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Jewish/Israeli Massacres and Terrorism

Part 1: Massacres

King David Hotel in Jerusalem (July 22, 1946)

What happened: 91 people killed by explosives planted by the Irgun: 28 Britons, 41 Arabs, 17 Jews and five persons of other nationalities. Of the dead, 21 were British government officials, 13 were soldiers, and three were police officers. There were also 49 employees of either the hotel or the British government and five members of the public.

The Bombing Of The King David Hotel (Islamic Association for Palestine)

The Outrage (Britain's Small Wars, 1945-2001)

For the Zionist perspective, see:

Jewish Virtual Encyclopedia

The Irgun Site

Print Resources:

Thurston Clarke, By Blood & Fire: The Attack on the King David Hotel, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1981, pp 304.

Menachem Begin, The Revolt: The Story of the Irgun, New York: Henry Schuman, Inc., 1951, pp. 212-230 gives Begin's perspective on the affair.

At Tira (December 11, 1947)

What happened: "5 Arabs killed and 6 injured at At Tira village in attack by Jews."

Source: Wilson, Cordon & Search, p. 267 (table).

Location: Unknown; At Tira is a common village name. The index to Morris, Birth, lists five.

Alternate spellings: al-Tira

Village outside Haifa (December 12, 1947)

What happened: "12 Arabs lost their lives when Jews attacked a village outside Haifa."

Source: Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 20 (citing The Times (London), December 13, 1947).

Village near Tel Aviv (December 14, 1947)

What happened: "Arab village near Tel-Aviv attacked by Jews in steel helmets wearing Khaki uniforms. 18 Arabs killed and 100 injured."

Source: Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 21 (citing The Times (London), December 15, 1947).

al-Khisas (December 18, 1947)

What happened: 10 civilians killed by the Haganah, most within their own houses.

"On 18th December [1947] there was trouble in the Huleh Valley when Jews entered the Arab village of Khissas, near the Syrian frontier, and killed 10 and wounded 5 Arabs, most of whom were women and children, with grenades and machine-gun fire. They withdrew without suffering any casualties after leaving pamphlets stating that the attack was carried out by the Haganah as a reprisal for casualties suffered in Safad, and an incident near Khissas where a Jew had recently been killed by Arabs. The latter event had been in turn a reprisal for the shooting of an Arab by a Jewish Settlement policeman. So the system of one life for another, and often ten lives for another, was fostered. The attack on Khissas, in which 2 Lebanese and 2 Syrian visitors had been killed, resulted in the first hostile invasion of Arab irregulars over the frontier from Syria."

Source: Wilson, Cordon and Search, p. 159.

Location: Safad district

Alternate spellings: Khisas, Khissas

Khalidi reference: pp. 465-466

Haifa (December 30, 1947)

What happened: "Two bombs thrown from passing vehicle by I.Z.L. or Stern members at crowd of Arab employees standing outside C.R.L. [Consolidated Refineries, Ltd.], Haifa. 6 Arabs killed and 42 wounded. Arabs inside and outside refinery reacted spontaneously and attacked Jewish employees who were outnumbered. 41 Jews killed and 48 injured."

Source: Wilson, Cordon & Search, p. 268 (table).

Other sources:

Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 17 (citing Middle East Journal, April 1948, p. 216).

The riot led the Haganah to raid the village of Balad Esh-Sheikh the next night [or that night?] (see below).

Jerusalem (December 30, 1947)

What happened: The Irgun threw a bomb from a speeding taxi in Jerusalem, killing 11 Arabs and two Britons.

Source: Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 17 (citing Middle East Journal, April 1948, p. 216).

Balad Esh-Sheikh (December 31-January 1 night, 1947)

What happened: 14 (perhaps as many as 60) civilians killed by the Haganah, most within their own houses.

"The following night [i.e., following the riot at the Haifa refinery] the Arab village of Balad es Sheik, which lies three miles southeast of Haifa, was attacked by a strong party of armed Haganah, who entered the village dressed as Arabs under heavy covering fire from the high ground. Firing sub-machine guns and throwing grenades into the houses, they succeeded in killing 14 Arabs, of whom 10 were women and children, and wounding 11. Their own casualties were slight."

Source: Wilson, Cordon and Search, p. 158.

Location: Haifa district

Alternate spellings: Balad es Sheik, Balad ash Sheikh

Khalidi reference: pp. 151-154

The refinery riot was one of the few incidents during the 1947-1949 war in which Arabs killed a large number of Jews.

"In the evening of January 30-31, 1947 a mixed force of the First Battalion of Palmach and the 'Carmel' Brigade under the command of Haim Avinoam attacked the village of Balad al-Shaikh (now Tel Hanan). In this operation more than sixty of the enemy, most of them noncombatants, were killed in their houses."

Source: An article by Israeli historian Arieh Vitzhaqi in the April 14, 1972, issue of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, translated in "From the Hebrew Press," Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 1, no. 4 (summer 1972), p. 144. Also quoted in Hadawi, Bitter Harvest, p. 88.

"In the evening of December 30-31 a mixed force of the First Battalion of the Palmach and the 'Carmel Brigade' under the command of Haim Avinoam attacked the village of Balad al-Shaikh; in this operation more than sixty of the enemy were killed in their houses.... The attacking units entered the village and started operating inside the houses and because of the heavy firing in the rooms, it was impossible to avoid hitting women and children also."

Source: Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 21 (translating from Ha Sefer Ha-Palmach [The Book of the Palmach], Tel Aviv: Ha-Kibbutz Ha-Meuchad, 1955, p. 55).

Jaffa (January 4, 1948)

What happened: 15-30 people killed, 100 wounded, from a truck bomb planted by the Stern Gang in the middle of the city

"One Sunday in January [1948] a large truck loaded with oranges parked in the centre of Jaffa between Barclays bank and a government office Building. The truck was driven by two Stern Gang terrorists. They had failed on a previous attempt to enter Jaffa, when Arab sentries guarding access to the city had become suspicious and opened fire on the truck, Now on their second try, they had penetrated into the heart of the city with a truck that contained more than just oranges.

Disguised as Arabs, the experienced terrorists walked away from the vehicle, stopping for coffee at a nearby restaurant before leaving Jaffa. Soon after, an explosion demolished many buildings in the centre of the city. According to a Jaffa resident, Basil Ennab, one of the buildings destroyed was 'sort of a feeding centre for children,'[2] many of whom were among the over 100 casualties."

[2] Middle East Centre, Saint Anthony's College (Oxford, UK), Thames Interviews, box II, file 1.

Source: Palumbo, pp. 83-84. See generally Chapter V, "The Fall of Jaffa," pp. 82-94.

Other Sources:

"Stern Gang members bombed a crowded square in Jaffa, killing between 15 and 30 people and wounding 98." Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 17 (citing Middle East Journal, April 1948, p. 217).

"Jews penetrate into Jaffa, blow up the headquarters of the Arab National Committee; heavy explosion also destroys police station, many shops and Barclay's Bank. Casualty list of 9 Arabs killed and 71 wounded probably incomplete. (Jews dressed as Arabs drove a lorry of orange crates and left it in front of the building.)" Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 19 (citing The Times (London), January 5, 1948).

Semiramis Hotel in Jerusalem (January 4-5 night, 1948)

What happened: 10-25 killed by the bombing of the hotel by Haganah.

"The Katamon district in West Jerusalem was another area from which the local inhabitants were driven out by the Haganah. Populated by mainly Christian Arabs with some Muslim and British residents, Katamon took its name from an Orthodox monastery situated on a hill which dominated the district. According to Sami Haddawi, a long-time resident of Katamon, the section was regarded as a 'strategic area' which the Jewish forces needed if they were to secure their hold over West Jerusalem. On the night of 3-4 January, the Haganah made its move.

The target was the Semiramis Hotel, one of the well-known landmarks of the district. The hotel was only two blocks away from Sami Haddawi's home so that he clearly recalls the huge explosion when the Semiramis was dynamited by the Zionists. A total of twenty-six people were killed, including a Spanish diplomat and numerous women and children. The Haganah claimed that the hotel had been 'used as a base for marauding Arab gangs and headquarters of the Arab military youth organization.' But the British administration, which still exercised at least nominal control, investigated the incident and found that the Jewish charge that the Semiramis was a military headquarters was 'entirely without foundation.' The British report called the bombing 'wholesale murder of innocent people.'[10]"

[10] Central Zionist Archives (Jerusalem) S25/4013.

Source: Palumbo, p. 98. Note that the date given for the bombing appears to be wrong, as most sources place the blast on the night of January 4/5.

Other Sources:

"Haganah claimed responsibility for blowing up of the Semiramis Hotel. 20 people dead, among them the Spanish Consul. 'Haganah claims guests in the hotel must have been cooperating with Arab gangs.' Government inquiry later establishes the falsehood of the accusation." Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 19-20 (citing The Times (London), January 6, 1948).

"Haganah blew up Semiramis Hotel in Jerusalem killing 12 Arabs and injuring 2." Wilson, Cordon & Search, p. 269 (table).

Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem (January 7, 1948)

What happened: "A Jewish driver used a British Army car to get past [an] Arab barricade at Jaffa Gate. The bomb he threw rolled on to a cafe near the gate. 17 Arabs dead so far."

Source: Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 17 (citing The Times (London), Jan. 8, 1948).

Unknown Location (January 16, 1948)

What happened: "Jews today blew up 3 Arab buildings. In the first 8 children between the ages of 18 months and 12 years died, one child is still under the debris and one woman died. In the second, 5 Arabs died and 5 are still buried."

Source: Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 20 (citing The Times (London), Jan. 17, 1948).

Tireh (February 10, 1948)

What happened: "12 Arabs returning to Tireh village near Tulkarm were stopped by a large party of Jews who fired at them. Some sought refuge in a house but were followed and fired at. 7 Arabs killed, 5 injured."

Source: Who Are the Terrorists? (citing The Times (London), February 11, 1948).

Bus from Safad (February 12, 1948)

What happened: "Armed Jews attacked an Arab bus from Safad. Explosion in bus kills 5 Arabs and injures 5."

Source: Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 19 (citing The Times (London), February 13, 1948).

Sa'sa' (February 14-15 night, 1948)

What happened: 60 civilians killed, most within their own houses.

"In this operation, which was for many years to be regarded as a model raid because of the high standard of its execution, twenty houses were blown up over their inhabitants, and some sixty Arabs were killed, most of them women and children."

Source: An article by Israeli historian Arieh Vitzhaqi from the April 14, 1972, issue of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, translated in "From the Hebrew Press," Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 1, no. 4 (summer 1972), p. 145. Also quoted in Hadawi, Bitter Harvest, p. 88; and Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 21-22.

Location: Safad district

Alternate spellings: Sa'sa

Khalidi reference: pp. 495-497

See also Jon Kimche and David Kimche, Both Sides of the Hill: Britain and the Palestine War, London: Secker & Warburg, 1960, p. 84.

Sa'sa' was subjected to two massacres. The second one appears to have taken place on October 30. See the entry below, under that date, for information on the second massacre.

Qisarya (February 15-20?, 1948)

What happened: "Another case [of a massacre] happened in Caesarea. In February 1948 the Fourth Battalion of the Palmach forces, under the command of Josef Tabenkin, conquered Caesarea. According to Milstein, all those who did not escape from the village were killed. Milstein gleaned testimonies about this fact from fighters who participated in the conquest."

Source: "Not Only Deir Yassin" (Guy Erlich, Ha'ir [Israeli newspaper], 6 May 1992) (quoting Israeli military historian Uri Milstein)

Location: Haifa district

Alternate spellings: Caesarea

Khalidi reference: pp. 182-184

Additional sources:

Morris, Birth, p. 54, recounts that Jewish militas conquered Qisarya on February 15 and expelled the remaining population on the 20th. As Milstein's account doesn't date the killings, I have given this time frame.

Haifa (February 20, 1948)

What happened: Jews attacked the Arab sections of Haifa with mortars, killing at least 6 Arabs and wounding 36.

Source: Who Are the Terrorists? (citing Middle East Journal, April 1948, p. 220.

Khantara-Haifa Train (February 27, 1948)

What happened: "Khantara-Haifa train near Rehovoth by Jews. 27 British soldiers killed and 36 wounded."

Source: Wilson, Cordon & Search, p. 271 (table).

Haifa (March 3, 1948)

What happened: "Stern Gang destroyed Salameh Building in Haifa with explosive vehicle. 11 Arabs killed, 27 wounded."

Source: Wilson, Cordon & Search, p. 271 (table).

Other sources:

"The Stern Gang claimed responsibility for the detonation of an army truck in front of the Salam building in Haifa. Fourteen Arabs were killed and at least 26 wounded." Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 20 (citing Middle East Journal, July 1948, p. 329).

al-Husayniyya (March 12 and 16-17, 1948)

What happened: Palmach twice raided the village of al-Husayniyya, killing 15 and wounding 20 in the first attack on March 12, and killing "more than 30" in the second onslaught on the evening of March 16-17.

Location: Safad district, 11 km. from town of Safad.

Alternate spellings: Al Huseiniya, Kfar Husseinia


1. An article in the New York Times of March 14, 1948, cited in Khalidi, All that Remains, p. 456-457, describes the March 12 assault.

2. Morris, Birth, p. 157 cites Palmach reports for the following narrative: "In March, the Palamch's 3rd Battalion twice raided the village of Al Huseiniya, near the Hula Lake in Upper Galilee. In the first raid, on 12 March, the battalion blew up five houses. In the second raid, on 16-17 March, 'more than 30 Arab adults (excluding women and children) were killed ... The village was abandoned byall its inhabitants.'"

3. Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 22, cites Arthur Koestler, Promise and Fulfillment: Palestine 1917-1949, New York: Macmillan, 1949, p. 159, for the second attack.

Train near Benjamina (March 31, 1948)

What happened: "Jews blew up train near Benjamina killing 24 Arabs and injuring 61."

Source: Wilson, Cordon & Search, p. 272 (table).

al-Sarafand (April 5, 1948)

What happened: "Jews attacked the Arab village of Sarafand. 16 Arabs were killed and 12 wounded. Most Arabs were killed when a house was mortared."

Source: Who Are the Terrorists? (citing The Times (London), April 6, 1948).
Location: Haifa district

Alternate spellings: as Sarafand, Sarafand

Khalidi reference: p. 188

Deir Yassin (April 9-11, 1948)

1. Websites

Coming to Terms with Deir Yassin (PEACE Middle East Dialog Group)

Dayr Yasin (Palestine Remembered)

Deir Yassin: Arab & Jewish Tragedy in Palestine (1998 novel by Ray Hanania)

Deir Yassin Committee (Yahoo! eGroup for descendants from Deir Yassin)

Deir Yassin Remembered

Open Directory: Deir Yassin

Survivors' Testimonies (alnakba.org)

2. Articles

"Jews May Not Want to Look at This" (Robert Fisk; The Independent; April 7, 2002)

"The 1948 Massacre at Deir Yassin Revisited" (Matthew Hogan; Historian; Winter, 2001)

"Deir Yasin: Still Remembered After 51 Years" (Pat and Samir Twair; Washington Report on Middle East Affairs; April/May 1999)

"On the Fiftieth Anniversary of Deir Yassin: A Jewish Perspective on Memory, Justice and Reconciliation" (Marc H. Ellis; Ariga; April 1998)

"Reinterpreting Deir Yassin" (Sharif Kanaana; Birzeit University; April, 1998)

"Remembering Deir Yassin (James Zoghby; Al-Ahram Weekly; April 1998)

"Deir Yassin Remembered" (Daniel A. McGowan; The Link; volume 29, issue 4 (September-October, 1996))

Print Resources:

Daniel McGowan and Marc Ellis, Remembering Deir Yassin: The Future of Israel and Palestine, New York: Olive Branch Press, 1998

3. Zionist Denials

"Deir Yassin" at Jewish Virtual Encyclopedia

"Deir Yassin: History of a Lie"

"Deir Yassin" at The Irgun Site

Tel Litvinsky (April 16, 1948)

What happened: "Jews attack the former British Army camp at Tel Litvinsky and kill 90 Arabs there."

Source: Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 20 (citing The Times (London), April 17, 1948).

Tiberias (April 19, 1948)

What happened: "14 Arabs were killed in Tiberias in a house blown up by Jews."

Source: Who Are the Terrorists?, p. 20 (citing The Times (London), April 20, 1948).

Ayn al-Zaytun and perhaps other nearby villages (May 1-4, 1948)

What happened: Apparently five separate killings of various magnitudes took place over three or four days: (1) Barrel bomb and grenade attacks by the Palmach killed and injured many of the villagers as the militia was attacking the village. (2) "Several" villagers in Ayn al-Zaytun were shot, and 37 young men were taken prisoner, when the Palmach conquered the village on May 1. (3) On May 3 or 4, "some 70" Arab prisoners, probably including these 37, were massacred with their hands still tied. (4) "23 Arabs" taken from Ayn al-Zaytun and shot. (5) 30 Arab prisoners who tried to escape were shot. "It is possible that they were killed chained. Next morning a platoon was sent to bury them." The source for the final two atrocities does not date them.

Nazzal describes the attack on the village:

"During the night of May 1, 1948, a Palmach unit, with mules loaded with ammunition, advanced towards the village of Ein ez Zeitun by way of Tall al Durraiyat, which overlooks the village to the north. From the top of the hill, Palmach soldiers rolled barrels filled with explosives down the hill to the village and threw hand grenades, killing and injuring many of the villagers."

Source: Nazzal, The Palestinian Exodus, pp. 34-35.

Massacres two and three are attested by Morris:

After the Palmach took Ayn al-Zaytun on May 1, "several villagers apparently were shot by the Palmach troops." [from note 133 on page 321] "Some 37 of the young men caught in the village were detained. They were probably among the 70 or so Arab prisoners massacred by two Palmach 3rd Battalion soldiers, on Battalion OC Moshe Kelman's orders, on 3 or 4 May in the gully between Ein az Zeitun and Safad." [from page 102]

"Kelman's company commanders all refused to carry out the massacre or to allow their men to carry it out. The battalion OC in the end had to use two 'broken' men, who did not belong to the fighting formations and who claimed that they had suffered at Arab hands earlier in the war, to do the killing. Afterwards, Kelman assigned Ben-Yehuda [Netiva Ben-Yehuda--see below] to untie the hands of the dead as a Red Cross visit to the area was expected." [from note 133 on page 321]

Source: Morris, Birth, p. 102 and note 133 on p. 321.

Netiva Ben-Yehuda recounted the slaughter in a book: Miba'ad La'avutot (Through the Binding Ropes), Jerusalem: Domino Press, 1985, pp. 243-248. According to Morris, "Ben-Yehuda graphically describes the prelude to, and aftermath of, the slaughter of the 70, which she did not witness."

See also Nazzal, The Palestinian Exodus, p. 107, which states (without identifying his source) that "The Zionists separated the men from their families, beat and humiliated a few villagers, crucified one of the villagers on a tree, and took at random thirty-seven boys as hostages, who were never heard of again."

The final two massacres are attested by Israeli military historian Uri Milstein:

"The historian Uri Milstein presented in his book series 'The History of the War of Independence' a number of massacres. Three more cases came to his knowledge after he finished writing. One case happened in Ayn Zaytoon. According to Milstein two massacres happened there in addition to the case described by Netiva Ben Yehuda in her book 'Within the Bounds' (mibe'ad la'avutot). Milstein possesses a testimony from a soldier named Aharon Yo'eli: 'Three men from Safad came to Ayn Zaytoon, they took 23 Arabs, told them they were murderers and gangsters, took from them their watches and put them in their pockets, led them over the hills and killed them. This was the revenge of the Jews of Safad. I understood that our commanders were looking for additional killers to execute such jobs. Not everybody in Safad was a Hassid [strictly observing Jew]. In my opinion this was not the execution of prisoners but the killing of Arab murderers. The rest were expelled in the direction of the Germak that same evening and to make them go fast, we shot at them.' The second case was reported to Milstein by a soldier named Yitzhak Golan, as he referred to thirty prisoners who were brought to interrogation in Har Kna'an: 'The men of the Intelligence Unit interrogated them and after the interrogation the question came up what to do with them. We were told to take them down to the Rosh Pina police station. On the way they attempted to escape so we shot at them. There was no alternative. The danger was that they might reach Safad and would tell there how few weapons and manpower we had. It is possible that they were killed chained. Next morning a platoon was sent to bury them.'"

Source: "Not Only Deir Yassin" (Guy Erlich, Ha'ir [Israeli newspaper], 6 May 1992).

Location: Safad district

Alternate spellings: Ayn Zaytoon, Ein az Zeitun

Khalidi reference: pp. 436-438

Abu Shuska (May 13-14 night?, 1948)

What happened: "But Yitzhaki kept the testimonies. The first case he presents happened in Tel Gezer [i.e., Abu Shuska]. A soldier of the Kiryati Brigade (...) testifies that his colleagues got hold of ten Arab men and two Arab women, a young one and an old one. All the men were murdered. The young woman was raped and her destiny was unknown. The old woman was murdered. Yitzhaki tells that he discovered the testimony in a specific folder containing testimonies from Guard Units (Kheil Mishmar) in the IDF archives. Later he also obtained an oral testimony about this event from a person who wished to remain anonymous."

Source:"Not Only Deir Yassin" (Guy Erlich, Ha'ir [Israeli newspaper], 6 May 1992) (quoting Israeli historian Aryeh Yitzhaki)

Location: Haifa district

Khalidi reference: pp. 142-143.

Morris, Birth, p. 127, says that the Jewish assault on Abu Shuska began with a mortar attack on the night of May 13-14, but he doesn't mention the massacre, and the information provided by Aryeh Yitzhaki doesn't date the atrocity. Therefore, the date of the massacre is uncertain; I've tentatively used the May 13-14 date.

al-Bassa (May 14?, 1948)

What happened: Several killings of villagers were recounted by survivors.

"Mahmud Hassan Dukhi returned two days after the village had fallen to bring back his mother, who had insisted on staying, only to find her burnt body at his home. Hussain As'ad Khalil, who also returned, reported:

'... I saw the bodies of Abdullah Isma'il Muhammad, Ahmad Muhammad Khalil, and Ali Hussain Ali, who had been killed by Jewish soldiers as they tried to infiltrate into the village. ...'

Hussain As'ad Khalil's uncle and his wife, who stayed on after the fall of El Bassa ... described the Jewish occupation of the village:

"The day the village fell, Jewish soldiers ordered all those who remained in the village to gather in the church. Simultaneously, they took a few young people--including Salim Darwish and his sister, Illin -- outside the church and shot them dead. Soon after, they ordered us to bury them."

Source: Nazzal, The Palestinian Exodus, p. 58 (who adds that Hussain As'ad Khalil's uncle and his wife, who asked that their names not be used, gave him the names of five people killed in the process of occupation)

Location: Acre district

Alternate spellings: El Bassa

Khalidi reference: pp. 6-8

Acre (May 18, 1948)

What happened: After capturing Acre on May 18, Israeli troops killed at least 100 Arab civilians.

"Several months after the Israeli capture of Acre, Lieutenant Petite, a United Nations observer from France, visited Acre to investigate Arab charges that those Palestinians who remained under Israeli rule were being mistreated. ...

Lieutenant Petite noted that the Jews had murdered at least 100 Arab civilians in Acre. In particular the Israelis killed many residents of the new city who refused to move into the portion of the old city that was being used as an Arab ghetto. The Israelis considered the new city totally off-limits to Arabs.

The case of Mohammed Fayez Soufi was typical. He was forced to leave his home in the new part of town and was relocated in the portion of the old city of Acre that had not been demolished. When Mohammed and four of his friends went back to their former homes in the new city to get food, they were stopped by a gang of Israeli soldiers who put a pistol to each of their heads and forced them to drink cyanide. Mohammed faked swallowing the poison but his friends were not so lucky. After half an hour, three of the Arabs died and were tossed in the sea by the Israelis. Several days later, their bodies were washed up on the shore."

Source: Palumbo, Palestinian Catastrophe, p. 119, relying on Petite's reports, stored at United Nations Archives 13/3.3.1, box 13.

Possible caution: I have not seen this massacre noted anywhere except in Palumbo's work. While the timing is consistent with massacres in the same area, additional evidence would be useful.

al-Kabri (May 20, 1948)

What happened: Two groups of al-Kabri villagers killed; in one case, "several" youngsters were machine-gunned (some survived); in the other, the Israelis shot (and apparently killed) six refugees from the village whom they had seized trying to escape.

"On 20 May 1948 the Karmeli Brigade conquered the village Kabri. Dov Yirmiya, who was a company commander in the 21th battalion, tells: 'Kabri was conquered without a fight. Almost all inhabitants fled. One of the soldiers, Yehuda Reshef, who was together with his brother among the few rescapees from the Yehi'am convoy, got hold of a few youngsters who did not escape, probably seven, ordered them to fill up some ditches dug as an obstacle and then lined them up and fired at them with a machine gun. A few died but some of the wounded succeeded to escape. The battalion commander did not react. Receive was a brave fighter and as a rescapee from the Yehi'am convoy, enjoyed special status in the battalion. He advanced later to the grade of Brigadier General. He justified his action as an act of revenge.'

'When the action ended, we left, namely the battalion commander Dov Tschitchiss, Education Officer Tzadok Eshel, the driver and myself. We drove over fields to Nahariya. While driving we saw refugees escaping to the North. The battalion commander ordered the driver to stop and went with the driver and the Education Officer to chase an Arab who was escaping with a girl eight or nine years old. I heard shots and had scarcely the time to understand what happened. When they returned, the battalion commander declared: We killed them. I asked: The girl too? And he answered to me: No, no, we did not kill the girl.'"

Source: "Not Only Deir Yassin" (Guy Erlich, Ha'ir [Israeli newspaper], 6 May 1992)

"My husband and I left Kabri the day before it fell. ... At dawn [the next day], while my husband was preparing for his morning prayer, our friend Raja passed us and urged us to proceed, saying that we should run. ... It was not too long before we were met by the Jews. ... They took us and a few other villagers (...) in an armoured car back to the village. There a Jewish officer interrogated us and, putting a gun to my husband's neck, he said "You are from Kabri?" .... The Jews took away my husband, Ibrahim Dabajah, Hussain Hassan al-Khubaizah, Khalil al-Tamlawi, Uthman Iban As'ad Mahmud, and Raja. They left the rest of us.... An officer came to me and asked me not to cry. We slept in the village orchards that night. The next morning, Umm Hussain and I went to the village. ... I saw Umm Taha on the way to the village courtyard. She cried and said "You had better go see your dead husband." I found him. He was shot in the back of the head."

Source: Nazzal, Palestinian Exodus, p. 61-62 (quoting Aminah Muhammad Musa, interviewed at Burj al-Barajnih Camp, Beirut, Lebanon, February 24, 1973).

Location: Acre district

Alternate spellings: Kabri

Khalidi reference: pp. 19-20

Other sources: Morris, Birth, p. 125, states that al-Kabri was captured on May 20-21, and that "Al Kabri had long been a centre of anti-Yishuv forces. In early May, most of its inhabitants fled following a Haganah retaliatory action, in which a number of villagers were killed."

al-Tantura (May 22-23, 1948)

What happened: More than 200 villagers, mostly unarmed young men, shot by the Israeli army's Alexandroni Brigade.

"The Tantura Massacre, 22-23 May 1948" (Journal of Palestine Studies; Vol XXX, No. 3 [Spring 2001; Issue 119])

"The Tantura Case in Israel: The Katz Research and Trial" (Ilan Pappe; Journal of Palestine Studies; Vol XXX, No. 3 [Spring 2001; Issue 119])

Tantura Massacre Exposed: 21 Eyewitness Testimonies of War Crimes against Humanity (PalestineRemembered.com)

For Zionist denials, see:

"History's Revenge" (Avi Davis; israelinsider; November 20, 2001)


Location: Haifa district

Alternate spellings: Tantura

Khalidi reference: pp. 193-195

Lydda (July 11-12, 1948)

What happened: Several hundred civilians killed by Israeli troops, including 80 machine-gunned inside the Dahmash Mosque.

If the following accounts are all true, there were several stages to the massacre at Lydda. Many died on the evening of July 11 during Moshe Dayan's famous lightening strike into the town. The town surrendered, and things were then quiet until just before noon the next day, when two or three Arab Legion armored cars rolled into town. Two (or perhaps as many as four) Israeli solders were killed, inciting a spasm of Israeli violence that killed 250 Arabs, including the (first?) massacre at the mosque. Finally, according to Guy Erlich's article, some 20-50 Arabs were slaughtered after cleaning up the mosque. Note that this account and Palumbo's assertion that the bodies of the first group killed at the mosque "lay decomposing for ten days in the July heat" cannot both be true.

After all this, the inhabitants of Lydda and neighboring Ramle were expelled in the infamous "Lydda death march," as a result of which several hundred more probably died. See Chapter VIII, "The Lydda Death March" (pp. 126-138), in Palumbo, The Palestinian Catastrophe.

"Civilians ran for cover as an armoured unit of the Israeli 89th Commando Battalion fired its way into Lydda, an Arab town not far from Tel Aviv. At the head of the column in an armoured car he called 'The Terrible Tiger' rode Major Moshe Dayan, a relatively obscure professional soldier who had personally recruited the men of his battalion including a contingent of Stern Gang terrorists. Dayan was eager to prove that his method of lightening warfare would win quick results against the Arabs. For fourth-seven minutes on the evening of 11 July 1948, Dayan and his armoured forces terrorized both the defenders of Lydda and the neighbouring town Ramle, as well as their Arab civilian population.

Keith Wheller, a reporter for the Chicago Sun Times, witnessed the attack. In an article titled 'Blitz Tactics Won Lydda,' he wrote that as the Israeli vehicles surged through the town, 'practically everything in their way died.' [1] Not all the casualties were members of the Arab Legion that was defending the town. Kenneth Bilby of the New York Herald Tribune who entered Lydda in the company of an Israeli intelligence officer noticed 'the corpses of Arab men, women and even children strewn about in the wake of the ruthlessly brilliant charge.'[2]

The Israelis were not keen to take prisoners. Netiva Ben Yehuda, a young female member of the Palmach, recalled that a soldier 'went through the streets of Lydda with loudspeakers and promised everybody who would go inside a certain mosque that they would be safe.' Hundreds of Arabs entered the Dahmash Mosque believing that nothing would happen to them if they sat quietly with their hands on their head. But according to Ben Yehuda 'something did happen.'[3] In retaliation for a grenade attack after the surrender which killed several Israeli soldiers, over eighty Arab prisoners were machine-gunned to death. The bodies lay decomposing for ten days in the July heat. The Dahmash Mosque massacre terrorized the people of Lydda."


1. Reprinted in Palestine Post, 13 July 1948.
2. Kenneth Bilby, New Star in the Near East, p. 43
3. Lynne Reid Banks, A Torn Country: An Oral History Of The Israeli War Of Independence, New York, Franklin Watts, 1982. Also Raja'i Buseilah, The Fall of Lydda 1948: Impressions and Reminiscences, Arab Studies Quarterly, Spring 1981, pp. 137-138.

Source: Palumbo, The Palestinian Catastrophe, pp. 126-127.

"After the entry of the [Arab Legion] detachment, the local Arab population rose in revolt, and, to suppress the revolt, orders were given to fire on any one seen in the streets. 'Yiftah' troops opened heavy fire on all passers-by and suppressed the revolt mercilessly in a few hours, going from house to house and firing at every moving target. According to the commander's report, 250 Arabs were killed in the fighting."

Source: An article by Israeli historian Arieh Vitzhaqi from the April 14, 1972, issue of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, translated in "From the Hebrew Press," Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 1, no. 4 (summer 1972), p. 145. Also quoted in Hadawi, Bitter Harvest, p. 88.

"After Lydda gave up the fight, a group of stubborn Arab fighters barricaded themselves in the small mosque. The commander of the Palmach's 3d Battalion, Moshe Kalman, gave an order to fire a number of blasts towards the mosque. The soldiers who forced their way into the mosque were surprised to find no resistance. On the walls of the mosque they found the remains of the Arab fighters. A group of between twenty to fifty Arab inhabitants was brought to clean up the mosque and bury the remains. After they finished their work, they were also shot into the graves they dug."

Source: "Not Only Deir Yassin" (Guy Erlich, Ha'ir [Israeli newspaper], 6 May 1992).

See also Morris, Birth, pp. 205-206, who writes that "In the confusion, dozens of unarmed detainees in the mosque and church compounds in the centre of the town were shot and killed." He also suggests that to call the events on July 12 a "revolt" is unwarranted. As is his tendency, Morris attempts to mitigate Israeli moral responsibility by asserting that the occupying Israeli solders "felt threatened, vulnerable and angry" during the July 12 phase of the massacre.


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