What really happened in Deir Yassin? Who was responsible? What has its effect been? Read on to find out...
Early in the morning of Friday, April 9th, 1948, commandos of the Irgun, headed by Menachem Begin, and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin.
Deir Yassin was a village with about 750 Palestinian residents. The village lay outside the area that the United Nations recommended be included in the future Jewish State. It had a peaceful reputation and had even driven out some Arab militants. It actually had a peace pact with Givat Shaul, the head of the Arab division of the Haganah intelligence. But it was located in a corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and some groups wanted it destroyed so it could become a small airfield.
The attack went poorly, because, as Haganah intelligence reported, the two dissident groups had no training, no coordination and no knowledge of how to provide cover fire or carry out leap-frog attacks in which squads provide each other with cover in turn.
However, by noon over 100 people, half of them women and children had been systematically murdered. Four commandos died at the hands of resisting Palestinians using old Mausers and muskets. Twenty-five male villagers were loaded into trucks, paraded through the Zakhron Yosef quarter in Jerusalem, and then taken to a stone quarry along the road between Givat Shaul and Deir Yassin and shot to death. The remaining residents were driven to Arab East Jerusalem.
There was a final body count of 254 was reported by the New York Times, but the number was disputed and is said to be anywhere from 120-254.
People often ask what was the Stern and Irgun's purpose for massacring a whole village was, and it is considered by some that they mainly wanted...