Israel and the History of a Ethnic Cleansing
By Nizar Sakhnini
Massacres were part and parcel of the Zionist project in Palestine. They aimed at intimidating the Arabs and make them leave the country.
Dozens of massacres were committed against the Arabs starting with the Massacre at Baldat al-Shaikh in December 1947 and not ending with the massacres in Qana in South Lebanon in 1996 and 2006.
Another brutal massacre is being committed in Gaza today. Hundreds of Palestinian Arabs have been killed and/or wounded.
Given below, is a list of some of the massacres committed by the Zionists since 1947:
Massacre in Baldat al-Shaikh (31 December 1947): Haganah gang members stormed the village of Baldat al-Shaikh in pursuit of unarmed citizens. The death toll was about 600 people, most of whose corpses were found inside the houses of the village.
Massacre in Deir Yassin (10 April 1948): A brutal massacre was committed in Deir Yassin: over 250 men, women and children were killed.
Massacre in Lid (11 July 1948): A commando unit led by Moshe Dayan carried out this massacre. The unit stormed the city in the evening and many of the Arab citizens of the city took refuge from the attack in the Dahmash Mosque. The Zionists reached the mosque and killed 176 civilians who took refuge to the mosque raising the victims of the massacre in Lid to 426 Palestinian Arabs.
Once the slaughter had come to an end, the unarmed civilians were led to the city’s sports stadium, where the young men were detained. Then the families were given a mere half-hour to leave the city for the area where the Jordanian Army was located. They were to go there on foot and without food or water, which caused the deaths of many women, children and elderly people.
Massacre in the Village of Eilaboun (30 October 1948): The village was attacked on October 29, 1948. The Israeli forces managed to enter the town at five o’clock a.m. on October 30.
The people of Elabun took refuge in the two local churches where yellow and white flags of submission were flown. Marcos Daoud, the Greek Catholic priest, told the Israelis, “I put my village under the protection of the State of Israel”. The Israeli answer was as follows:
1. Thirteen young men were murdered.
2. The surviving young men were taken as POWs.
3. The women and children were marched off to the Lebanese border under severe conditions, which resulted in many casualties.
4. Looting and desecration of the churches followed the evacuation of the village.
Massacre in Dawayma (15 October 1948): Operation Ten Plagues was launched against the Egyptians in the South. Mass murder took place in many of the towns on the southern front during the October offensive. One of the worst massacres during the offensive took place at Dawayma.
The American Consul in Jerusalem, William Burdett, had heard about the visit of the UN team to Dawayma. After making inquiries, on 6 November, he reported to Washington, “Investigation by UN indicates massacre occurred but observers are unable to determine number of persons involved”. Estimates vary considerably but probably about 300 Arab civilians were slaughtered in the town.
The Massacre at Qibya (14 October 1953): The fatalities from the massacre numbered 67, including men, women and children, while hundreds of others were injured.
The Massacre at Kufr Qasim (29 October 1956): A curfew was imposed on the village of Kufr Qasim, after which a number of children and elderly people took off to inform the young men who were working in the fields outside the village about the curfew. However, the forces stationed outside the village killed them in cold blood, murdering the young men before they could reach the village. The death toll for this massacre came to 49 civilians, including a number of children and elderly people.
Massacre at Sabra and Shatila (18 September 1982): A plan had been laid to storm the Sabra and Shatila camps for Palestinian refugees in the Beirut area since the first day of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Its purpose was to weaken the Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut and force the Palestinians to emigrate outside Lebanon.
Before sundown on Thursday, September 16, 1982, the storming of the camps began. The massacre itself, which was carried out by the Lebanese kata’ib (Falangist) militia, continued for approximately 36 hours. During the operation, the Israeli army surrounded the camps, preventing anyone from entering or leaving. In addition, the occupation soldiers set off incandescent bombs by night to facilitate the militia’s mission. The Zionist soldiers also provided other logistical services to the Maronite militiamen during the massacre.
Information about the massacre began to leak out after a number of children and women fled to the Gaza hospital in the Shatila camp, where they informed doctors of what was happening. News of the massacre likewise reached some foreign journalists on Friday morning, September 17, 1982. The bloodletting went on until noon on Saturday, September 18.
Three thousand two hundred ninety-seven (3,297) men, women and children were killed within forty hours, between September 16-18, 1982. Among the dead bodies, 136 Lebanese were found; 1,800 victims were killed in the streets and alleys of the camp, while 1,097 were killed in the Gaza Hospital and 400 others in the Akka Hospital.
Commenting on the massacre, Menachem Begin described the Palestinian resistance fighters to the Israeli Knesset as “animals that walk on two legs”.
Massacre at the Ibrahimi Mosque (25 February 1994): Before worshippers had completed the dawn prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, the blast of hand grenades exploding and the sound of bullet spray filled the mosque. Bullets and splinters from the grenades pierced the heads, necks and backs of the worshippers, wounding more than 350.
The crime began when terrorist Baroukh Goldstein and a group of Jewish settlers from the Kiryat Arba settlement entered the mosque. Goldstein was carrying his military machine gun and hand grenades along with large amounts of ammunition. He stood behind one of the pillars in the mosque and waited until the worshippers had prostrated, then opened machine gun fire on them. Meanwhile, others helped him load the ammunition, which included the internationally banned explosive dumdum lead.
Goldstein carried out the massacre at a time when Zionist soldiers had closed the mosque doors to prevent worshippers from fleeing. They also prevented those coming from outside the mosque precincts from coming in to rescue the wounded. Later, others were shot to death by occupation soldiers outside the mosque and at the cemetery during the funeral processions of those who had been martyred in the mosque. The massacre led to fifty deaths, twenty-nine of which occurred inside the mosque.
The Massacre at Qana (18 April 1996): The Israeli artillery and helicopters shelled a shelter inside the Fijian battalion working within the UN forces in south Lebanon, using bombs which explode in the air in order to increase casualties among the ranks of civilians who might try to seek refuge in shelters. The operation led to the deaths of 160 civilians, most of them women, children and the elderly who were unable to flee toward Beirut and were thus obliged to seek refuge in the shelter at the Fijian Battalion headquarters in the Lebanese village of Qana.
Another Massacre at Qana (2006): During Israel’s ‘open war’ against Lebanon using Hezbollah’s kidnapping of 2 Israeli soldiers as a pretext, another massacre was committed by Israel in Qana. About 54 innocent Lebanese civilians, including about 37 children, were killed through an air raid.
– Nizar Sakhnini, a Palestinian researcher, contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.