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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem


Of all Israeli war crimes, none was committed on such a massive scale as the expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs from their homes, towns and villages, uprooting an entire population through forcible expulsion, as part of a calculated design.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 states, without any ambiguity whatsoever, that "Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive."

The Nazi war criminals' expulsion of the Jews from Germany was the immediate precedent for the Israeli war criminals' mass expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs.

Alfred Rosenberg, the chief ideologist of Nazism who was hanged for his role in the Nazi war crimes, wrote:"Zionism must be vigorously supported so that a certain number of German Jews is transported annually to Palestine or at least made to leave the country."(1)

This should be compared with the wholesale expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs, who were ordered to leave after many had been tortured and killed, not being allowed to take any of their possessions with them.

The expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs by the Zionists would have been a crime even if the Zionists had had a reasonable motive. But, in fact, the Zionists' motive was in itself a war crime. In 1930 Zionist official Gerhard Holdheim, wrote:

The Zionist programme encompasses the conception of a homogeneous, indivisible Jewry on a national basis. The criterion for Jewry is hence not a confession of religion, but the all-embracing sense of belonging to a racial community that is bound together by ties of blood and history and which is determined to keep its national individuality.(2)

This racist Zionist counterpart of the Nazis' German racism had the blessing of no less a Nazi than the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler himself. Zionist writers Jon and David Kimche have confirmed that "Hitler, with unambiguous determination, ordered the promotion of mass immigration to Palestine."(3)

What the Nazis did to the Jews was not a tragedy for those Zionists determined to found an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine at the expense of the indigenous inhabitants. As David Ben-Gurion himself said, "What Zionist propaganda for years could not do, disaster has done overnight."(4)

On December 19, 1940, Joseph Weitz, director of the Jewish National Fund, the central Zionist organization acquiring land in Palestine and settling it with Jewish colonists, wrote in his diary:

It must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country. If the Arabs stay, the country will remain narrow and miserable. The only solution is Eretz Israel, or at least western Eretz Israel, without Arabs. There is no room for compromise on this point.(5)

Hitler shared this concept of the narrowness of a country due to the presence of "foreigners" on the land. That the alleged "foreigners" were actually the native inhabitants and rightful owners of the land could not deter such warped Nazi or Zionist minds in the quest for Lebensraurn. As Hitler said:

Our space is absurdly small, for a plane can cross our German territory in barely four hours. That is no longer a land surface bearing a protection in itself. This land surface does not suffice by far to nourish our population. It is clear that the more a nation grows in numbers, the more its soil is bound some day to become too narrow; that such a nation must some day either succumb to this restriction of its soil and collapse, or that it will burst this restriction and acquire new soil elsewhere.(6)

The conspiracy to expel the Palestinian Arabs from their homes, and their subsequent expulsion, were war crimes inevitably associated with the "Master Race" basis of Zionist ideology. The intrinsic evil of the Zionist ideology was the father of the evil act; the brutal disappearance of the Palestinians was the child.

The expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs from their homes and lands was a premeditated crime committed by the Zionists.

The highest body of MAPAI, at the time the leading party among the Jewish population in Palestine, convened a congress in Zurich of its supporters from Palestine and other countries from July 29 to August 7, 1937. At that congress the expulsion of the Palestinians, under the euphemism of "transfer," became MAPAI's policy, planned and supported by most of its highest-ranking leaders and opposed on moral grounds by none. In the proceedings of the congress, edited by David Ben Gurion and published in Tel Aviv in 1938, Ben Gurion commented: "It seems to me unnecessary to explain the fundamental and deep difference between expulsion and transfer."(7)

That expulsion and transfer were identical terms is shown by David Ben Gurion's private remarks in a letter he wrote in the same year, 1937, to his son, in which he remarked that when a Jewish state was created, "We will expel the Arabs and take their places."(8)

Ten years later, in his diary entry for December 19, 1947, David Ben Gurion wrote even more crudely: "In each attack, a decisive blow should be struck, resulting in the destruction of homes and the expulsion of the population."(9)

Again, on April 4, 1948, Ben Gurion told a delegation from his MAPAI party: "We shall enter the vacated villages and settle in them,"(10)

David Ben Gurion was not only the leader of the MAPAI Party, but from 1935 to 1948 he was Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and thus the ranking Zionist in Palestine.(11)

After the bogus Declaration of Independence of so-called Israel on May 14, 1948, Ben Gurion implemented the evil design of expelling the Palestinian Arabs and stated: "We must do everything in our power to ensure that they never return."(12)

Common criminals often seek to justify their crimes, even to the extent of blaming their victims. The Zionists are no exception. Ruthlessly driving the Palestinian Arabs from their homes, depopulating town after town, village after village, the Zionists created the myth that the Arab leaders supposedly told their people to leave! Recent revelations detailed in once-secret Zionist intelligence reports disclose the truth: the expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs was willfully planned and executed by the Zionists. It was a premeditated war crime.

The Zionist apologists reacted to the uncovering of their own documents with the "big lie" technique. Shmuel Katz, a notorious Zionist propagandist, wrote in The Jerusalem Post that in 1948 the Arabs "did not even hint that the Palestinian Arabs were being expelled by the Jews." Those whorightfully condemned this abominable war crime were, he claimed, guilty of "the mass expulsion lie."(13)

That Katz and his Zionist colleagues are the liars is incontestably proved by official United Nations records. On September 16, 1948, Count Folke Bernadotte, United Nations Mediator for Palestine, submitted a Progress Report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in which he stated: "the exodus of Palestinian Arabs resulted from panic created by fighting in their communities, by rumours concerning real or alleged acts of terrorism, or expulsion."(14)

This United Nations report states categorically the term "expulsion," not "flight," and the Israeli Intelligence reports reveal that the fighting in many cases was solely designed to impel mass expulsion, and that the panic concerning massacres was deliberately spread to encourage exodus. The evidence, supported by eyewitness testimony, confirms that many villages were bombed, and many non-combatants ruthlessly murdered, without any relation to military objectives. The common denominator was to impel the exodus of the native Palestinian population.

The objective conclusion can only be that there is but one fundamental cause for the homelessness of the Palestinians: their mass expulsion by the Zionists. All other alleged reasons are but examples of differing methods utilized by the Zionists to bring about their mass expulsion.

That Count Bernadotte revealed the truth about the expulsion was undoubtedly one of the causes of his murder by the infamous Stern Gang. And who among these cold-blooded killers is (dis)credited with prime responsibility in the murder of the United Nations mediator? None other than Yitzhak Ysernitzky, alias Yitzhak Shamir, less than forty years later Prime Minister of Israel.

But were Shamir and his Stern Gang and Begin and his Irgun the only fascists among the Zionists? Were they the only extremists among a civilized body of Zionist Jews? No less a figure than Chaim Weizmann, first President of Israel, called David Ben-Gurion "that damned fascist" in an interview on February 1, 1947, with noted Jewish journalist C.L. Su1zberger.(15)

By reason of their very objectives, Nazis and Zionists are fascists, a fact confirmed by their methods of doing things, and their attitude toward human life. This is demonstrated in their attitude toward war. Adolf Hitler said: "Every war costs blood, and the smell of blood arouses in man all the instincts which have lain within us since the beginning of the world; deeds of violence, the intoxication of murder, and many other things. A humane war exists only in bloodless brains."(16) To the Nazis and the Zionists the "enemy" was somehow subhuman, their lives counting for naught. For "their own people" the sacrifice in battle was primarily for political, not military, purposes. When the loss of young officers for nonmilitary objectives was pointed out to Hitler, he commented, "But that is what the young men are there for!"(17)

The same attitude was shown by the Zionists in their war for the partition of Palestine in 1948. "When a number of Jewish military experts contended that it would be best to evacuate those Jewish settlements in danger of falling, the decisive consideration was political, rather than military. It was decided to risk the settlements on the assumption that the size and borders of the Jewish state would ultimately be decided by the area that the Jews succeeded in holding."(18)

This callous disregard by the Zionists for the lives of their own people, sacrificing lives unnecessarily against all of the rules of military science, also offers the key for explaining their success in expelling the Palestinian Arabs from so many towns and villages of Palestine. The Arab forces, composed of volunteers, cannot be faulted for considering each Zionist thrust to have been a military attack, a feint, or a diversionary action. As civilians, they responded accordingly, with resultant confusion, for with rare exceptions the Zionist thrusts were not attacks for military objectives, nor feints nor diversionary actions. They were non-military-related violence perpetrated for the sole purpose of impelling the native Palestinians to leave their homes and homeland.

The allegation that the Arabs "fled at the behest of their leaders" is contradicted by the historical evidence itself. A good example of a Zionist career-liar is President of so-called Israel, General Chaim Herzog. This man, twice head of Military Intelligence, and first Military Governor of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, writes, in a bold-faced lie, that when "the Golani Brigade of the Hagana cut the city of Tiberias in two, the Arabs of Tiberias chose to evacuate the city and were transported east to Transjordan. Thus began the great tragedy of the Arab refugee population, which was to plague the Middle East for decades after the war."(19)

So this war criminal and scribbler of fiction he calls history says that "the Arabs of Tiberias chose to evacuate their city" and "thus began the great tragedy of the Arab refugee problem"! The "historian" Herzog - as dubious a "historian" as he is a "general" or "President" - should check his facts. On April 19, 1948, the Hagana occupied the town of Tiberias, but as early as "March 2, Zionist soldiers attacked the adjacent village of El Manara (a village of 490 Arab inhabitants), chased its inhabitants out, destroyed some houses, and left leaflets behind warning the inhabitants not to return because the village had been mined."(20)

Again, on "April 10, the Zionists attacked the adjoining village of Nasr-ed-Din (with 90 Arab inhabitants) and destroyed all its houses, killing most of its inhabitants, including women and children, and expelling all the rest."21

The inhabitants of the two Arab villages of El Manara and Nasr-ed-Din, adjacent to Tiberias, are not real people, apparently, to Mr. Herzog! Intent on establishing as fact the bold-faced lie that the Palestinian Arab "refugee problem" began with the evacuation of the Arabs from Tiberias on April 19, 1948, Herzog deliberately conceals the prior expulsion of the Arab inhabitants of El Manara and Nasr-ed-Din. Is this to cover up the murderous acts in these two villages? Or is it even faintly possible that this head of the Security Department of the Jewish Agency and twice head of Israeli Military Intelligence does not have access to the facts of what took place in 1948-1950?

The facts concerning the evacuation of the Arabs from the city of Tiberias on April 19, 1948, are as follows:

1. The Zionists besieged the city from April 3 to 16, ruthlessly shelling the civilian inhabitants of the city and distributing propaganda threatening those who opposed them.

2. The departing British authorities offered transport for the panic-stricken Arab population who, faced with continued bombardment if they remained, accepted the British offer.

3. The acceptance of the offer was given urgency by the news of the April 10th massacre committed by the Zionists at Deir Yassin and the fate of the adjoining villages of El Manara and Nasr ed Din.(22)

The expulsion of the Arabs from Jaffa in April 1948, a large city adjacent to Tel Aviv, was brought about through the same combination of threatening propaganda - using real massacres as examples -and the indiscriminate shelling of civilians. Jaffa was taken by the Irgun, perpetrators of the infamous Deir Yassin massacre, and the account of the Irgun's gangster leader, Menachem Begin, proves that the departure of the Arab population from the large city of Jaffa was, in fact, caused by the terrorist methods of the Irgun. Begin writes:

Then a strange phenomenon was revealed before our eyes: the mass flight from Jaffa. Arab civilians and a variety of Arab "fighters" suddenly began to leave the town in panic.

There appear to have been two causes for this epidemic flight. One was the name of their attackers and the repute which propaganda had bestowed on them. The Beirut correspondent of the United Press cabled that when the first boat-load of refugees arrived there from Jaffa they reported that the information that this attack was being made by the Irgun had thrown the population into a state of abject fear. The second factor was the weight of our bombardment. I do not know exactly how many shells we sent into Jaffa. Yigal Yadin, Operations Officer of the Hagana, told me afterwards that we had not been sufficiently economical with our precious shells. The total load was certainly very heavy. We went all out,

Our shelling made the free movement of enemy forces impossible and forced them to seek doubtful shelter in buildings. It disrupted telephone communications, cut the electricity supply, and broke water mains. Confusion and terror, deepened by the noise of the battle raging at no great distance from the central streets, reigned in the town, and the great flight began, by sea and land, on wheels and on foot. It started with thousands, but very quickly tens of thousands were sucked into the panic flood. British sources reported numerous Arab casualties in all parts of the town.(23)

British officer Sir Henry Gurney, who witnessed the Irgun attack on Jaffa, wrote in his diary: "The Irgun mortar attack was indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets and was designed to create panic among the population."(24)

Writer Michael Palumbo describes the Irgun's criminal behavior in Jaffa:

There was a great deal of looting in Jaffa, particularly by the Irgun. At first the young "freedom fighters" robbed Jaffa shops of dresses and ornaments for their girlfriends. Soon, however, everything that was movable was carried off from Jaffa: furniture, carpets, pictures, crockery and cutlery. Not content with looting, the Irgun fighters smashed or destroyed everything which they could not carry off, including pianos, lamps and window-panes. Ben Gurion afterwards admitted that Jews of all classes poured into Jaffa from Tel Aviv in order to take part in what he calledGa shameful and distressing spectacle."(25)

The Irgun also looted the city of Haifa as well. Golda Meir visited Haifa and later briefed her fellow members of the Jewish Agency Executive about conditions in the city. She estimated that there were about "3,000 to 4,000" Arabs left in the city. Michael Palumbo reports that Golda Meir "blamed the Irgun for looting the area under their control. 'Not a thread was left in any of the houses, everything was sold on the spot.'"(26)

A hitherto-secret IDF Intelligence Branch Report, "The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine in the Period from the First of December 1947 to the First of June 1948" proves beyond doubt, in the accurate assessment of the Zionists themselves, unadorned by propaganda, that they deliberately created the Palestinian refugee problem. This report, dated June 30, 1948, is direct evidence debunking decades of Zionist myth-making which tried to shift the blame to the victims.(27)

When this primary source material is compared with the Zionists' own accounts of military action in Palestine, it is clear that more than 99 percent of the Palestinian Arab exodus was caused by various factors engineered by the Zionists. Objective analysis of these factors, using the Zionists' own statistical breakdown, should end any controversy, which has always been an artificial, Zionist-inspired one, on this question.

This IDF Intelligence Branch Report of June 30, 1948, ascribes responsibility for 55 percent of the Palestinian Arab refugees to two causes: "Direct hostile Jewish (HaganaDDF) operations against Arab settlements" and "the effect of our HaganaDDF hostile operations on nearby Arab settlements."

Thus the IDF/Haganah Intelligence Branch claims direct responsibility for engineering 55 percent of the dispersal of victimized Palestinian Arabs.

The report ascribes responsibility for 15 percent of the Palestinian Arab refugees to: "Operations of the Jewish dissidents (Irgun Z'vai Leumi and the Stern Gang)."

However, it is clear from the remarks of Irgun leader Menachem Begin regarding the Irgun's role in the expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs from Jaffa that the Irgun's actions were not disassociated from the HaganahDDF but in concert with them. This is also proved by the fact that the Irgun and Stern Gang perpetrators of the Deir Yassinmassacre of April 9, 1948, had been given formal prior approval for the action by David Shaltiel, the Haganah area commander.(28)

Thus causes (1), (2), and (3) are admissions of real, direct responsibility for a total of 70 percent of the Palestinian Arab refugees by the IDFmaganah Intelligence Branch.

The Intelligence Branch ascribes responsibility for 5 percent of the Palestinian Arab refugees to "Orders and decrees by Arab institutions and gangs."

It would seem from the Report that this mere 5 percent of the Palestinian Arab refugees were not the direct responsibility of the Zionist war criminals. But examination of the military action in Palestine clearly indicates that even this 5 percent was not an Arab-impelled exodus, but a Zionist-instigated one.

In the first period of the Zionist war for the partition of Palestine, the Zionist forces bombarded indiscriminately every possible Arab village with mortar fire, killing innocent men, women and children. In some cases the villagers fled the murderous fire on their own; in other cases Arab authorities recommended flight to the villagers to escape the murderous fire raining down upon them for no apparent military reason.

Let us examine the fate of the two Palestinian Arab villages of Beit Surik and Biddu in the vicinity of Abu Gosh on the main Jerusalem/Lydda road. According to the testimony of Lt. Col. Yasef Tabenkin, commander of the Harel Palmach Brigade at the time:

The eastern company was ordered to take the village after a mortar bombardment. One of its platoons seized the buildings and the other two attacked at the flanks. The village was conquered and its occupants fled, and the demolition of buildings started.

As soon as Beit Sunk was taken our reserve force set out to take Biddu. After a short bombardment with the Davidka the place was captured and its houses were demolished.(29)

The Davidka was a home-made mortar, ineffective in normal military combat, but suitable for raining terror on unarmed villagers.

The regular mortars and Davidkas of the Zionist armed gangs were improved upon after the so-called independence of Israel, on May 14th, 1948. The Zionists then received from Czechoslovakia Messerschmitt 109 aircraft. These planes, which had terrorized Europe in the service of the Nazis, were now to be used to bomb and strafe defenseless Arab villages in Pale~tine.~~ If professional soldiers had sometimes panicked under the attack of Nazi Messerschmitts, one should not be surprised that defenseless Arab villagers, or leaders concerned with saving their people's lives, would seek safety in flight from such indiscriminate bombing and strafing.

It is appropriate that the Zionists used Nazi planes to impel the Palestinian Arabs from their homes. The Zionists who bombarded Palestinian Arab villages with mortars and Davidkas, who strafed and bombed them, raining down death and destruction indiscriminately from the skies, behaved like utter villains, and it was to this ruthless, barbaric behavior that some Arab institutions responded by urging their unarmed people to flee for their lives.

The Israeli Intelligence Branch ascribes responsibility for 2 percent of the Palestinian Arab refugees to: "Jewish 'whispering' (psychological warfare) operations." According to Jewish scholar Benny Morris, although Jewish psychological warfare operations accounted for only some 2 percent of the exodus nationwide in the report,

in a number of regions, states the report, "whispering" campaigns were of considerable importance. In the Tel Aviv and Haifasubdistricts, for instance, suchacampaignin April-May accounted for 18 percent of the Arab exodus, and in the coastal plain for six percent. In the coastal plain and in the Gilboa district, whispering operations were disorganized and unsystematic. But in the Tel Aviv and Haifa subdistricts, "the operation was carried out with predetermination, with relatively wide scope and organization," and so led to greater results. The operation itself was carried out, explains the report, in the form of "friendly advice" by Jews to their neighbouring Arab friends.(31)

This systematic propaganda carried out in a predetermined manner by the Zionists would have had the admiration of Joseph Goebbels, who said:

That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result, however intelligent it is, for it is not propaganda's task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success. Therefore no one can say your propaganda is too rough, too mean; these are not criteria by which it may be characterized. It ought not to be decent, nor ought it to be gentle or soft or humble; it ought to lead to success.(32)

And this Zionist propaganda "whispering" campaign, mean in purpose, rough in implementation, achieved its purpose, propelling its Arab listeners from their homes and villages, leaving their homes to the mercy of Zionist bulldozers, and their ancestral village land to the exploitation of the alien conquerors.

The IDF Intelligence Analysis ascribes responsibility for 2 percent of the Palestinian Arab refugees to "orders of expulsion by Jewish forces to Arab villages." This percentage is small compared with the latter part of the war after June 1948, and the post-war expulsions were almost entirely by means of orders of expulsion. Up to the start of June 1948 such orders were especially prominent in the coastal plain, and the report states that, "of course, the effect of such an ultimatum, like the effect of friendly advice, came after a certain laying of the groundwork through hostile Jewish operations in the area. Therefore, such expulsion orders are more in the nature of a final motivation and propellant, than a decisive factor."(33)

The Intelligence Branch ascribes the cause of 1 percent of the Arab emigration to "Arab fear of Jewish retaliation after an Arab attack on Jews." According to the Report, this "occurred in the Western Galilee (following the Arab attack on the Yehiam convoy), and after the attacks in April on Kibbutz Mishmar Ha'emek (western Jezreel Valley) and Kibbutz Gesher (Jordan Valley)."(34)

Because of the massacre of Deir Yassin, and other massacres of innocent civilians in many villages of Palestine, this Arab fear of Zionist retaliation on defenseless civilians for Jewish losses in combat with Arab forces was a very real one.

As Ze'ev Schiff, the leading military authority of the newspaper Ha'aretz says, Deir Yassin "caused masses of Arabs to flee in fear of further atrocities, making the battle for distant Haifa all the easier for Jewish forces. As the story of the massacre spread among the Arabs it gathered gruesome detail and became a serious blow to the morale of the civilian Arab population."(35)

The Intelligence Branch Analysis attributes less than 1 percent of the Arab refugees to the three following causes combined: "The arrival of Arab irregular forces in a village; villagers' fears that the impending Arab invasion would turn their homes into a battleground, and the fact of being an isolated village in a predominantly Jewish area." It is obvious that these causes would prompt villagers' fears that their village would become a target of indiscriminate Zionist shelling or bombing and that it might become the choice for yet another Zionist massacre of innocent men, women and children. Thus these causes are not truly "causes" but "effects" - the effects of the inhuman methods used by the Zionists to depopulate Arab Palestine.

The last cause is especially the effect of Zionist propaganda to encourage Palestinian Arab flight. Those villages, hopelessly surrounded, with only Jewish neighbors, were prime targets for Zionist propaganda campaigns, following the formula prescribed by Goebbels of the Third Reich:

Put pressure on your adversary with ice-cold determination. Probe him. search out his weak soot: deliberately and calculatingly sharpen the spear, hurl it with careful aim where the enemy is naked and vulnerable, and then perhaps say with a friendly smile, "Sorry, neighbor, but I can't help it!"(36)

The IDF "Intelligence Branch Report of 30 June, 1948," thus ascribes 81 percent of the Arab refugees of Palestine to Causes (1) through (lo), each and all of which were either directly engineered by the Zionists or were the effect of directly engineered Zionist actions.

The Intelligence Branch Analysis attributes the remaining 19 percent of the Palestinian Arab refugees to "Various local factors and general fear of the future."

The report ascribes approximately 9 percent of the exodus to "local factors" such as "the breakdown in specific localities of Arab-Jewish peace negotiations and the Arabs' inability to adjust to certain real situations."

The Intelligence Branch obviously uses these explanations as euphemisms for common Zionist misconduct, like urging peace negotiations while surreptitiously carrying out armed actions, and using subterfuge to expand territory held. During the United-Nations-arranged truce from 11 June to 9 July, 1948, the UN mediator received 147 serious Arab complaints concerning the truce area outside the city of Jerusalem. In his report, the UN mediator stated: "The most serious of these complaints dealt with attacks on villages and included the alleged occupation of villages, strategic hills and road junctions after the commencement of the truce."(37) The Zionists were undoubtedly aware that their seizure of strategic hills permitting easy bombardment of a village, or the seizure of a road junction which could prevent transit to and from a village, would impel Arab villagers to become refugees. These "real situations" would not only be difficult to adjust to, but together with incessant Zionist propaganda would impact on the simple villagers in such a way as to impel flight.

The Intelligence Branch Analysis ascribes the remaining 10 percent of the Arab refugees to "general fear of the future." Benny Morris states:

In this context the report mentions the initial waves of emigration at the start of the hostilities, caused at first glance, by no special reason. These were rooted in a "general fear" resulting primarily from "the crisis in confidence in Arab strength."

The Intelligence Branch thus places this "crisis of confidence" in the Arab power to fight and withstand or defeat Jewish arms as the "third most important factor after our own operations and those of the dissidents," in the Arab exodus.(38)

Anyone accustomed to the incessant Zionist propaganda campaign about the allegedly "blood thirsty" and "warmongering" Arabs must be bewildered that 10 percent of the Arabs fled because they knew that it was the Zionists, and not the Arabs, who were "bloodthirsty" and "war mongering." The Palestinian Arabs were, and are, essentially a peaceful and peace-loving people. It was the Zionists who were preparing to slaughter the Arabs, not the other way around. To prove this, we will quote no less a Zionist authority than Yisrael Galili, last commander in chief of the Haganah, in his address to the National Council of the Histadrut delivered in Tel-Aviv on September 30, 1947: "In point of fact we have no certain knowledge that the Palestinian Arabs are engaged in country wide military preparations, such as training armed forces, planning operations, and setting up commands."(39)

Further proof is that after the Arab revolt of 1936 against the British ended, almost all of the violent acts in Palestine were committed by the Zionists against the British, against the Palestinian Arabs, and even against dissident Jews.

Mr. Morris, by uncovering this Zionist Defence Intelligence Branch Report of 30 June 1948, has greatly helped to prove the truth: that the expulsion of all the Palestinian refugees was caused directly or indirectly by Zionist actions.

He provides interesting commentary on the intelligence report:

Following this statistical breakdown, the report offers some "general comments" identifying some direct and indirect contributory factors which hastened, precipitated or increased waves of emigration in various areas at different times. First and foremost, the report refers to a "psychosis of evacuation" which gripped some Arab communities during the hostilities, "increasing the rate of evacuation." It appeared, stated the report, "like a contagious disease." As an example Intelligence Branch cites the case of Acre, which fell to Haganah forces on 17 May. There "it is possible to assume ... that the massive arrival on the scene (a fortnight before) of the refugees from Haifa, who planted in the hearts of Acre's inhabitants a psychosis of evacuation ... had a decisive influence." Thus, "light attacks"and"nudges" by the Jewish forces around Haifa had the effect of precipitating flight in a population already affected by "evacuation psychosis." The appearance of typhus also prompted flight. "More than the disease itself," states the report, "the panic created by the rumours of the spread of the epidemic was a factor prompting evacuation." The report points out that where there was a "strong Arab military force" the villagers did not evacuate "readily," and "only a direct and serious operation (by the Jewish forces) brought about the destruction of this (military) force, bringing flight (of the civilian population) in its wake."(40)

Of course one must understand that Zionist "light attacks" and "nudges" by the Jewish forces means shooting at unarmed civilians who can't shoot back. Mortars and Davidkas are the perfect instruments for "nudges."

The once-secret Intelligence Report definitively absolves the Arab leadership of the blame for the Palestinian Arab exodus -those very leaders whom official Zionist historiography tries to blame for the refugee problem!

At the start of the evacuation "the Arab institutions attempted to struggle against the phenomenon of flight and evacuation, and to curb the waves of emigration." The Arab Higher Committee decided to impose restrictions and issued threats, punishments and propaganda in the radio and press to curb emigration. The committee also tried to mobilize the government in the neighboring Arab states to assist in this; there was a coincidence of interests.(41)

Mr. Morris gives a fair assessment of the over-all accuracy of the Intelligence Branch Report:

How accurate is the information conveyed in this document? How sound is its analysis of the causes of the Palestinian exodus up to June 1948? What is its significance in relation to the traditional perceptions of the character and causes of that exodus?

In theory at least, the IDF Intelligence Branch - Israel's only intelligence service in June 1948 - was very well placed to collect and analyse data about the Palestinian exodus. The team of officers who produced this report had access to the reports of Israeli agents and Arab informants in the various Arab localities, to the signals and reports of the Haganah IDF unit intelligence officers (one at least was attached to every battalion and brigade) and front commanders around the country.

It is also possible that the authors of the report were supplied, at their request, with special reports by unit intelligence officers and perhaps unit commanders as well as detailingeach unit's history of conquest and treatment of Arab settlements. The respite provided by the first weeks of the First Truce would have made possible the writing of such reports. An indirect indication that such reports were indeed produced and, at least in part, serves as the basis of this analysis is afforded by the absence of one of the two appendices which, according to the table of contents printed on the covering page of the document, were to have accompanied the text - "appendix 1" giving "regional surveys analyzing the problems of emigration in each and every district." Presumably, these surveys were to have been written by unit front (hazit) or district (nafa) intelligence officers. Either some of them were not delivered or those delivered were regarded as inadequate for reproduction along with the text and the originally entitled "appendix 2," which details the exodus from each village, by district, around the country. (Appendix 2, in fact, was included, retitled "appendix 1").

In the end, the authors apparently decided that the analysis, buttressed by the village-by-village appendix, was sufficient, and the regional analyses at first contemplated were left out (though sallies into regional analysis are to be found interspersed unsystematically throughout the text).

The reservations about sourcing aside, there is no reason to cast doubt on the integrity of IDF Intelligence Branch in the production of this analysis. The analysis was produced almost certainly only for internal IDF top brass consumption. (42)

Mr. Morris' commentary on the Intelligence Branch Analysis shows that such errors or distortions as exist within the report, when examined closely, reveal an even greater direct Zionist responsibility for expelling the Palestinian Arabs than the report admits:

The village-by-village survey in the appendix lists 14 villages evacuated as a result of Haganah or IDF orders or ultimatums. In peacetime these villages together had a population of some 20,000. Yet in the analysis of causes of the exodus, the report speaks of only two per cent "of the villages" (out of a total of 250 evacuated) as leaving because of HaganahIIDF expulsion orders. Fourteen out of 250 represents more like five percent.

Moreover, the report leaves a large, poorly demarcated grey area between outright expulsion by Jewish order and evacuation of Arab villages in the course of Haganah/IDF "military operations" (which are said to account for 55 per cent of the exodus).

Some of the villages said to have been evacuated because of "military operations" (and presumably included in that 55 per cent), are seen in the detailed breakdown in the appendix to have been depopulated in a somewhat less straightforward manner. For example, the 710-strong population of Khirbet Lid (al-Awadim), near Afula, in the Jezreel Valley, is said in the appendix to have left because of "the influence of (the nearby battle of) Mishmar Ha'emek" in April 1948. But in the subsequent "comment," the appendix also states: "They tried to return. And were expelled." Khirbet Lid was presumably not included under the expulsion category.

Nor was Fajja, a large village next to Petah Tiqva. Part of the population left after the Irgun Z'vai Leumi (IZL) attack on 17 March. The final evacuation on 15 May took place, according to the appendix, because of "pressure by us (and) a whispering (i.e., psychological warfare) campaign." Presumably Fajja was listed among the two per cent of evacuations caused by psychological warfare; but, given the reference to "pressure" by the Haganah, it could also have been included perhaps in the expulsion category (which it presumably was not).

Nor was Al Khalisa, the site of present-day Kiryat Shmona, in the Galilee Panhandle. The village, with apopulation of 1,840, is said to have been evacuated on 11 May because of the "fall of Safad," a major Arab centre to the south. But according to the appendix, that was not all. "They wanted (to reach) an agreement with us. They were turned down. (So) they fled," states the report. Presumably, Khalisa was included under the "local factors" category rather than under the expulsion category. As in Al Khalisa, so in As Salihiya, a village of 1,520 a few kilimetres to the south. They wanted to negotiate - we did not show up," states the report. The villagers fled Palestine on 25 May.

In military operations, such as the IZL attack on Jaffa, and probably the Haganah offensive in Western Galilee in May 1948, the flight of the Arab inhabitants was clearly desired and deliberately provoked by the attacking troops. The IZL (LH) attack on Deir Yassin near Jerusalem on 9 April ended not only in a massacre but also in the expulsion by the conquering unit of the surviving Arab villagers. (The Intelligence Branch report categorizes the flight of the Deir Yassin inhabitants as a result of a dissident operation rather than under the heading of expulsion.)

While the report was not produced with any propagandizing intention in mind, its authors seem to have exhibited a perhaps understandable tendency to minimize the role direct expulsion orders played in bringing about part of the Palestinian exodus. The proportion of villagers expelled is computed incorrectly and a large grey area of "semi-expulsion" is included under the category of flight due to "military operation" or some other "non-expulsion" category.

Moreover, the report also includes a number of factual errors and omissions in this context; presumably these were the result of misinformation in the reports by local unit commanders and field intelligence officers. For instance, part of the population of the Arab town of Beisan (Beit Shean) is said to have fled on 1 May as a result of "fear and the influence of (the fall of Arab) Haifa." The remainder of the population, according to the appendix, is said to have left on 12 May as a result of the Haganah "conquest (of the town). Fear. The influence of Haifa." But this is not completely accurate. Hundreds of the town's residents stayed on after theconquest, and were expelled only days later - some to Nazareth, others across the Jordan River - at Haganah command."

The small village of 140 tenant farmers of Qira wa Qamun, near Yoqne'am, on the western edge of the Jezreel Valley, was evacuated in March by its inhabitants after they received "friendly advice" from the local Haganah intelligence officer at Yoqne'am, Yehuda Burstein. But the report gives the reason for the Qira evacuation as "fear and influence of the attacks in the area" -not really the same thing.

More inexplicable is the omission altogether from the appendix of the fate of a string of Western Galilee villages - Az Zib, Manshiya, As Sumeiriya, Al Bassa and others - all evacuated during or before the Haganah's Operation Ben- Ami in mid-May. It is quite possible that the Haganah commander in Western Galilee or the relevant intelligence officers simply failed to submit toIntelligence Branch areport on the Arab exodus from their area.

What then is the significance of the IDF Intelligence Branch report in understanding the Palestinian exodus of 1948? To begin with, it thoroughly undermines the traditional official Israeli "explanation" of a mass flight.

The report makes no mention of any blanket order issued over Arab stations or through other means, to the Palestinians to evacuate their homes and villages. Had such an order been issued, it would without doubt have been mentioned or cited in this document; the Haganah Intelligence Service and the IDF Intelligence Branch closely monitored Arab radio transmissions and the Arabic press.

Indeed, the Intelligence Branch report in its main thrust seems to go still further in undermining the official Israeli historiography. For not only is the "Arab orders" explanation seen to be limited in the numbers it affected and extremely restricted geographically; but the report goes out of its way to stress that the exodus was contrary to the political-strategic desires of both the Arab Higher Committee and the governments of the neighbowing Arab states. These, according to the report, struggled against the exodus - threatening, cajoling, imposing punishments, all to no avail. There was no stemming the panic-borne tide.

One must again emphasize that the report and its significance pertain up to 1 June 1948, by which time some 300,000-400,000 Palestinians had left their homes. A similar number was to leave Jewish-held areas in the remaining months of the war.(43)

Mr. Morris has done further scholarly research on the expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs during the second half of the Zionists' war for the partition of Palestine. His research, using official Zionist political and military documents, shows that the same methods of propelling the expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs from their native land that were used by the Zionists in the first half of the war were used even more efficiently in the second half. Mr. Morris proves this with his account of "Operation Dani and the Palestinian Exodus from Lydda and Ramle in 1948":

Operation Dani, starting on the night of July 9-10, was to demoralize swiftly the inhabitants of Lydda and Ramle, and within days to result in a complete exodus of the population to the areas held by the Arab Legion to the east.

From the start, the military operations against the two towns were designed to induce civilian panic and flight- as a means of precipitating military collapse and possibly also as an end in itself. As land battles raged north of the towns, IDF bombing raids hit Lydda and Ramle. Operation Dani HQ at 1 1.30 hours on July 10 informed IDF General Staffloperations in two messages that there was a "general and considerable (civilian) flight from Ramle. There is great value in - - continuing the bombing .... Inform us of possibilities of aerial bombardment of Ramle now." The linkage in the minds of the Operation Dani commanders between the bombings and the desirability of civilian flight is clear. Later that afternoon Dani HQ radioed IDF General StaffIOperations: "Immediate aerial bombardment is needed as follows: 1. A strong bombardment of Lydda. 2. Bombardment of Ramle ..." A few minutes later, Dani HQ radioed Yiftah Brigade HQ: "Right from the town of Ramle of women, the old and children is to befacilitated. The males (of military age) are to bedetained ..." A similar message was sent from "Malka" to "Tziporen," the code names of two Operation Dani units: "Speedy flight from Ramle of women, the old and children is to be facilitated."

The bombing and shelling of the two towns caused panic and flight (mostly from Ramle). Yiftah Brigade's intelligence officer on July 11 reported: "The bombing from the air and (shelling by) artillery of Lydda and Ramle cause flight and panic among the civilians (and) a readiness to surrender." Operation Dani HQ that day repeatedly asked General Staff/Operations for further bombing of the two towns "including incendiaries."

On July 11 the Israeli air force, in a psychological warfare ploy, also showered Ramle and Lydda with leaflets stating: "You have no chance of receiving help. We intend to conquer the towns. We have no intention of harming persons or property. (But) whoever attempts to oppose us - will die. He who prefers to live must s~rrender."(44)

On July 12 Ramle and Lydda were occupied by the Zionists. They imposed a curfew. At 11.30 hours on July 12 the relative calm in Lydda was shattered by some firing. Then all hell broke out for the poor, civilian inhabitants of the city. Mr. Morris describes the horror that took place, the orgy of vengeance by the Zionist soldiers on innocent civilians that Israeli historiography now calls an "uprising":

Apparently, many Lydda inhabitants, shut up in their houses under curfew, took fright at the sudden outbreak of shooting outside; they may have feared that a massacre by Third Battalion troops was in progress. Some rushed into the streets, only to be cut down by Israeli fire. Some of the soldiers also fired and lobbed grenades into houses from which they suspected snipers to be operating. In the confusion, many unarmed detainees in the detention areas in the center of town - in the mosque and church compounds - were shot and killed. Some of these had attempted to escape, perhaps fearing a massacre.

By 14.00 hours it was all over. Yeruham Cohen, an intelligence officer at Operation Dani HQ, later described the situation in Lydda at the time: "The inhabitants of the town have become panic-stricken. They feared that ... the IDF troops would take revenge on them. It was a horrible, earsplitting scene. Women wailed at the tops of their voices and old men said prayers, as if they saw their own deaths before their eyes ..." The wailing may have been precipitated less by fear than by the sight of the carnage on the streets, at which Cohen only hinted.

The Israeli troops' fire between 11.30 and 14.00 hours had caused "some 250 dead ... and many wounded."

The commanders of the (Palmach) Yiftah Brigade, one of the best in the IDF in 1948, were later to admit that the Third Battalion had not written in Lydda on July 12 one of the glorious chapters in its history. Brigade Commander Mula Cohen was to write of the slaughter that "the cruelty of the war here reached its zenith. The conquest of the town which had served as aloyal base for theenemy ...g ave rise to vengeful urges (among the Israeli troops), which had sought an outlet...""(45)

The massacre at Lydda directly involved then, and future, top leaders of the Zionist State in the war crime of forcibly expelling the Palestinian Arabs from Lydda and Ramle:

The outbreak of shooting at Lydda around noon, on July 12, focused minds wonderfully at Operation Dani HQ at Yazur. A strong desire to see the Arabs of the two towns flee already existed: the shooting seemed to offer the justification and opportunity for what the bombings and artillery barrages, which were insubstantial by World War II standards, had in the main failed to achieve.

Ben-Gurion spent the early afternoon at Operation Dani HQ. Also present were IDF OC Operations General Yadin, Deputy Chief of Staff General Zvi Ayalon, Yisrael Galili (former chief of the defunct Haganah National Staff and a senior, if at this time shadowy, defense establishment figure), Allon, and his deputy, Operation Dani OC Operations Yitzhak Rabin. There was shooting in Lydda. According to the best account of that meeting, someone, possibly Allon, proposed expelling the inhabitants of the two towns. Ben- Gurion said nothing, and no decision was taken. Then Ben- Gurion, Allon and Rabin left the room. Allon asked: "What shall we do with the Arabs?" Ben-Gurion made a dismissive, energetic gesture with his hand and said "expel them (garesh otan)."

At 13.30 hours, July 12, before the shooting had completely died down in Lydda, Operation Dani HQ issued the following order to Yiftah Brigade: "1. The inhabitants of Lydda must be expelled quickly without attention to age. They should be directed towards Beit Nabala. Yiftah (Brigade HQ) must determine the method and inform Dani HQ and 8th Brigade HQ. 2. Implement immediately." A similar order was apparently communicated to Kiryati Brigade at about the same time.(46)

During the afternoon and evening of July 12, thousands of Ramle's inhabitants streamed out of the town, on foot or in trucks and buses. The expulsion from massacre-shocked Lydda had not yet begun. A new eyewitness arrived at the two towns, Bechor Shitrit, a long-time career civil servant in the Palestine Police and the "token" Palestinian Arab Jew among a European born or bred Zionist leadership.

As Morris relates it:

Then Minister for Minority Affairs Bechor Shitrit appeared on the scene, almost halting the exodus from Ramle and stymying the expulsion from Lydda before it had begun.

The Cabinet knew nothing of the expulsion orders, and Shitrit arrived in Ramle during the afternoon of July 12 to look over part of his new "constituencyy'; he was responsible for the welfare of Israel's Arab minority. He was shocked by what he saw and heard; the Kiryati commanders in the town were in the midst of preparations to expel its inhabitants,

The majority of Ramle's inhabitants, he wrote the following day in his report on the visit, had not fled during the fighting and had stayed put. But Kiryati Brigade OC Ben-Gal had told him that "in line with an order from the commander of the operation, Paicovitch (i.e. Yigal Allon), the IDF was about to take prisoner all males of military age, and the rest of the inhabitants - men, women and children - were to be taken beyond (sic) the border and left to their fate."

"The army intends to deal in the same way" with the inhabitants of Lydda, Shitrit reported that he was told.(47)

Despite Shitrit's attempts to halt the expulsion of the population of Ramle and Lydda, the Zionist leadership was undeterred, and on the morning of July 13th the expulsion of the Arabs began.

An intelligence officer, probably of Kiryati's 42nd Battalion, on July 13 described the situation in Ramle to 43rd Battalion HQ: "The transfer of the refugees began at 17.30 (hours, July 12). The majority of the refugees are strewn along the main street ... at the entrance to Ramle from the Jerusalem side. From there the refugees were transported in vehicles along the Jerusalem road to apoint 700 metres from Al-Qubab and were sent by foot to Beit Shanna and Salbit,"

By 18.15 hours, July 13 Operation Dani HQ clearly felt that the evacuation of Lyddays population to Arab Legion lines should have been completed. The campaign HQ cabled Yiftah Brigade: "Has the removal of the population (hotza'at ha'ochiosiah) of Lydda been completed.,.?"

During the afternoon of July 13 a problem cropped up which threatened to endanger the eviction operation just as the last of the two towns' inhabitants were being dispatched towards the Arab Legion lines. The General Staff received word that an International Red Cross team was about to descend on Ramle. General StafffOperations informed Dani HQ and Dani HQ instructed Kiryati Brigade: "The Red Cross or any other foreign element is not to be allowed to visit Ramle" that day. But the Red Cross team would visit the city at 13.30 hours the following day, July 14, and must be received properly. Kiryati responded: "The Red Cross visit tomorrow is too early. It must be delayed...''

But General Staff/Operations, probably for political reasons, refused to sanction a major delay. At 01.15 hours on July 14 Dani HQ, after hearing from General Staff/Operations, instructed Kiryati: The visit would take place at 15.00 hours that day. "You must by then evacuate all the refugees, remove the bodies of the dead and fix up the hospital." The order was signed "Yitzhak R(abin)"(48)

Yitzhak Rabin personally took part in killing Palestinians, expelling Palestinims, and in covering up war crimes during the expulsion of the inhabitmts of Ramle and Lydda. He later became Chief of Staff of the Army, Ambassador to Washington and Prime Minister. At present he is Defense Minister responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed daily against the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and in the Golan Heights. Benny Morris reports what the Zionist soldiers related about the suffering of the Palestinian refugees. He states:

All IDF soldiers who witnessed the events agreed that the exodus turned into an extended episode of suffe~ng for the refugees, especially for the towns-people of Lydda, who had to cover the 6-7 kilometers to Beit Nabalanortheastwards and the 10-1 2 kilometers to Barfiliya on foot, on dusty tracks under a hot July sun.

In general, the refugees were sent on their way unmolested. According to Guttman, orders were issued to at least some units not to check the refugees' baggage (carried in animal-led carts or on their backs). But many cases were reported of robbery by IDF troops en route, One Minister complained in Cabinet on July 21 of refugee women being robbed of their jewels. Several months later, a complaint reached Allon that troops at the checkpoints on the way out of Lydda had been "ordered" to "take from the expelled Arabs every watch, piece of jewellery or money ... so that arriving compIetely destitute, they would become a burden on the Arab Legion.'' The complainant, Aharon Cohen, the director of Mapam's Arab Department, who based himself on the eyewitness testimony of a soldier who was at the scene, said that he did not know whether the order had been a "local" one or had been a genera1 one issued from on high.

A British teacher, working for the Jerusalem and East Mission in the C.M.S. School in Amman, late in July investigated the state of the Palestinian refugees in Transjordan and in the Triangle. She came away with the testimony confirming that of Aharon Cohen's unnamed informant. She had heard "the same tale?' from all the Lydda refugees: "They were told by the Jews that they might leave at their leisure and take what they could carry, then as they got outside the town they were met by Jews who stripped them of all their valuables even to the women's ear-rings, bracelets and head coins. One woman told me she started with only 11 piastres and that was taken from her."

The spectacle of the stream of refugees on the roads out of the two cities under the hot sun (30-35C) shocked many of the IDF soldiers. Guttman five months later described it thus: "A multitude of inhabitants walked one after another. Women walked burdened with packages and sacks on their heads. Mothers dragged children after them ... occasionally warning shots were heard."

Another Israeli soldier, from Kibbutz Ein Harod (probably from the Third Battalion), recorded a few weeks after the event vivid impressions of the thirst and hunger of the refugees on the road, of how "children got lost" and of how one child fell into a well and drowned, ignored as the refugees fought each other to draw some water.

The suffering of some of the Lydda refugees on the roads had been extreme. cbMany of them had walked for three daysy sleeping out two nights, before they were picked up by the Arab Legion ... Most of them" told Winifred Coate "that they started out carrying some bedding, but with exhaustion from thirst and the frightful heat of the journey they threw away everything they had and just escaped with nothing. One woman nursing a baby showed me her two other toddling children, whom she said she had (had) to carry in turns a11 the way, with the babyy so that it was impossible to carry anything. Another woman, who was unmamed and an aunt, had brought along seven children, all young, whose parents had been killed before their eyes."

Coate went on to describe the condition of the thousands of Ramle-Lydda refugees who had reached Amman. The Transjordan government was giving each refugee two loaves (Ed: presumably two pancake-sized loaves) of bread per day. ''Small children and babies are suffering tembly," she reported, In one school building in Amman she saw ''twelve families in a medium-sized classroom; it was easy for them to get in as they have no possessions, nothing in which to cook and in most cases no bedding. They were lying on old sacks and rags. Near the school about ten families were living out under the trees in private gardens which had a few olive trees'' in improvised tents. Coate commented that "many of them" were used to camping out in vineyards "at this time of year, but this is in the middle of Amman and is most tinsuitable in a town." She feared an outbreak of disease.(49)

Other eyewitness accounts are equally heart-rending(50):

A blind teenager Raja'i Buseilah (now an English professor at an American University) remembers being huddled with the other frightened people of Lydda. "The streets were full of sound and bustle, more of relief than ofloss, of disaster, of the misery lying in wait on the road." Raja'i's keen ears heard the Israeli loudspeakers broadcasting from trucks, warning the people that they had better leave quickly or they would suffer a similar fate as those massacred in the Dahmash Mosque. The hordes of civilians were marchedeastward, each step taking them closer to their new life as refugees.

As the London Economist reported, "The Arab refugees were systematically stripped of all their belongings before they were sent on their trek to the frontier. Household belongings, stores, clothing, all had to be left behind."(51) Though blind and defenceless, Raja'i recalls, "I was searched twice and lost a watch." According to Saba A. Saba, another Palestinian youth, some were treated even more brutally. "TWO of my friends were killed in cold blood. One was carrying a box presumed to have money and the other a pillow which was believed to contain valuables," Sayid Nasrallah had a similar experience. "A friend of mine resisted and was killed in front of me. He had 400 Palestinian pounds in his pocket." Most of the people, however, turned over their valuables without a struggle ...

The mood of these tragic events would later be captured by Ismail Shammout, an eighteen-year-old suwivor of the death march who would eventually become a recognized artist. Ismail was expelled from Lydda along with his parents and eight brothers and sisters. While marching in the blazing heat, he spotted some water. He rushed to fill a pot he was carrying. He later recalled, "At that mQment a jeep pulled up with three people. One of them, a Zionist officer, got out. He pulled a gun and put it to my head and ordered me to put the water down."(52) The Arab teenager had no choice but to obey.

Ismail would never forget the thirst of the thousands kf people who trudged on, not knowing where they were going. He saw people chewing grass in the hope of obtaining a bit of moisture. Others drank their chi~dren~s urine. By the roadside pregnant women were prematurely delivering babies, their labor brought on by the strain of their ordeal. None of these infants suwived. Since no one had any opportunity to bury the dead, they were covered with grass and abandoned ...

Many of those on the death march came from Ramle. Abu Hassan was a prominent member of the community who represented Ramle on the government tax asessment committees. When the Zionists invaded Ramle, five Israeli soldiers broke into his home and ordered him and his family to leave, syaing, "This is our country and these are our homes; get out!"

But according to Abu Hassan not all the members of his family left willingly. "My first-born aged sixteen years tried to protect his mother and grandmother from the rough handling of the intruders only to be shot dead." The rest of the family were dumbfounded by the murder as they were pushed out of their homes with rifle butts. They were not allowed to take anything and indeed Abu Hassan was robbed of the few coins in his pocket. But this was not the worst part of the tragedy. "We were not allowed to attend our dead son. How and where he is buried I shall never know ..."

A woman who calls herself "Hanan" reported what happened when Zionist troops broke into her Ramle home. Her father begged the troops to leave his family alone. But the officer in charge threatened to avenge Arab insults against Jews. After robbing the house the Zionist officer pointed to "Hanan" and told his men "She is yours, take her.'' Her father was shot when he tried to stop the soldiers.

"Hanan" was taken to a bedroom where she was attacked by three Israeli soldiers. "They threw me on the bed and helped each other to undress me and before I was attacked, I fainted. I came to, bleeding and in pain and realized that the three soldiers had raped me in turn." The young woman was taken back to join her family where she found her father dead on the floor with her mother bending over him weeping. Soon after the Israeli soldiers shoved "Hanan" and her mother toward the door and warned them that if they wished to remain alive they should join the crowd in the street. The residents of Ramle were loaded into trucks and driven part of the way to Ramallah but had to walk the last few miles.

"Hanan" saw that all her neighbors had suffered the same fate as her family. Sari Nair recalis that his family was routed out of his home in Ramle by a Jewish soldier who came to the door and told Sari's father that everyone must leave. "Otherwise you know what will happen. What happen at Deir Yassin will happen to you."(53)

According to a report on the situation of the refugees in and around Ramallah transmitted to the Foreign Office in London by British Consul-General in Jerusalem, Sir Hugh Dow, their situation was catastrophic:

Everywhere children and tiny babies and worn-out women and old men, have come in, wave after wave, into this town. Seventy thousand people into a township of ten thousand ... The lucky ones with camels and crowded trucks, the unlucky ones, bleeding, and a woman crying out for news of her only child that escaped. People have brought away nothing but blankets. They have seen temible and unforgettable things in their streets ... Every roadside, the shade of every tree, every corner of every house and hotel is crowded with makeshift families..,The smell is beginning to be bad in so many places ... There won't be a drop of water left in Ramallah in three days...(54)


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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem
By Issa Nakhleh

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