought. To my surprise, there were also many cases of rapes of Arab girls and women. In the months of April-May 1948, units of the Haganah were given operational orders that stated explicitly that they were to uproot the villagers and expel them and destroy the villages”. (January 9, 2004, Haaretz).
The most treacherous of these events occurred on April 9, 1948 in the Arab village of Deir Yassin on the road to Jerusalem. 110 inhabitants, men, women, pregnant women and children were brutally murdered by the Haganah and other Jewish para-military groups.
Yehoshua Zettler, the Lehi commander of the operation, described how Arabs were fleeing from their homes. It was not only because they were blamed for their rejection of the1947 Partition plan nor by the radio and mosque broadcasts of Arab leaders urging Arabs to flee from Palestine to other Arab countries for safety with a promise of return once the Jews had been driven into the Sea by victorious Arab armies from neighboring countries.
Zettler, a witness to the massacre of Deir Yassin writes that “After the village was occupied, our guys made a number of mistakes that made me angry. Why did they do that? They took dead people, piled them up and burned their bodies”.
His account was supported by Professor Mordechai Gichon, then a lieutenant-colonel in the IDF reserves who was a Haganah intelligence officer sent to Deir Yassin when the battle ended.
“There was a feeling of considerable slaughter and it was hard for me to explain it to myself as having been done in self defense. My impressions were more of a massacre than anything else. If it is a matter of killing innocent civilians, then it can be called a massacre. It was a pogrom. When the Cossacks burst into Jewish neighborhoods, then that should have looked something like this”.
Gideon Balaban related that after the massacre in which he did not participate, he was sent with groups to bury the evidence of burned corpses before the International Red Cross arrived which would have been damaging to the image of the Israel War of Independence.
Balaban wrote, “I saw a fair number of corpses. An old man and woman sitting in the corner of a room with their faces to the wall. They had been shot in the back. That cannot have been in the heat of battle. No way.”
This shameful evidence has now been revealed from our archives 71 years after the events.
Haaretz asks the most demanding question: “What is Netanyahu Hiding in the Archives From 1948”?
Do any of us ever expect to receive the truth? Never from Netanyahu, for sure.
We must face up to the sad truth because for the Arabs the Nakba is never going away!