DAYR YASEEN – A HISTORY OF A LIE
Common Palestinian's opinion:
"Israel killed 250 people at Dayr Yassin in cold blood - of them 25 pregnant women were bayoneted in the abdomen while still alive and 52 children were maimed under the eyes of their own mothers, and they were slain and their heads cut off."
A Palestinian activist opinion:
"254 Arabs died at Deir Yassin." (Daniel McGowan of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NY)
"an estimated 100-250 Arab villagers were slaughtered." (Daniel McGowan, Press release, March 22, 1998).
"over 100 Palestinian men, women and children were killed." (Daniel McGowan, Press release, March 25, 1998).
While the numbers decline, Beir Zeit, a Palestinian University who interviewed every Arab survivor admitted that the number was 110. The story has been exaggerated and conflicting testimonies cloud the whole story, but the best study on this issue is "The history of the 1948 war" by Professor Uri Milstein, one of Israel's most distinguished military historians, it's meticulous, very detailed and accurate.
Also, in 1952 a hearing was conducted in Israel which Israeli judges heard eyewitness testimony from participants in the events at Deir Yassin and issued a ruling that has important implications for understanding what happened in that battle. The question that should be asked is, how often did the Arabs ever issue any ruling, any court, any hearing for any of the countless massacars of Jews in any Arab country?
Long before Dayr Yassin, Arab and Jewish armies were already battling. An "Arab Liberation Army," sponsored by the Arab League and manned by volunteers from various Arab countries has always attacked civilian Jewish communities in Palestine prior to 1948. My own father has witnessed Arab villagers along with Arab soldiers raid Jewish Communities. Even the religious leader Haj Al-Ameen El-Husseni who collaborated with Hitler and had SS trained graduates to fight against these Jewish communities, some of which were found among the corpse of dead Palestinian fighters at Dayr Yasin with SS identifications.
The facts are, every Arab village in Israel participated in attacking Jewish settlements in order to destroy the Jews. The Arab attackers faced consequences of there actions, raids on civilians and wars will always have repercussions.
Deir Yassin was a heavily-armed nest of terrorists who in 1947-1948 had been attacking nearby Jewish neighborhoods and traffic on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.
Mordechai Ra'anan, leader of the Jewish soldiers who fought in Deir Yassin invented the number '254' as a deliberate exaggeration in order to undermine the morale of the Arab forces and no body count was conducted to tally the dead.
Despite Ra'anan's admission, the figure 254 was circulated by Palestinian Arab leader Hussein Khalidi which was the basis for a widely re-printed article in the New York Times which was refered to in the past generations.
Tally of Jewish losses revealed 42 Israeli wounded and 6 dead out of an attacking force of 132 soldiers. One of the commanders of the Jewish force, Ben Zion Cohen, describes "[The Arabs were] shooting from every house".
While the Jewish attackers with loud speakers warned in advance to 'Lay down your arms! Run for your lives" the Arabs fired at the vehicle and the battle erupted.
Also, claims of rape and other atrocities were fabricated to incite Arab violence against Israel. Arab eyewitnesses interviewed in a PBS documentary reveal that they were told by Dr. Hussein Khalidi, a prominent Palestinian Arab leader, to fabricate claims of atrocities at Deir Yassin in order to encourage Arab regimes to invade the Jewish state-to-be. An anonymous Palestinian.
"The Arab exodus from other villages were not caused by actual battle, but by the exaggerated description spread by Arab leaders to encourage the other Arab nations to fight the Jews." Yunes Ahmed Assad, A survivor of the Deir Yassin massacre, Al Urdun, 1948
The Arab Higher Committee hoped exaggerated reports about a "massacre" at Deir Yassin would shock the population of the Arab countries into bringing pressure on their governments to intervene in Palestine. Instead, the immediate impact was to stimulate a new Palestinian exodus.
Deir Yassin, Mitchell Bard of JSOURCE
“After the battle they took 14 prisoners and lined them up by the quarry and mowed them down. They threw their bodies into the quarry… That is what happened.” Abu Mahmoud (resident of Deir Yassin)
“I saw 20 men taken to the quarry. They lined them up and they killed them. Just like that. Shot dead. While this was going on, Jews came from the next village (Givat Shaul) They were mainly religious. They started yelling, "Bastards! Murderers! What are you doing?" Some were shouting in Hebrew and some in Yiddish. They stopped the massacre. Meir Pail (Haganah Officer)
“We (the survivors) gathered by Hebron gate (in Jerusalem) and we checked who was missing. Then the Palestinian leaders arrived, including Dr Khalidi...” Abu Mahmoud
“I asked Dr Khalidi how we should cover the story. He said, "We must make the most of this." So we wrote a press release stating that, at Deir Yassin, pregnant women were raped and all sort of other atrocities..” Hazem Nusseibeh (Palestinian Broadcasting Service)
“We said, ‘There was no rape.’ He said ‘We have to say this so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews.’ Abu Mahmoud
"This was our biggest mistake. We did not realise how our people would react. As soon as they heard that women had been raped the Palestinians fled in terror. They ran away from all our villages”. Hazem Nusseibeh,
"The Jews never intended to harm the population of the village, but were forced to do so after they encountered fire from the population, which killed the Irgun commander."
Yunes Ahmed Assad, a Deir Yassin survivor, Al Urdun (Jordanian Newspaper), April 9, 1953, quoted by the Israel Office of Information, under Golda Meir, 1960
[Deir Yassin] was an integral, inseparable episode in the battle for Jerusalem ... Arab forces were attempting to cut the only highway linking Jerusalem with Tel Aviv and the outside world. It had cut the pipeline upon which the defenders depended for water. Palestinian Arab contingents, stiffened by men of the regular Iraqi army, had seized vantage points overlooking the Jerusalem road and from them were firing on trucks that tried to reach the beleaguered city with vital food-stuffs and supplies.
Dir Yassin, like the strategic hill and village of Kastel, was one of these vantage points. In fact, the two villages were interconnected militarily, reinforcements passing from Dir Yassin to Kastel during the fierce engagement for that hill.
Abba Eban, Background Notes on Current Themes - No.6: Dir Yassin (Jerusalem: Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Information Division, 16 March 1969)
...This Arab village in 1948 sat in a key position high on the hill controlling passage on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road. Those villagers were no different than other nearby Arab villagers who were heavily armed, hostile and aggressive. They also hosted a battle group from the Iraqi army. They had incessantly attacked Jewish convoys trying to supply food and medical supplies to Jerusalem, which was under siege and cut-off by Arab armies in linkage with those same villagers. They were killing many Jews. Deir Yassin was a staging area for the villagers and regular army from various Arab armies. They were not innocents as proclaimed by the Arab nations or the Jewish Revisionists.
Jewish Historical Revisionists, by Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East Analyst & commentator
The Arab village of Deir Yassin was strategically situated on a hill overlooking the main highway entering Jerusalem as well as a number of Jerusalem’s western neighborhoods. Estimates of the town's population in 1948 vary. The last official British census, in 1945, counted 610 residents, and Arab sources believe the number had grown to 750 by April 1948.
Sharif Kanani and Nihad Zitawi, Deir Yassin, Monograph No.4, Destroyed Palestinian Villages Documentation Project (Bir Zeit: Documentation Center of Bir Zeit University, 1987), p.6.
The town was also host to several hundred temporary residents who had relocated from other parts of Jerusalem which were close to the battlefields where Arab and Jewish forces were clashing.
Uri Milstein, The War of Independence: Out of Crisis Came Decision - Volume IV (Tel Aviv: Zmora-Bitan Publishers, 1991), p. 256.
But because of Deir Yassin's strategic location, it was almost inevitable that it, too, would become a battle site.
...An "Arab Liberation Army," sponsored by the Arab League and manned by volunteers from various Arab countries, attacked Jewish communities in Palestine throughout the winter and spring of 1948. Their attacks on Jewish traffic along major routes succeeded in cutting off western Jerusalem from other areas.
...During the week prior to the IZL-Lehi action against Deir Yassin, there were a spate of shooting attacks from the village aimed at Jewish targets in the area. On Friday night, April 2, gunfire from the Deir Yassin area raked the adjacent Jewish neighborhoods of Beit Hakerem and Bayit Vegan.
"Shots in Jerusalem,"Davar, 4 April 1948, p.2.
On Sunday, April 4, commander Shaltiel received an urgent message from the intelligence officer of the Haganah's Etzioni division: "There's a gathering in Deir Yassin. Armed men left [from Deir Yassin] in the direction of [the nearby town of] lower Motza, northwest of Givat Shaul. They are shooting at passing cars."
Milstein, p. 257, citing the Israel Defense Forces Archives, War of Independence Collection 88/17, "From Hashmonai," 4 April 1948, 10:00 A.M.
That same day , the deputy commander of the Haganah's Beit Horon brigade, Michael Hapt reported to Shaltiel: "A [Jewish passenger car from Motza was attacked near the flour mill, below Deir Yassin, and is stopped there. There is rifle fire upon it. You too send an armoured vehicle with weapons. There is concern that the road is cut off."
Milstein, p. 257, citing the Israel Defense Forces Archives, War of Independence Collection 88/17, "From Sa'ar," 4 April 1948, 10:00 A.M.
An armoured vehicle carrying Lehi fighters was also attacked at the same spot that day. A Haganah intelligence officer who described the incident to his superiors reported that according to Lehi officer David Gottlieb, those of his men who disembarked from their vehicle to return fire said that the attackers appeared to be Arab soldiers rather than local villagers.
Testimony of David Gottlieb, MZ; Milstein, pp.257-258, citing the Israel Defense Forces Archives, War of Independence Collection 21/17, "From Hashmonai," 4 April 1948.
A telegram from Michael Hapt, of the Haganah's Beit Horon brigade, to the Haganah command, at 5:00 p.m. that day, urged: "In order to prevent [an attack] on lower Motza, cutting off of road to Jerusalem, and capture of position south of Tzova, Deir Yassin must be captured.
Milstein, p. 258, citing "Operations Log - Arza," 4 April 1948, 17:00 hours, Broadcast #562, Israel Defense Forces Archive, War of Independence Collection, 88/17.
Shortly before the battle of Deir Yassin, there was additional troubling news: Mordechai Gihon's lookouts reported that numerous armed men were moving between Ein Kerem and Deir Yassin. Some of the soldiers were wearing Iraqi uniforms, and while many of them had entered Deir Yassin, only a few had returned to Ein Kerem.
Milstein, p.258 (interview with Mordechai Gihon).
And just hours before the IZL-Lehi action against Deir Yassin began, Shaltiel cabled his colleague Shimon Avidan: "The Arabs in Deir Yassin have trained a mortar on the highway in order to shell the convoy [bringing supplies to besieged Jewish portions of Jerusalem."
Milstein, p.258, citing Israel Defense Forces Archive, War of Independence Collection, 228/3, Operation Log, 9 April 1948 , 2:40 a.m. - from Deir Yassin: History of a Lie, ZOA Press Release: March 9, 1998
The first of the Jewish fighting units to reach Deir Yassin was led by a truck armed with a loudspeaker. An Iraqi-born Jew, who spoke fluent Arabic, called out to the residents to leave via the western exit from Deir Yassin, which the attackers had left clear for that purpose. Soon after entering the town, however, the truck was hit by Arab gunfire and careened into a ditch. Repeated efforts by Lehi men to extract the truck, while under fire, proved unsuccessful.
Whether or not the truck's message was heard by the villagers is unclear. Several hundred Deir Yassin residents did flee, although it is not clear if they were responding to the announcements, the sound of gunfire, or word-of-mouth warnings from fellow-villagers close to the battle sites. The IZL and Lehi commanders had expected that large numbers of the residents would flee, and the remaining would surrender, perhaps after token resistance. Instead, both groups of Jewish soldiers, entering the town from different sides, immediately encountered fierce volleys of Arab rifle fire, some of it from the foreign troops who had been reported in the area.
IZL deputy commander Michael Harif, who was one of the first to enter Deir Yassin, later recalled how, early in the battle, "I saw a man in khaki run ahead. I thought he was one of us, I ran after him and told him, 'Move ahead to that house!' Suddenly he turned, pointed his weapon at me and fired. He was an Iraqi soldier. I was wounded in the leg."
Milstein interview with Harif, p.262.
Lehi's Patchiah Zalivensky later recalled that among the Arab soldiers killed by his unit was a Yugoslavian Muslim officer, whose identification papers indicated he had been with the all-Muslim units of the Nazi SS that had been organized in Yugoslavia during World War II by Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Palestinian Arab leader and Nazi collaborator.
Milstein, p.263 (interview with Zalivensky).
In an alleyway, Lehi soldier Ezra Yachin came face to face with an Arab armed with a rifle. Instantly he started to release the bolt. The measure of those fearful seconds! Who would shoot first? Who would survive? It was I who pulled the trigger first--but it didn't work. My foe turned to leap over an old wall, and as he did so he shot at me. I felt a pain in my right thigh...Dror [Mordechai Ben-Uziahu] had clambered up onto a rooftop from where he was able to spot my assailant who was dressed in the uniform of an Iraqi officer, and shot him.
Yachin's testimony is quoted at length in Lynne Reid Banks, A Torn Country: An Oral History of the Israeli <israel.html> War of Independence <warindep.html> (New York: Franklin Watts, 1982), pp. 58-65.
The substantial quantities of weapons and ammunition that the IZL and Lehi men found in Deir Yassin provided additional confirmation of earlier suspicions that the village had been turning into a heavily-armed Arab military post.
Yehuda Lapidot, deputy commander of the IZL force in Deir Yassin, later recalled: "A cache of ammunition for English rifles which we found in the village saved the day. We filled the clips for the Bren [machine-gun], distributed weapons to the boys and fought on." In another house, IZL fighterYehoshua Gorodenchik discovered an additional 20 clips of ammunition for the Bren gun.
Milstein, p.265 (interviews with Yehuda Lapidot and Yehoshua Gorodenchik).
Lehi soldiers David Gottlieb, Moshe Barzili, and Moshe Idelstein found a huge quantity of Czech rifle bullets which did not fit their rifles; they offered to trade 6,000 of them to the Haganah for 3,000 British bullets.
Milstein, p.265, citing Israel Defense Forces Archive, Yitzhak Levy collection, "Report of Yaakov Weg."
The Jewish fighters' advance into Deir Yassin was painstakingly slow because of the intense Arab firepower. The IZL's Reuven Greenberg reported later that "the Arabs fought like lions and excelled at accurate sniping." He also noted that "[Arab women] ran from the houses under fire, collected the weapons which had fallen from the hands of Arab fighters who had been wounded, and brought them back into the houses."
Testimony of Reuven Greenberg.
There were also instances in which, after storming a house, dead Arab women were found with guns in their hands, indicating that they had taken part in the battle.
Testimony of Yehoshua Gorodenchik, MZ.
"To take a house," Ezra Yachin recalled, "you had either to throw a grenade or shoot your way into it. If you were foolish enough to open doors, you got shot down--sometimes by men dressed up as women, shooting out at you in a second of surprise."
Banks, op.cit., p.62.
When they tried to storm some of the individual stone houses, the Lehi fighters were surprised to discover that most of the homes had doors made of iron, not wood as their pre-battle briefings had led them to believe. The attackers had no choice but to attach powerful explosives to the doors to blow them open, and a number of the inhabitants were inadvertently killed or wounded in the explosions.
Testimony of Yehoshua Gorodenchik, MZ.
Slowly, house by house, the Lehi forces advanced.
On the other side of the village, meanwhile, the IZL soldiers were having less success. By 7:00 a.m., the IZL commanders, stymied by the Arab resistance and their own mounting casualties, sent a messenger to the Lehi camp that they were seriously considering retreating from the town altogether. The Lehi commanders told the messenger to inform the IZL that Lehi had already penetrated the village and expected victory soon.
The IZL quickly arranged to receive a supply of explosives from their base in Givat Shaul, and proceeded to blast their way into house after house. In some cases, entire sections of the houses collapsed from the force of the explosion, burying the Arab soldiers as well as civilians who were still inside. It is unclear if the civilians had chosen to stay of their own free, or were held hostage by Arab soldiers who thought that their presence would deter the Jewish forces--a tactic frequently employed by Arab terrorists in southern Lebanon in our own era.
Milstein, pp.264-265, interviews with Ezra Yachin, Mordechai Ra'anan, Benzion Cohen and Yehuda Lapidot; Testimonies of Mordechai Ra'anan, Benzion Cohen, and Yehuda Lapidot.
At the same time, there were numerous instances of Arabs emerging from the houses and surrendering; more than 100 were taken prison by the end of the day. At least two Haganah members who were on the scene later recalled hearing the Lehi repeatedly using a loudspeaker to implore the residents to surrender.
Milstein, p.263, interview with Uri Brenner; Daniel Spicehandler's testimony, quoted in Ralph G. Martin, Golda: Golda Meir - The Romantic Years (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988), p.329.
There were also instances in which Arabs feigned surrender, then produced hidden weapons and shot at their would-be Jewish captors.
Testimony of Yehoshua Gorodenchik, MZ. Benny Morris, a harsh critic of the IZL and Lehi, has characterized Gorodenchik's testimony as "confused." (Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem (New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p.323, n.175. - from Deir Yassin: History of a Lie, ZOA Press Release: March 9, 1998
As noted earlier, Dr. Engel, who accompanied Jacques de Reynier of the Red Cross, reported that he "did not see any signs of defilement, mutilation, or rape."
Milstein, pp.269-270 (interview with Alfred Engel, 7 December 1987).
Daniel Spicehandler, a member of a Haganah unit sent to assist the IZL, said later: "So far as I saw, there was no rape or looting."
Spicehandler testimony in Martin, op.cit.
An Arab survivor of the Deir Yassin battle, Muhammad Arif Sammour, told author Eric Silver emphatically that there were no sexual attacks. Silver wrote: "Sammour, who has no reason to minimize the atrocities, is convinced that there were no sexual assault: 'I didn't hear or see anything of rape or attacks on pregnant women. None of the other survivors ever talked to me about that kind of thing. If anybody told you that, I don't believe it.'"
Sammour's statement is corroborated by the testimony of two Jewish doctors physicians, Drs. Z. Avigdori and A. Droyan. At the request of the Jewish Agency, Avigdori and Droyan were sent by the Histadrut Medical Committee [the Labor Zionist-affiliated trade union], in Jerusalem, to Deir Yassin on Monday, April 12. They examined the bodies and reported that "all the bodies were clothed, the limbs were intact, and no sign of mutilation was visible on them."
David Shaltiel, Jerusalem 1948, p.140; Aryeh Yitzhaki, "Deir Yassin--Not Through a Warped Mirror," Yediot Ahronot, 14 April 1972, p.17.
"Paradoxically, the Jews say about 250 out of 400 village inhabitants [were killed], while Arab survivors say only 110 of 1,000."
Dan Kurzman, in Genesis 1948, (OH: New American Library, Inc., 1970)
"...representatives of each of the five clans in Deir Yassin met in Jerusalem in the Moslem offices near the Al Aqsa mosque and made a list of the people who had not been found. We went through the names. It came to 116. Nothing has happened since 1948 to make me think this figure was wrong."
Muhammad Arif Sammour, quoted in Begin: The Haunted Prophet, by Eric Silver.
"I know when I speak that God is up there and God knows the truth and God will not forgive the liars," said Radwan, who puts the number of villagers killed at 93, listed in his own handwriting. "There were no rapes. It's all lies. There were no pregnant (women) who were slit open. It was propaganda that... Arabs put out so Arab armies would invade," he said. "They ended up expelling people from all of Palestine on the rumor of Deir Yassin."
Mohammed Radwan, fought and survived the Deir Yassin battle, reported by Paul Holmes, Middle East Times, 20-April-1998
In 1987, the Research and Documentation Center of Bir Zeit University, a prominent Arab university in the territory now controlled by the Palestinian Authority, published a comprehensive study of the history of Deir Yassin, as part of its "Destroyed Palestinian Villages Documentation Project." The Center's findings concerning Deir Yassin were published, in Arabic only, as the fourth booklet in its "Destroyed Arab Villages Series."
The purpose of the project, according to its directors, is "to gather information from persons who lived in these villages and were directly familiar with them, and then to compare these reports and publish them in order to preserve for future generations the special identity and particular characteristics of each village."
Kanani and Zitawi, Deir Yassin (Bir Zeit study), p.5.
The Bir Zeit study's description of the 1948 battle of Deir Yassin began with the hyperbole typical of many accounts of the event, calling it "a massacre the likes of which history has rarely known."
Kanani and Zitawi, Deir Yassin (Bir Zeit study), p.7.
But unlike the authors of any other previous study of Deir Yassin, the Bir Zeit researchers tracked down the surviving Arab eyewitness to the attack and personally interviewed each of them. "For the most part, we have gathered the information in this monograph during the months of February-May 1985 from Deir Yassin natives living in the Ramallah region, who were extremely cooperative," the Bir Zeit authors explained, listing by name twelve former Deir Yassin residents whom they had interviewed concerning the battle.
The study continued: "The [historical] sources which discuss the Deir Yassin massacre unanimously agree that number of victims ranges between 250-254; however, when we examined the names which appear in the various sources, we became absolutely convinced that the number of those killed does not exceed 120, and that the groups which carried out the massacre exaggerated the numbers in order to frighten Palestinian residents into leaving their villages and cities without resistance.”
Kanani and Zitawi, Deir Yassin (Bir Zeit study), pp.7-.8.
The authors concluded: "Below is a list of the names and ages of those killed at Deir Yassin in the massacre which took place on April 9, 1948, which was compiled by us on the basis of the testimony of Deir Yassin natives. We have invested great effort in checking it and in making certain of each name on it, such that we can say, with no hesitation, that it is the most accurate list of its type until today." A list of 107 people killed and twelve wounded followed.
Kanani and Zitawi, Deir Yassin (Bir Zeit study), p.57.- from Deir Yassin: History of a Lie, ZOA Press Release: March 9, 1998
"Apart from the military aspect, there is a moral aspect to the story of Dir Yassin. At that village, whose name was publicized throughout the world, both sides suffered heavy casualties. We had four killed and nearly forty wounded. The number of casualties was nearly forty percent of the total number of the attackers. The Arab troops suffered casualties nearly three times as heavy. The fighting was thus very severe. Yet the hostile propaganda, disseminated throughout the world, deliberately ignored the fact that the civilian population of Dir Yassin was actually given a warning by us before the battle began. One of our tenders carrying a loud speaker was stationed at the entrance to the village and it exhorted in Arabic all, children and aged to leave their houses and to take shelter on the slopes of the hill. By giving this humane warning our fighters threw away the element of complete surprise, and thus increased their own risk in the ensuing battle. A substantial number of the inhabitants obeyed the warning and they were unhurt. A few did not leave their stone houses - perhaps because of the confusion. The fire of the enemy was murderous - to which the number of our casualties bears eloquent testimony. Our men were compelled to fight for every house; to overcome the enemy they used large numbers of hand grenades. And the civilians who had disregarded our warnings suffered inevitable casualties.
"The education which we gave our soldiers throughout the years of revolt was based on the observance of the traditional laws of war. We never broke them unless the enemy first did so and thus forced us, in accordance with the accepted custom of war, to apply reprisals. I am convinced, too, that our officers and men wished to avoid a single unnecessary casualty in the Dir Yassin battle. But those who throw stones of denunciation at the conquerors of Dir Yassin would do well not to don the cloak of hypocrisy.
"In connection with the capture of Dir Yassin the Jewish Agency found it necessary to send a letter of apology to Abdullah, whom Mr. Ben Gurion, at a moment of great political emotion, called 'the wise ruler who seeks the good of his people and this country.' The 'wise ruler,' whose mercenary forces demolished Gush Etzion and flung the bodies of its heroic defenders to birds of prey, replied with feudal superciliousness. He rejected the apology and replied that the Jews were all to blame and that he did not believe in the existence of 'dissidents.' Throughout the Arab world and the world at large a wave of lying propaganda was let loose about 'Jewish atrocities.'
"The enemy propaganda was designed to besmirch our name. In the result it helped us. Panic overwhelmed the Arabs of Eretz Israel. Kolonia village, which had previously repulsed every attack of the Haganah, was evacuated overnight and fell without further fighting. Beit-Iksa was also evacuated. These two places overlooked the main road; and their fall, together with the capture of Kastel by the Haganah, made it possible to keep open the road to Jerusalem. In the rest of the country, too, the Arabs began to flee in, even before they clashed with Jewish forces. Not what happened at Dir Yassin, but what was invented about Dir Yassin, helped to carve the way to our decisive victories on the battlefield. The legend of Dir Yassin helped us in particular in the saving of Tiberias and the conquest of Haifa".
"The Revolt", Menachem Begin, Dell Publishing, NY, 1977, pp. 225-227
"To counteract the loss of Dir yassin, a village of strategic importance, Arab headquarters at Ramallah broadcast a crude atrocity story, alleging a massacre by Irgun troops of women and children in the village. Certain Jewish officials, fearing the Irgun men as political rivals, seized upon this Arab cruel propaganda to smear the Irgun. An eminent Rabbi was induced to reprimand the Irgun before he had time to sift the truth. Out of evil, however, good came. This Arab propaganda spread a legend of amongst Arabs and Arab troops, who were seized with panic at the mention of Irgun soldiers. The legend was worth half a dozen battalions to the forces of Israel. The `Dir Yassin Massacre' lie is still propagated by Jew-haters all over the world".
A footnote from "The Revolt", Menachem Begin pp.226-7
"Deir Yassin has ever since been the rallying call for the Arabs and the enemies of Israel and of the Jewish people. Arafat compares it to Auschwitz. It is one of the great hoaxes of the 20th century, comparable to the libel that Jews drank Christian blood...The fight for Deir Yassin was part of the war and a necessary battle for Jewish survival. The Irgun, under Menachem Begin, warned the Arabs and asked them to evacuate their women and children. Hundreds left, but hundreds stayed. A pitched battle ensued, and when the smoke cleared, 120 Arabs were killed, 40 Jews were seriously injured and four Jews were dead...[The 'massacre' claim] has long since been discredited by the Israeli government and every other historical study. But like all libels, it stands off truth and proof."
Syndicated columnist Sid Zion, The New York Daily News, March 23, 1998:
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