UNPACKED – What is Deir Yassin?
This week, we’re examining one of the most controversial events connected to the establishment of the State of Israel – Deir Yassin.
On April 9, 1948, Jewish forces, from the Irgun and Lehi paramilitary organizations, entered the tiny Arab village of Deir Yassin… and that’s where the story gets complicated. No other incident has been so full of conflicting information – with both sides telling contradictory stories.
Some say there was a massacre, with over 200 residents killed. Others believe it was a legitimate battle in lifting the siege of Jerusalem; a siege that was crushing the city’s Jewish inhabitants.
While there are reports that suggest that some of the actions of the Jewish Irgun and Lechi fighters who entered Deir Yassin showed indifference to human life, some of the claims leveled against them were made up (including the numbers of Palestinians killed on that fateful day).
But history doesn’t always need to be truthful to be effective.
The story of a massacre at Deir Yassin has played an important part in the formation of Palestinian identity, in the narrative of the Nakba (catastrophe) and remains one of the key points in the ongoing delegitimization of Israel.