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RE: [JustPeaceUK] FW: [Mew] Deir Yassin: the conflict as mass psychosis

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  • Deborah Maccoby
    It actually isn t true to say that Plan D didn t call for mass expulsions: here is one of the key passages from Plan D (in practice it applied to most
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 12, 2005
      It actually isn't true to say that Plan D didn't call for mass
      expulsions: here is one of the key passages from Plan D (in practice it
      applied to most Palestinian villages):

      "b)4. Mounting operations against enemy population centers located
      inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being
      used as bases by an active armed force. These operations can be divided
      into the following categories: Destruction of villages (setting fire to,
      blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those
      population centers which are difficult to control continuously. Mounting
      search and control operations according to the following guidelines:
      encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the
      event of resistance, the. armed force must be destroyed and the
      population must be expelled outside the borders of the state."

      Also Benny Morris writes in "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee
      Problem Revisited"

      "In May and June (1948) Mapam's leaders assessed that Deir Yassin had
      been one of the two pivotal events in the exodus of Palestine's Arabs
      (the other was the fall of Arab Haifa). This, more or less, was also the
      judgement of HIS-AD (Haganah Intelligence Service - Arab Department),
      which, in its mid-war report on the causes and nature of the exodus,
      defined Deir Yassin as a "decisive accelerating factor" in the general

      So Deir Yassin wasn't just one event in a cycle of violence, as Ami
      Isseroff makes out; it was certainly pivotal and can be seen as a symbol
      of the whole Nakba - so remembrance of Deir Yassin means remembrance of
      the whole massive injustice against the Palestinians. This is why I
      have attended DYR commemorations in the past, and I think it is
      important for Jews to face up to and acknowledge the Nakba. But the
      problem is that DYR has now become mixed up with anti-Semitic regressive
      Christian ideas and is being exploited as a means of demonising Jews and
      is seen not just as a symbol of massive injustice - acknowledgement of
      which can lead to reconciliation - but of a kind of cosmic sin. I know
      most of the people at the commemoration will not have seen it as such,
      but it is surely very troubling that the people running DYR obviously do
      see it like this. The combination of Shamir on the Board, Gilad Atzmon
      performing and Paul Eisen's "Jewish Power" article just made it
      impossible for me personally to attend, but none of us have called for a
      mass boycott and it was just up to everyone to make up his or her own


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Abe Hayeem [mailto:abe.hayeem@...]
      Sent: 12 April 2005 00:10
      To: Just Peace UK
      Subject: [JustPeaceUK] FW: [Mew] Deir Yassin: the conflict as mass

      This is an article by Ami Isseroff who published on his website the eye
      witness account of Meir Peled of the Haganah of the massacre. These are
      his current observations on Deir Yassin and the result on the whole
      conflict. Abe

      Deir Yassin: The Conflict as Mass Psychosis

      April 9 is the anniversary of the attack by revisionist Zionists on the
      Arab village of Deir Yassin in 1948. This attack, which apparently
      resulted in the massacre of about 100 Arab inhabitants, has attracted a
      disproportionate amount of attention from partisans of the Palestinian
      cause. Deir Yassin, in more senses than one, represents the whole
      Palestine/Israel conflict in miniature. Palestinian advocates have made
      Deir Yassin a symbol of the 1948 Nakba tragedy (the flight/expulsion of
      refugees from Palestine), a blameless "righteous victim" at the hands of
      a vicious enemy.

      However, there is another sense in which Deir Yassin is symbolic of the
      conflict. The whole conflict can be viewed as a long series of "Deir
      Yassin massacres," perpetrated without cause, in the minds of the
      protagonists, by either side, on blameless victims of the other. In each
      case, the facts are totally denied or ignored by partisans of one side,
      and exaggerated to monstrous proportions by the other side. When two
      peoples are condemned to continually relive the same plot with different
      characters and places, history and historical truths cease to be solely
      academic subjects. The history of the Deir Yassin massacre and the
      perception of that history and the psychology of that perception, can
      therefore give us insight into the processes that sustain the conflict.

      The facts of the attack as known are presented at a Web site I created
      at http://www.ariga.com/peacewatch/dy. Briefly, on April 9, 1948, the
      dissident Jewish Irgun and Lehi underground groups attacked the village
      of Deir Yassin,
      at the entrance to Jerusalem, though the village had had a defense pact
      with the Jewish agency. In the attack, four of the attackers and over a
      hundred villagers were killed, many of them women and children.
      According to an affidavit provided by an Irgun commander, about 80
      prisoners were shot. A number of witnesses, Jewish and Arab, reported
      independently that a group of about 15 persons were taken to a quarry
      and shot. Me'ir Pail, a Palmach (Zionist underground) officer who spied
      on the attack, and two or three additional witnesses, reported women
      children and old men shot at close range.
      The Zionist executive apologized for this attack, which was done by
      forces not
      under its control. The Palestinians subsequently exacted revenge by
      killing about 80 Jews in a convoy to Hadassah hospital, and another 50
      who had surrendered at Gush Etzion.

      I was surprised and dismayed at the reactions elicited by my Web site
      and by any discussion of Deir Yassin. On the one hand, most pro-Israel
      visitors insist that the massacre never took place at all, even though
      the Israel government decided some time ago to teach about the massacre
      as part of the school history curriculum. For insisting on telling the
      same truth that is taught in Israeli schools, I have been called
      "traitor," "obstacle to peace" and "self-hating Jew."

      On the other hand, pro-Palestinians are insistent that this massacre,
      perpetrated by an inexperienced and undisciplined group of dissident
      typifies all of the accomplishments of Zionism in Palestine from its
      inception, and was part of a Zionist plot to expel the Arabs of
      Palestine. Each year Palestinians and their partisans, including
      so-called "peace" groups, commemorate the Deir Yassin massacre and
      insist on turning it into a hate Israel platform. Would-be "historians"
      have tried to link Deir Yassin with Plan Daleth (Plan D) of the
      Hagannah. However, Plan D did not envisage massacring anyone, nor did it
      call for massive permanent expulsions, and the attack on Deir Yassin,
      while tolerated by the Jerusalem Hagannah commander, Shaltiel, was not
      part of the Hagannah plan.

      It seems that no amount of proof would convince either side, and that
      the opinions are not susceptible to empirical evidence at all. Every
      irrelevant or
      impossible argument has been used to refute the evidence of the massacre
      by one side, and every possible device has been used by the other side
      to try to
      turn this one incident, an unplanned massacre perpetrated by a renegade
      into a symbol of Zionist policy.

      According to Palestinian partisans, massacres like Deir Yassin, and only
      massacres, were the sole cause of the flight of the Palestinian refugees
      in 1948, perpetrated as part of a premeditated "ethnic cleansing" plot
      by the evil Zionists to expel the blameless Arabs of Palestine. It does
      not matter to
      them that the Palestinians attacked the Jews originally and blockaded
      the roads to Jerusalem. It is useless to show that hundreds of thousands
      of Palestinians had already fled before the events of Deir Yassin. It is
      no use pointing out that the Irgun/Lehi action was not sanctioned by the
      Zionist leadership, that Jewish evictions of Arabs followed Arab
      evictions of Jews, or
      that over 420 Jewish civilians were killed by enemy action and many more
      due to starvation and illness during the Arab blockade of Jerusalem.
      About 30,000 Jews fled the city during or after the blockade, including
      several thousand who were forcibly evicted from the Jewish quarter in
      the old city. None of the above makes any impression. Each side claims
      about the suffering of the other, "it is not equivalent" "it is not the
      same thing," it was "justifiable revenge" or simply, "it didn't happen."

      What happened in 1948 was known by both sides, but it was actively
      "forgotten," just as what is happening today, all around us, is known to
      sides, but it is actively "forgotten." The facts are made to fit what we
      to believe, for by other names and at other times, the tragedy of, Deir
      is revisited and replayed perpetually by Palestinians, and the
      equivalent tragedies are revisited by Israelis. For Deir Yassin, Jews
      may substitute the
      Hebron Massacre of 1929, or the expulsion from the Old City of
      Jerusalem, or the Hadassah convoy massacre or the Gush Etzion massacre
      or another incident in their version of the history, and the
      Palestinians may substitute the Jenin
      "massacre" any other incident in their version of history.

      The story of Deir Yassin is typical of almost every other incident in
      the history of Palestinian-Israeli relations. There is an act of
      senseless brutality, that is performed in the context of revenge for
      other acts of senseless brutality and competition with other political
      groups. The deed becomes the justification for other outrages, which in
      turn create the need for vengeance and more such deeds. Each side
      remembers only one part of the story, and actively dismisses the rest,
      which is a threat to their own self image, as a group, and as
      individuals. Two peoples are living a lie. Thus, Deir Yassin is the
      child of many Deir Yassins, and parent to many more. Partisans claim
      that the brutal act, whether it is the massacre at Deir Yassin, or the
      massacre of Jews in Hebron, or suicide bombings, or brutality at
      checkpoints, is characteristic of their opponents, and proves that they
      thoroughly evil and inhuman.

      Critics complain that Zionists have created a "Holocaust industry" to
      capitalize on the suffering of the Jews in Europe. However, the same
      critics are among those who have created a Deir Yassin industry, to
      trade on the suffering of the Palestinians and to inflate an incident
      into a cause, and an
      excuse to denying legitimacy to an entire people. The "Deir Yassin
      like the museum of the Hebron settlers that is dedicated to the massacre
      in Hebron, is not intended to humanize victims or make the other side
      feel their
      pain. There is no chance that such propaganda can bring about
      rapprochement or
      peace or justice, because the other side is never going to accept a
      false version of history in which they are entirely wrong and
      delegitimized, or accept that the "punishment" for their "misdeeds" is
      that they have to forfeit
      all their rights entirely. Reconciliation cannot be built on

      The history of Deir Yassin, and of every other event, clear enough in
      becomes lost or repressed in a fog of deliberate obfuscation by one
      side, and
      in a torrent of exaggeration by the other. In this way, each group has
      developed their own historical fictional mythology. The myths are
      supported by
      a set of obstinate defense mechanisms, that are impervious to any facts
      those that support the myths. The myths provide a rationale for
      sustaining the
      conflict, which generates more Deir Yassins to create more myths. The
      psychological mechanisms are devastatingly effective. The events of
      recent years have proven that in a hundred or more years of conflict
      over Palestine,
      both sides have forgotten nothing of the myths they created, and learned
      nothing of the truths they have repressed. Until we are willing to learn
      the truths and to dispel the myths, we will all be condemned to relive
      the tragedy
      of Deir Yassin.

      Ami Isseroff

      This article is also posted at
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