One would have thought, rightly, that an episode such as the 1948 battle for Deir Yassin would have been forgotten by now. You’d be wrong. It is still being used to besmirch Israel in the world’s media and especially on the internet.
Sixty two years after this so called atrocity Google offers 44,200 Deir Yassin references the year 2,009 – to be compared with 42,400 for 2009 for the Hiroshima atom bomb. Isn’t it a disgrace on the part of Israel’s enemies who apparently think it not unreasonable to compare these two events as if they were in any way similar?
Here in Mr. Begin’s own words is what actually happened – excerpted from his book The Revolt published in 1951.
“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 per cent of the total number of attackers. The Arab troops suffered casualties three time as heavy. The fighting was thus very severe. (Emphasis added.) Yet the hostile propaganda, disseminated throughout the world, deliberately ignored the fact that the civilian population was actually given warning 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 women, children and aged to leave their houses to take shelter on the slope 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 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 to our soldiers throughout the years of revolt was based on the traditional laws of war. We never broke them unless the enemy first did so and thus forced us, in 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, who Mr. Ben Gurion, at a moment of great political emotion called ‘the wise ruler who seeks the good of his people and his country.’ The ‘wise ruler’ whose mercenary forces demolished Gush Etzion and flung the bodies of its heroic defenders to the birds of prey replied with feudal superciliousness. He rejected the apology and replied that the Jews were all to blame and that he did no 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 the road open to Jerusalem. In the rest of the country too, the Arabs began to flee in terror, even before they clashed with Jewish forces.”