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Deir Yassin: The End Jews and Arabs, into one story.

I used
a huge number of testimonies and
records from 21 archives (including
of a Myth Israeli, Palestinian, British, American,
UN and Red Cross), many of them
Eliezer Tauber
yet unreleased to the public, and hun-
Deir Yassin is one of the founding dreds of other sources. My findings
myths of the Palestinian narrative, were basically two: no massacre took
according to which Israelis mur- place in Deir Yassin, but on the other
dered 254 people, committed rapes, hand, the false rumors spread by the
and other gender-oriented atroci- Palestinian leadership about a massa-
ties in a peaceful 1948 Palestinian cre, rapes and other atrocities, drove
village. For the past five years, I the Palestinian population to leave
have carried out an in-depth re- their homes and run away, becoming
search into the affair, learned to a major incentive for the creation of
know the village, who lived there the Palestinian refugee problem.
and where, their names, and above
all, the exact circumstances of No Massacre
death of each of the people killed Deir Yassin was not the peaceful vil-
there. The results were astounding, lage many later claimed it to be, but a
but clear. There was no massacre in fortified village with scores of armed
Deir Yassin. No rapes. Lots of un- combatants. Its relations with the ad-
founded Palestinian propaganda. jacent Jewish neighborhoods were
On 9 April 1948, combined forces troubled for decades and the Jews be-
of the Jewish Etzel and Lehi under- lieved it to endanger the only road
ground organizations attacked Deir from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, thus con-
Yassin, an Arab village west of Jeru- stituting part of the Arab siege of
salem. It was four months after the Jewish Jerusalem. Therefore, alt-
eruption of hostilities between Jews hough later denying it for political
and Arabs in Palestine, and about a reasons, the Jewish main militia in
month before the termination of the 1948, the Haganah, sanctioned the
British mandate and the establishment attack and later took part in it by
of the State of Israel. The nature of means of its striking force, the Pal-
this attack became one of the most mach.
controversial issues in the history of A ten-hour fierce battle, in the
the Arab-Israeli conflict, serving the presence of a civilian population,
Palestinians as a proof for Israeli in- ended in the victory of Etzel and
humanity. For almost seven decades, Lehi. No massacre took place. When
an anti-Israeli biased literature de- the battle ended, the killing stopped.
scribed it as an intentional and delib- “I believe that most of those who
erate massacre of defenseless Arab were killed were among the fighters
villagers, accompanied by rapes and and the women and children who
other atrocities. helped the fighters,” one of the Arab
What really happened in Deir survivors was later to testify. Fur-
Yassin? Contrary to what one could thermore, the Arab villagers got an
expect, I found that the testimonies of advance warning to evacuate the vil-
the Jewish attackers, on the one hand, lage, which 700 of them followed.
and the Arab survivors, on the other The attackers took additional 200 vil-
hand, were surprisingly similar, at lagers prisoner and safely released
times almost identical. My methodol- them in Arab Jerusalem. Only 101
ogy, therefore, was to integrate the Arabs were killed, a quarter of them
testimonies of both parties involved, active combatants and most of the rest
in combat conditions. The assailants was a flight mainly motivated by
also suffered casualties. fears of a massacre that had never
happened.
The Creation of the Palestinian
Refugee Problem Horror Propaganda
For psychological warfare considera- I further investigated the horror prop-
tions, Etzel reported 200 Arabs killed, aganda about the affair spread from
twice more than the actual number, 1948 to the present. The following is
enthusiastically adopted by the Pales- just a typical story, repeatedly cited,
tinian leadership in Jerusalem, which lately by the exiled Muslim preacher,
increased it to 254 and added rapes Yusuf Qaradawi: “As a climax of
and other gender-oriented atrocities. cruelty certain Jewish terrorists laid
Hussein Khalidi, the senior Arab au- wagers on the sex of the unborn ba-
thority in 1948 Jerusalem, was of the bies of expectant mothers. The
opinion that, “We must make the wretched women were cruelly disem-
most of this.” “We should give this boweled alive, their wombs drawn out
the utmost propaganda possible be- and searched for the evidence which
cause the Arab countries apparently would determine the winner.”
are not interested in assisting us and However, I found that not only
we are facing a catastrophe.” “So we Palestinians or Muslim preachers
are forced to give a picture – not what have promoted the massacre narra-
is actually happening – but we had to tive, but also Westerners. “Deir Yas-
exaggerate.” Khalidi did it in order to sin Remembered” is an organization
prevent a catastrophe (Nakbah), but founded in the United States, interest-
he created one. ed in building a memorial to com-
“Dr Khalidi was the one who memorate the affair in a location
caused the catastrophe,” one of the overlooking Yad Vashem institute,
Arab survivors ruled. “Instead of commemorating the Holocaust, ap-
working in our favor, the propaganda parently in order to draw some analo-
worked in favor of the Jews. Whole gy between the two. The equation
villages and towns fled because what recurs in their writings, arguing that
they heard had happened in Deir Yas- describing the massacre “as false, ex-
sin.” The Palestinian leadership in- aggerated, or in dispute” is tanta-
tended to exploit the affair to lay mount to Holocaust revisionism. My
pressure on the Arab states to send research of the affair puts to rest any
their armies to Palestine to fight the serious questioning of whether there
Jews. It turned to be a boomerang. was, or was not, a massacre at Deir
Following the rule, that women’s Yassin.
honor comes before land, the moment Professor Eliezer Tauber, a former
the Palestinians heard about rapes dean in Bar-Ilan University, Israel, is
they started to leave. an expert on the emergence of Arab
Israelis and Palestinians believe in nationalism, the formation of the Ar-
two myths about the creation of the ab states, and the early phases of the
Palestinian refugee problem. The Is- Arab-Israeli conflict. He has pub-
raelis claim that the Palestinians fol- lished extensively on these topics.
lowed the command of their leaders Professor Tauber is now looking for a
to evacuate their homes temporarily publisher for his newest book, “The
and then return with the victorious Massacre That Never Was: The Myth
Arab armies, but that did not happen. of Deir Yassin and the Creation of the
The Palestinians claim that the Israe- Palestinian Refugee Problem.”
lis expelled them in 1948. The true
story of the 1948 Palestinian exodus