September 23, 2010
Despite the fact that the Israeli historian Benny Morris confirms in his book: 1984 and after, that: ‘Jewish military operations indeed accounted for 70% of the Arab exodus’ (page 101) in 1948. The Israeli state refuses to acknowledge this. Likewise, Morris states in the Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem revisited, that the massacre at Deir Yassin, had the most lasting effect of any single event of the war in precipitating the Palestinian exodus' (page 237). Now i appreciate this may be difficult to accept for those who adhere to 'Israel is beyond criticism tribe', but this evidence is derived by Morris from Israeli archives.
Over 100 Palestinians died at Deir Yassin. But what makes this massacre at Deir Yassin even more shocking is that more than sixty years on, there is still a total denial by Israel that it took place, a total silencing of the memories of the more than a hundred Palestinians who lost their lives. The process of eliminating and burying this history was subsequently extended when Jews resettled this land. The centre of Deir Yassin was renamed Kfar Shaul, and Deir Yassin like many other Palestinian villages was literally wiped off the map. As Jerusalem expanded, the lands of Deir Yassin became a part of the city and it is now known simply as the area between Givat Shaul and the settlement of Har Nof.
The Deir Yassin remembered organization seeks to construct a memorial at Deir Yassin, in West Jerusalem to resurrect the memories of the massacre. The holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem names all the Jews that died at the hands of the Nazis creating a living memory of those whose graves are unknown. From Vad Vashem you can gaze 1,500 yards to the north and see the site of Deir Yassin, the site of the unacknowledged and silenced massacre. Much of the actual village of Deir Yassin (although renamed) remains intact, in the form of a mental hospital in the Givat Shaul district of West Jerusalem. Palestinian buildings can be distinguished through their distinct style and colour. They are surrounded by the Orthodox Jewish settlement of Har Nof and the industrial area of Givat Shaul. There are no markers, no plaques, and no memorials at Deir Yassin.
According to Marc H. Ellis, Israel’s refusal to allow a Deir Yassin memorial reflects Netanyahu’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
‘Could the refusal to remember the destruction of Palestine, illustrated historically in the massacre of Deir Yassin and embodied by millions of stateless Palestinians today, mandate in the future a further cleansing of memory through expansion and even transfer of parts of the Palestinian population? Refusing a historical memorial is simply one step towards refusing to countence the contemporary markers of the historical ongoing event of denial and displacement. Could the refusal to commemorate Deir Yassin signal a refusal to end the cycle of ongoing expansion and displacement?’.