Thursday, November 23, 2017

Reflections on Deir Yassin, the Nakba, and War Crimes - by Dr. Arnon Groiss

...Anyone expressing an aversion to war crimes should be expected to do so with regard to all parties to a conflict. Accusations of war crimes directed at one side only, without the slightest sign of self-criticism regarding one’s own atrocities, indicate a fundamental lack of integrity. Moreover, alongside denunciation of past cases, one should emphatically act against incitement to future war crimes, such as those spelled out or implied in the new Palestinian schoolbooks. Anyone who fails to do so is actually encouraging war crimes.

Dr. Arnon Groiss..
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 653..
22 November '17..

Two important Hebrew-language books were published recently: Deir Yassin: The End of the Myth by Eliezer Tauber (Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan, Dvir 2017), and Nakba and Survival: The Story of the Palestinians Who Remained in Haifa and the Galilee, 1948-1956 by Adel Manna (Van Leer Institute Press, Hakibbutz Hameuhad Publishing House 2017). The value of these books emanates from their comprehensive presentation of data and facts hitherto not discussed.

Prof. Tauber, of Bar-Ilan University, gathered all the available testimonies related to the Deir Yassin battle from all involved parties, including both villagers and members of the attacking Etzel and Lehi underground groups. On the basis of these testimonies he provides a minute-by-minute analysis of the battle in the village’s various areas, indicating the death circumstances of each victim.

According to Tauber, Deir Yassin was the first case of house-to-house fighting in the 1948 war, as the defenders did not run away but fought from their houses until the end. The attackers broke into the houses by blowing up their doors, hurling hand grenades inside, and storming in while shooting. This resulted in many casualties, including non-combatants. Yet except for one case in which an attacker shot dead non-combatants who had surrendered and stepped out of their house, all the rest were killed during house-to-house fighting.

This conclusion is based on testimonies gathered from both surviving villagers and attackers.

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