The Other Side of the Stories
I have two book recommendations. The first book, entitled “Aliyah: Three Generations of American-Jewish Immigration to Israel” by Liel Leibovitz, has an interesting account of the Deir Yassin story, often referred to as a massacre perpetrated by the Irgun, then headed by former Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The chief accusers are, of course, the Arab world. On pages 87-89 of the book, Mr. Leibovitz gives another view of Deir Yassin.
The villages Deir Yassin and Kastel overlooked the only supply route into Jerusalem, then under siege by the Arabs, who were a little ticked off at the UN approved Partition Plan, which called for a bi-national Arab/Jewish state. Both villages, due to their strategic positions, were being used as outposts by Arab snipers to shoot at supply trucks bringing needed food and other essentials to the city. It was a war you know. Sieges are a part of war. So are breaking sieges.
Finally, after intolerable provocations, including several devastating bombings, one in particular being a large truck bombing that nearly destroyed Ben Yehuda Street***, the central shopping district, the several militias and the Haganah got together, and planned out some strategy to put an end to the intolerable circumstances. In order to get supplies into the city, they determined they needed to take control of Deir Yassin and Kastel. Irgun/Lehi was put in charge of Deir Yassin.
This was a war that the Jewish community did not want. In fact, I’ll bet only a few fanatics, who were bent on making life miserable for everyone wanted what was going on at the time. It’s usually like that. Most people would choose to live their lives in peace. Liel describes how the Irgun, who were dispatched to Deir Yassin, used loudspeakers mounted on trucks to assure the Arab residents they meant no harm, and urged them to flee, leaving a corridor open for them to escape. The residents either did not hear or refused. No one really knows, and of course, theories on every aspect of this incident abound.
The approximately 100 soldiers from Irgun and Lehi were being shot at from all sides. Arab men were dressed as women, and mixing in with the general population, making it impossible for the Irgun/Lehi to tell who were the Arab fighters, and who were the civilians they were trying to evacuate. This type of tactic is still used by Israel’s enemies to this day. At one point, the Arab forces feigned surrender, only to begin attacking once again….
Now you can read the rest of the story.
Similar exaggerations of supposed Jewish “atrocities” abound. One notable example is the USS Liberty legend, as well as the supposed brutal expulsion of the Arab population during Israel’s War of Independence. Leibovitz describes one first hand account of why Arabs fled Israel on page 89. The Christian Arab community was apparently threatened with death by the Moslem Arab leadership if they did not leave. This community is still harassed by the Moslem majority in the region.
Even the UN declared in the 1950’s that the Arab nations were using the hapless victims of the 1948 War of Independence in a most cynical manner, rather than incorporating them into their societies. Click here for an unbiased analysis of this problem as it stands today.
Contrast how the Arab nations have treated their brethren with that of the State of Israel. Israel was forced to absorb a similar number Jewish refugees from neighboring Arab countries, who were tossed out of their homes of hundreds if not thousands of years. These people had only the clothes on their backs. Another notable difference is the relative non-belligerence of Jewish refugees vs. Arab refugees.
Second book recommendation here. In this book, Yehudit Samet encourages us all to do what we should be doing anyway, looking at both sides before making a final determination. Of course the dynamics are different with friends and family. We should be doing our utmost to give the benefit of the doubt, and think well unless incontrovertible evidence indicates this is impossible. But even with nations and allies, before we jump to conclusions, we really owe it to ourselves to look over the facts from all perspectives.
Oh heck…here’s a third recommendation. In this book by John Loftus and Mark Aarons, beginning on page 259 through page 286, you will find a very plausible explanation for the Liberty tragedy, which occurred during the Six Day War.
I have read most of the book. When I began to read the parts that touch more on current events, it became too depressing for me. Anyway, Loftus’ theories on the Liberty incident make more sense to me than any other out there.
***Abdul Kader, a local lieutenant in the village of Bir Zeit, just north of Jerusalem, quickly took credit for this horrible atrocity, with Arab leaders and the Mufti immediately retracting, due to their fear of international condemnation
Photo of Deir Yassin from Yad VaShem found at Joff William’s Photostream