Deir Yassin Massacre - April 9, 1948
Or, the other shoe that fell; a symbol of the Palestinian Nakba, which sparked 750,000 Palestinians to flee their homes crying “Deir Yassin!”
This anniversary does not only mark the gruesome massacre carried out by three terrorist gangs against unarmed Palestinian civilians (which the April 13, 1948 New York Times coverage reported Zionist forces went “house-to-house” killing 254 Palestinians, including 25 pregnant women who were bayoneted and 52 children who were maimed in front of their mothers before being beheaded and the mothers slain) but it also marks the beginning of the policy of cleansing Palestine’s villages so as to demolish what was once known as Palestine through depopulation.
Let’s not forget, however, that Dier Yassin not only had a “good reputation” but it also stood neutral during the 1947-1948 Civil War between Arabs and Jews, and that Dier Yassin had prevented Palestinian fighters from using its land to fight the Zionist terrorists, in addition to the fact that it had signed a non-aggression treaty with the Zionists. Therefore, I believe the moral lesson out of this is that:
“Deir Yasin must always remain a warning and a reminder to every Palestinian, to every Arab as the village that signed a “peace agreement” with the Zionists and ended up being ethnically cleansed, wiped off the map and its residents either savagely massacred or made refugees.”
Lastly, I believe it is only ironic that Dier Yassin, where all of this insanity began, is now the site of Kfaur Shaul Mental Health Centre; an Israeli public psychiatric hospital.
Samira Shackle, Deir Yassin remembered, Middle East Monitor, April 09 2013
Deir Yassin was a peaceful village that had signed a non-aggression pact, but fell into the UN’s plans for the independent Jerusalem area. What happened there was not unique: there were other massacres. But it marked the first time that Jewish forces really went on the offensive, and had far-reaching consequences that explain the fact that it retains such symbolic value.
News of the killings at Deir Yassin and other villages sparked terror within the Palestinian community, causing hundreds of thousands of them to flee from their towns and villages as Jewish troops advanced. It also strengthened the resolve of neighbouring Arab nations to intervene. On 15 May 1948, one day after the British Mandate ended and Israel declared its independence, several Arab armies invaded and the 1948 Arab-Israeli war began.
Menachem Begin, leader of the Irgun, said at the time: “We created terror among the Arabs and all the villages around. In one blow, we changed the strategic situation.” Indeed, the events changed the course of the conflict. Although the two groups carrying them out were underground, extremist militia, both of their leaders - Begin, and Yitzhak Shamir of the Stern Gang - later became prime ministers of the newly formed state of Israel. [In Full]
April 8, 2013
On this day, we reflect on the horrors of World War II and the Nazi genocidal policies that led to the killing of some 11 million Jews, Gypsies, Socialists, gays, people with disabilities and dissenters all deemed unfit or a threat.
Those of us who are Jews of European descent remember our loved ones and re-tell heart-wrenching stories of death, suffering and survival. But we do so with a steadfast refusal to be held hostage by the traumas experienced by our ancestors.
Instead, we take from these stories the lesson that “never again” means never, not for anyone.
On Yom HaShoah, we are reminded to stand against dehumanization no matter where it happens. We are reminded that our histories of displacement and persecution and resistance bind us in responsibility to others who today are considered a threat for their very existence. We re-dedicate ourselves to the belief that all people are chosen, all land is holy, and all life is sacred. May we take up the work to honor that belief today, and all days.
By Noa Yachot
April 9, 2013
Statements challenging the national narrative aren’t exactly common in Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day. So it was particularly refreshing to read on the Walla news portal about a different sort of speech delivered in honor of the day. According to the site [Hebrew], Havka Folman-Raban, who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, said the following words in a ceremony attended by Israeli youth at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum in northern Israel:
Continue the uprising, but a different uprising, a modern one, against all evil. Rise up against racism, violence and hatred of the other, and the inequality. Rise up against the occupation, we mustn’t rule and humiliate another people. It is important to achieve peace and an end to the cycle of bloodshed. My generation fought for peace and I so want to be here to achieve it.
Copyright © 2013 +972 Magazine.
This week writer Iain Banks announced he has cancer and may have just months to live. Here he explains why, in 2010, he decided his novels would no longer be published in Israel
By Iain Banks
April 5, 2013
I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign because, especially in our instantly connected world, an injustice committed against one, or against one group of people, is an injustice against all, against every one of us; a collective injury.
My particular reason for participating in the cultural boycott of Israel is that, first of all, I can; I’m a writer, a novelist, and I produce works that are, as a rule, presented to the international market. This gives me a small extra degree of power over that which I possess as a (UK) citizen and a consumer. Secondly, where possible when trying to make a point, one ought to be precise, and hit where it hurts. The sports boycott of South Africa when it was still run by the racist apartheid regime helped to bring the country to its senses because the ruling Afrikaaner minority put so much store in their sporting prowess. Rugby and cricket in particular mattered to them profoundly, and their teams’ generally elevated position in the international league tables was a matter of considerable pride. When they were eventually isolated by the sporting boycott – as part of the wider cultural and trade boycott – they were forced that much more persuasively to confront their own outlaw status in the world.
A sporting boycott of Israel would make relatively little difference to the self-esteem of Israelis in comparison to South Africa; an intellectual and cultural one might help make all the difference, especially now that the events of the Arab spring and the continuing repercussions of the attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla peace convoy have threatened both Israel’s ability to rely on Egypt’s collusion in the containment of Gaza, and Turkey’s willingness to engage sympathetically with the Israeli regime at all. Feeling increasingly isolated, Israel is all the more vulnerable to further evidence that it, in turn, like the racist South African regime it once supported and collaborated with, is increasingly regarded as an outlaw state.
I was able to play a tiny part in South Africa’s cultural boycott, ensuring that – once it thundered through to me that I could do so – my novels weren’t sold there (while subject to an earlier contract, under whose terms the books were sold in South Africa, I did a rough calculation of royalties earned each year and sent that amount to the ANC). Since the 2010 attack on the Turkish-led convoy to Gaza in international waters, I’ve instructed my agent not to sell the rights to my novels to Israeli publishers. I don’t buy Israeli-sourced products or food, and my partner and I try to support Palestinian-sourced products wherever possible.
It doesn’t feel like much, and I’m not completely happy doing even this; it can sometimes feel like taking part in collective punishment (although BDS is, by definition, aimed directly at the state and not the people), and that’s one of the most damning charges that can be levelled at Israel itself: that it engages in the collective punishment of the Palestinian people within Israel, and the occupied territories, that is, the West Bank and – especially – the vast prison camp that is Gaza. The problem is that constructive engagement and reasoned argument demonstrably have not worked, and the relatively crude weapon of boycott is pretty much all that’s left. (To the question, “What about boycotting Saudi Arabia?” – all I can claim is that cutting back on my consumption of its most lucrative export was a peripheral reason for giving up the powerful cars I used to drive, and for stopping flying, some years ago. I certainly wouldn’t let a book of mine be published there either, although – unsurprisingly, given some of the things I’ve said about that barbaric excuse for a country, not to mention the contents of the books themselves – the issue has never arisen, and never will with anything remotely resembling the current regime in power.)
As someone who has always respected and admired the achievements of the Jewish people – they’ve probably contributed even more to world civilisation than the Scots, and we Caledonians are hardly shy about promoting our own wee-but-influential record and status – and has felt sympathy for the suffering they experienced, especially in the years leading up to and then during the second world war and the Holocaust, I’ll always feel uncomfortable taking part in any action that – even if only thanks to the efforts of the Israeli propaganda machine – may be claimed by some to target them, despite the fact that the state of Israel and the Jewish people are not synonymous. Israel and its apologists can’t have it both ways, though: if they’re going to make the rather hysterical claim that any and every criticism of Israeli domestic or foreign policy amounts to antisemitism, they have to accept that this claimed, if specious, indivisibility provides an opportunity for what they claim to be the censure of one to function as the condemnation of the other.
The particular tragedy of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people is that nobody seems to have learned anything. Israel itself was brought into being partly as a belated and guilty attempt by the world community to help compensate for its complicity in, or at least its inability to prevent, the catastrophic crime of the Holocaust. Of all people, the Jewish people ought to know how it feels to be persecuted en masse, to be punished collectively and to be treated as less than human. For the Israeli state and the collective of often unlikely bedfellows who support it so unquestioningly throughout the world to pursue and support the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people – forced so brutally off their land in 1948 and still under attack today – to be so blind to the idea that injustice is injustice, regardless not just on whom it is visited, but by whom as well, is one of the defining iniquities of our age, and powerfully implies a shamingly low upper limit on the extent of our species’ moral intelligence.
The solution to the dispossession and persecution of one people can never be to dispossess and persecute another. When we do this, or participate in this, or even just allow this to happen without criticism or resistance, we only help ensure further injustice, oppression, intolerance, cruelty and violence in the future.
We may see ourselves as many tribes, but we are one species, and in failing to speak out against injustices inflicted on some of our number and doing what we can to combat those without piling further wrongs on earlier ones, we are effectively collectively punishing ourselves.
The BDS campaign for justice for the Palestinian people is one I would hope any decent, open-minded person would support. Gentile or Jew, conservative or leftist, no matter who you are or how you see yourself, these people are our people, and collectively we have turned our backs on their suffering for far too long.
Extracted from Our People by Iain Banks, from Generation Palestine: Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, edited by Rich Wiles, published by Pluto Press. To order a copy for £11.99 with free UK p&p go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop or call 0330 333 6846
Copyright © 2013 Iain Banks.
Happy Easter From Occupied birth place of Jesus , Palestine !
In the annual Palm Sunday procession, Palestinian Christians carry signs naming their West Bank communities, all of which are cut off from Jerusalem by the Israeli separation barrier, requiring their residents to obtain special permits to enter, March 24, 2013. Such restrictions have dramatically reduced the number of Palestinians able to participate in religious traditions of any faith in Jerusalem
Palestinian Christians protest Israeli permit regime during Palm Sunday procession .(x)
During the annual Palm Sunday procession, Palestinian Christians protest permits delayed and denied during the Easter season. Photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org
Whether during Ramadan or Easter, every year, Palestinians with West Bank IDs face challenges entering Jerusalem for religious worship. Despite claims by Israeli authorities of granting more permits and relaxing restrictions, each year thousands of worshipers are denied entry.
This Easter season, early reports indicate that Palestinian Christian communities from the northern West Bank had to cancel their Palm Sunday celebrations in Jerusalem due to a lack of permits. Parishes from the Bethlehem and Ramallah areas received between 30% and 40% of the permits they requested.
One individual from the Bethlehem area lamented that while he was granted entry, the rest of his family was turned away at the checkpoint. Such arbitrary policies are typical with Israel’s permitting system, which rarely provides a coherent rationale for who is granted and who is denied, other the than the catch-all excuse of “security reasons”.
Palestinian Christians and Muslims rightly ask why if they are granted special permission to visit Jerusalem for religious holiday seasons–and are at that time not considered a security threat–why they are not allowed to freely visit throughout the year.
The heavy Israeli military presence along the procession route contrasts with the original meaning of the holiday. Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem, marking the beginning of the Christian Holy Week. According to the Christian scriptures, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and the celebrating people there lay down their cloaks in front of him and waved palm branches as a symbol of victory. Additional symbolism included his choice to ride on a donkey, perhaps referring to Eastern traditions that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war. A king came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war and rode upon a donkey when he wanted to point out he was coming in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would thus symbolize his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king.
The Gospel of Luke also contains this prescient passage of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem: “As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’”