Myth #3: Sabra and Shatila and Deir Yassin & EVEN IF Jews Lived Here at Some Point

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This post is part of the Response to “Hate Mail” from an Israel-Hating Conspiracy Theorist series dealing with many of the biased, misleading and/or flat-out wrong claims made against Israel. Now, on to Claim #3, which, in the “hate mail” I recently received was a combination of denying the Jewish connection to the land of Israel while at the same time claiming Israel is somehow uniquely malevolent by blaming Israel for massacres in Deir Yassin, Sabra, and Shatila.

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On to your next ahistorical and very confused assertion: “even if Jews lived here at some point in history that doesn’t give them the right to massacre Palestinians and take their land. in 1948 Jews took the land by force, now that’s an historical fact there is no denying that the massacres they committed from Deir Yassin to Sabra and Shatila”

Jews Praying in Safed 1893
                                        Jews Praying in Synagogue in Safed 1893

Wow. I have to say,  this is really confused and wrong on many levels.There are two parts to this third myth. The first attempts to deny Jewish history and its connection to the land of Israel. The second attempts to place blame on Israel for various events in history. To address the first, this post has a series of pictures that speak louder than words. Jews praying at the Kotel in the 1800s, ancient Jewish coins (including coins from nearly 2000 years ago that says “Freedom for Zion” in Hebrew), etc. The reality is that the historical, religious, archaeological, and genetic evidence supporting the deep connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel is beyond any credible doubt. Even the Koran expressly says that the land of Israel was assigned by G-d to the Jewish people.

With respect to your confused massacre claims, as an initial matter, Sabra and Shatila had nothing to do with Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. Sabra and Shatila refers to a massacre that occurred in 1982 in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon (where the Lebanese also have numerous discriminatory laws against the Palestinians that do not allow them to participate in dozens of professions or to own land).

The attack on Sabra and Shatila was conducted by a militia close to the Kataeb Party, also called Phalange. The Phalange were a predominantly Christian Lebanese right-wing party. Their attack took place in the Sabra neighborhood and the adjacent Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. It was the Phalange that conducted the attack and engaged in the massacre as alleged revenge for the attacks on their community perpetrated on them by the PLO and the Shiite extremists (who became Hezbollah) during the Lebanese Civil War. In any event, what the Phalange did in Lebanon in 1982 in Sabra and Shatila has nothing to do with how Israel acquired land by or during 1948.

As for the rest of your claim, by 1947, there were approx. 600,000 Jews and 1.1 million Arabs living in British controlled Palestine. The 600,000 Jews who lived there largely lived on land they rightfully purchased from either Arab or Turkish landowners. Mostly absentee landowners living in Beirut, Damascus and Istanbul.

By 1947 it had also become clear to the British that they could no longer hold on to the rest of the Palestine Mandate. The British decided to turn the issue over to the U.N.; which set up a commission to study the issue and propose a solution.

Ancient Jewish Coin Dating back to                                         Bar Kochba Revolt (130 CE)

The proposed solution was the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan, which would have created an independent Jewish state in the areas where Jews were majority of the population, and a new Arab state where Arabs were the majority of the population.

Before the 1947 U.N. proposed partition plan being approved by the U.N., all of the land in the remaining 23% of the Palestine Mandate (that was left after Britain created Jordan in 1921) belonged in essentially 3 categories: privately owned land (owned by Jews, Muslims, Druze, Christians, etc.); land purchased over the years and owned by the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund (JNF); and government controlled land (previously owned by the Ottoman Empire and then by the British).

As a result of the U.N. 1947 Partition Plan, both the Arabs and Jews were going to have independent states and gain sovereign control of previous state owned land; and notably for the Arabs, in land where there had never ever before in history been an independent Arab country. But the Arabs rejected the partition plan and decided to go to war with Israel with the express goal of destroying Israel and driving the Jews into the sea.

In fact, due to centuries of the Arab and Islamist supremacist ideology being ingrained in the majority of Arabs and in particular with their dictatorial leaders, the very idea of an independent state of should-be dhimmis Jews struck Arab leaders as more than humiliating; they considered it an impossible affront to their world view. As a result, they chose war over a partition plan that would have given the Jews the right to sovereignty and self-determination in less than 1% of the entire Middle East and in less than 15% of the original British Mandate for Palestine.

That is why, after the U.N. Partition Plan vote, Rahman Azzam Pasha, the head of the newly formed Arab League, threatened: “if the Zionists dare establish a state, the massacres we would unleash would dwarf anything which Genghis Khan and Hitler perpetrated.” As the Armenians had discovered a mere 35 years earlier, and our Kurdish brothers and sisters later discovered too, the mere suspicion of Jews, Kurds, Yazidis, etc. rejecting Arab and/or Islamist Supremacy and opposing their bogus (and apartheid-like) dhimmi status, can engender massacres.

Sadly, the Arab League tried to make good on its threats and even though the Jewish community said yes to a partition plan that would have only provided them with sovereignty and independence in less than 15% of the Palestine Mandate; the Arab dictators’ answer was all-out war. A war where 5 Arab countries and multiple Arab militia groups – representing over 75 million people – attacked Israel, a country with 600,000 people. And the Arabs attacked with the express and clear goal of “wiping Israel off the map” (something many Arab leaders and extremist Shiite leaders in Iran still openly call for).

  Jewish women praying at the Western Wall in the 1890s

In that 9 month war, the Arab side lost 14,000 people and tiny Israel lost over 6000. Yet, despite Israel losing over 1% of its total population in a war the Arabs started with blood curdling calls to replicate Hitler and Genghis Khan, and despite the numerous massacres of Jewish civilians throughout that war, including an April 1948 attack on buses of Jewish doctors and nurses headed to a hospital – where 79 civilians were murdered – the Arab world, as if to absolve themselves of all guilt – for starting a war against only 600,000 Jews (which they lost), and thereby causing the Palestinian refugee problem – focuses on one battle in that war, Deir Yassin.

But the first thing to understand about Deir Yassin is (that just like with the most recent loss of Arab life in Gaza), is that if the Arabs would not attack us and just let us live in peace in our tiny <1% of the Middle East, then no one’s life would have been lost.

Facts About The Battle of Deir Yassin

In reality, the Battle of Deir Yassin, was just that, a battle in the middle of a war. A war, we Jews did not want. But unlike in all of the previous times when we were attacked by the Arabs who thought – because of their dhimmi rules and their awful dictatorial rulers – that we must bow down to them and bend to their wishes; this time we had both the will and the ability to fight back.

Battle – Result of Arab Attempt to Blockade Jerusalem

The battle of Deir Yassin itself was the product of the Arab attempt to blockade Jerusalem and to starve out of Jerusalem the more than 150,000 Jews who lived there. As a result, Jewish forces launched an operation (called “Operation Nachshon”) in part to prevent the continued blockade of Jerusalem. Since Deir Yassin was one of the villages from which Arab forces shot at and attacked Jewish convoys which where were bringing food, water and medicine to Jerusalem, it was one of the villages that the Jewish forces targeted in Operation Nachshon.

Sadly, because this battle took place before the Jewish forces had been organized into one command under the IDF, the battle for Deir Yassin was undertaken by a hodgepodge of Jewish militia groups and the attack itself was very poorly organized and the Jewish fighters were relatively poorly trained.

Arab Foreign Fighters Embedded Among Local Population

As a result, when the Arab foreign fighters, who were embedded among the local population in civilian clothes, opened fire on the Jewish fighters, they responded poorly and opened fire on many people who turned out to be civilians. The result was 101 Arabs killed at Deir Yassin, of which 61 were killed in combat. It was tragic in many respects, but it certainly wasn’t an intentional massacre of the entire village.

Jewish Fighters Left Corridor for Villagers to Escape

In fact, the Jewish fighters left a corridor for over 200 of the villagers to escape the fighting and the Jewish fighters themselves evacuated over 110 old men, women and children from Deir Yassin. Plainly, if the plan or intent had been to massacre the inhabitants of Deir Yassin, no one would have been allowed to leave or evacuate.

The irony of what happened at Deir Yassin is that the Arab League and the Arab countries used it as a tool to spread fear among the local Arab populations to get more of them to abandon their homes in order to make it easier (or so they thought) for the Arab armies (of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon) to conquer and destroy Israel.

During Same Period when 101 Arabs Died at Dier Yassin, Over 400 Jewish Civilians were Killed, Many in Actual Massacres

Ironically, during this same time period (the first 4 months after the Arab rejection of the U.N. Partition Plan) over 400 Jewish civilians were killed, yet no Jews fled. And no one on the Arab side of this conflict, who love to bring up Deir Yassin, ever discuss all of those massacres (let alone the Arab massacres of Jews in British Mandatory Palestine in 1921, 1922, 1929, 1933, and 1936).

The Uniqueness of Deir Yassin

In reality, Deir Yassin is so well known among Israel’s most virulent detractors, because it is so unique. This is the one time that the Jewish forces throughout the history of the Jewish people’s effort to obtain our sovereign rights in our indigenous homeland ever engaged in anything close to a massacre. It was tragic, and the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community said so at the time.

Remembering, on the other hand, all of the Arab massacres of Jews, massacres that sadly are often celebrated in Arab history, would require a photographic memory.

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