Thank for posting the (rather long) response. At this late date it is remarkably difficult for the average person to come to understand accurately what exactly happened at such a controversial point.
I think it is rather obvious from the style of the article you posted that the author is interested in refuting the story of the Deir Yassan massacre, rather than in establishing the truth of what happened. The devices are familiar; impugn the reliability or honesty of witnesses for the other side, attack the other side's documentation, etc.
However, I thought it was interesting that from the article itself apparently 4 Jewish attackers were killed, and somewhere between 116 and 254 Arabs. This is a rather significant disproportion for a battle that he claims was fought with great violence for many hours.
I also find it significant that I found no mention of how many Arabs were wounded and taken prisoner. Apparently there were none. As the number of wounded from a battle is normally larger than the number of dead, it seems logical that someone made sure there were no surviving wounded.
I have no axe to grind on this. I do, however, find repugnant the insistence of SOME Jews that NO Jews have ever committed atrocities. Men getting carried away in battle and doing horrible things is a constant of human nature, including Americans and (no doubt) Jews.
I would be interested in reading the conclusion of an expert historian who has re-examined the evidence without a predisposition to prove one side or the other.
posted on 09/19/2003 1:57:58 PM PDT
(Never let schooling interfere with your education.)
I have read both sides of the story, and, as you know, truth is usually in the eye of the beholder. As I mentioned, I have personally interviewed several locals (those were my comments about the Arab boy and his blood libel claim.) If you have ever been to the area of Deir Yassin, you would understand the logistics of this battle. The most costly battle of the War of Independence in terms of Jewish lives was at the battle at the Latrun Fortress. This is just west of the Hiway that goes from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, just as you start to gain elevation to go up to Jerusalem. The Jews lost over 300 in this battle, and it was a lot like Deir, exept it was an old Police Station, and the Israelis couldn't conquer it. The Arabs had cannons that they were firing on the road to Jerusalem. Deir was to the east, and also had cannons that were trained to fire on the highway--thus, this was the most significant place in the whole war. The Israelis had to get to Jerusalem (which had been under seige) before the truce was declared, or they would have lost the city forever. Deir was attacked in order to secure the flank for the construction of the "Burma Road." This road was constructed barely in time and established the connection to Jerusalem, thereby securing Jerusalem after the cease fire. If memory serves, the battle at Deir was after the battle of the Latrun Fortress (it is still there), so there may have been some payback for the atrocities commited by the Arabs at Latrun. I strongly suggest that you read the book '"O, Jerusalem" - I don't remember the author, but it is the most factual book that I have read about the War of Independence. In answer to your comments, I was unable to convince the little boy that his grandfather was full of Sh*t, but remember, there are always three sides to every historical event--the protagonists view, the antagonists view, and the truth. Since I have lived in Israel (and observed with my own eyes), I tend to believe more of the Jewish view of history and less of the Palestinian view of history. I was encouraged that someone would actually research Deir Yassin--there has been an enormous amount written about it. If everyone studied as hard as you do, there would be a whole lot less confusion in the world.
posted on 09/19/2003 2:23:48 PM PDT
(Pray for the peace of Jerusalem in the name of the G-d of Jacob)
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