PalestineHuman RightsMiddle East

New documents shed light on massacres of Palestinians by zionist forces during 1948 Nakba

Newly uncovered documents have divulged the details of the massacres of Palestinians during the Nakba, or “Catastrophe, when the ethnic cleansing of more than 700,000 Palestinians took place along with the destruction of more than 500 villages as Israel was created in 1948.

According to the letters of soldiers, unpublished contemporary memoirs, minutes of political party meetings and other historical records, Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research have shed light on three massacres committed by Israeli forces in the villages of Reineh, Meron and al-Burj.

The documents show that prominent Israeli leaders “knew in real time about the blood-drenched events that accompanied the conquest of Arab villages”.

The Israeli historical records reveal that a massacre of 14 Palestinians took place in September 1948 in the Galilean village of Reineh, near Nazareth.

According to Haaretz, one of the 14 Palestinians killed was a member of the so-called Land of Israel Workers Alliance, identified as Yusuf al-Turki.

Turki, however, was arrested near Reineh along with a Bedouin woman and several others, charged with being a smuggler, and then killed.

A document reveals the gruesome death of a Palestinian worker named Hajj Ibrahim, “a sick elderly woman and another elderly man and woman” in the Palestinian village of al-Burj in July 1948. The illegal Modiin settlement now stands in its place.

Israeli soldiers asked Hajj Ibrahim to go and collect vegetables, so he would not witness what was about to happen, and “the three [Palestinians] were taken to an isolated house.”

“Afterward an anti-tank shell was fired [at them]. When the shell missed the target, six hand grenades were thrown into the house. They killed an elderly man and woman, and the elderly woman was put to death with a firearm,” the document details.

“Afterward they torched the house and burned the three bodies. When Hajj Ibrahim returned with his guard, he was told that the three others had been sent to the hospital in Ramallah. Apparently he didn’t believe the story, and a few hours later he too was put to death, with four bullets.”

Moreover, a document written by Shmuel Mikunis, a communist member of the Provisional State Council, which later became the Knesset, exposed further atrocities against Palestinians and asked then Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion to make clarification about acts committed by Irgun militias.

These included the killing of 35 Palestinians in Mount Meron after they raised a white flag; the arrest of Palestinian civilians, including women and children, who were made to dig a pit, pushed into it, then shot to death; the rape of a girl by Irgun members; and the killing of 13 or 14 Palestinian children who were playing with grenades.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East al-Quds during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later annexed East al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East al-Quds as its capital.

But Israel’s aggressive settlement expansion and annexation plans have dealt a serious blow to any prospects of peace.

The Gaza Strip has also been under an inhumane Israeli land, air and sea siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008.

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