Many Jewish and Arab historians wrote about Deir Yassin. However, the scope of information that Prof. Eliezer Tauber has investigated and examined regarding Deir Yassin is unprecedented. Thousands of documents of testimonies, correspondence and maps, materials from Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the United Kingdom, the United States and Switzerland, in English, Arabic and Hebrew were examined by him. “The book also contains information from the Etzel and Lehi material at a level that has not been to this day, but its main strength is that at least 50 percent of the material is Arab material, including huge amounts of Arab testimonies from Deir Yassin.”
“When you understand how each one died, you can understand what happened there,” he said, asserting that the historians who later spread the rumors of a massacre “had no idea of what happened in Deir Yassin.” Prof. Tauber said.
Prof. Tauber’s work included, first of all, knowledge of the village, including the construction of genealogical trees, finding an aerial photograph of the village and identifying where each family and clan lived. After that, a read of a large number of Arab and Jewish testimonies , adapting them to the structure of the village and the names of the residents. Finally, the result was a detailed list of each of the dead in the village and a description of the circumstances in which he died. Tauber’s conclusion at the end of the book is clear: It was a battle and not a massacre.
November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the partition of the Land of Israel between the Arab and Jewish State while internationalizing Jerusalem. The Arabs rejected the decision. The Jews accepted the decision but took no steps to allow it to be realized. The next day, Arabs attacked Jews and battles raged all over the country.
Deir Yassin was not a peaceful village like many claim, Its people were trained militants, had weapon that they bought from Egypt (some illegally) and Brits gave them weapon as well. The villagers attacked the neighboring Jewish neighborhoods since the early 1900’s. Jews in Jerusalem were under siege by Arabs, their only supply of food and water was from Tel Aviv. To prevent the supplies to get to Jews, Arabs attacked the vehicles. Jews believed that the village endanger that only road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, they were informed that Arab militants from the surrounding countries are in the village.
The Arab villagers got an advance warning to evacuate the village, which 700 of them followed. Jews took an additional 200 villagers prisoner and safely released them in Arab Jerusalem. 101 Arabs were killed, and not 254 as claimed. Zochrot organization which deals with the commemoration of the Nakba, notes at the beginning of a booklet that 115 people were killed. But in the list only 92 names appear, and 93 namesin the lists of Muhammad Abu Mahmid al-Yasini, one of the village refugees. The detailed lost in the book brings 101 names that were compared with other Arab lists and people’s testimonies. A quarter of them active combatants and most of the rest in combat conditions. The Jews also suffered casualties.
A ten-hour fierce battle, in the presence of a civilian population, ended in the victory of Etzel and Lehi. No massacre took place. When the battle ended, the killing stopped. Women took part in this battle as well.
Another lie that was claimed is that women were raped, Arabs from the village were first to deny this, but many ignored them and continued with this lie.
One of the first to meet with refugees from Deir Yassin who came to Arab Jerusalem was Hazem Nusseibeh, the Arabic news editor for the Mandatory Broadcasting Service in Arabic, and he asked Hussein al-Khalidi (the senior Arab authority in Jerusalem at the time) to cover the event. “I think we should give it as much propaganda as possible, because the Arab countries do not seem interested in helping us, and we are facing a catastrophe.” Therefore, Khalidi said, “we must present a picture that is not Really, what happened, but we have to exaggerate a bit, then maybe the Arab countries will be more enthusiastic to come to help us …
He told Nusseibeh to say that the Jews slaughtered people, committed atrocities, raped and robbed gold. He asked survivors to tell the same. When the survivors protested, and expressed their opposition to false descriptions of the rape, Khalidi insisted that they must say this in order to put pressure on the Arab armies to liberate the Land of Israel from the Jews.
Nusseibeh said “it was a battle from the night until the morning in such circumstance there was no time for a rape”
A member of the Jaber family from the village said that if they wanted to incriminate the Jews, this should not be done at the expense of Dir Yassin and his women. “I want to emphasize the fact that there was no rape incident, that was part of a big lie that some Arabs and some of our leaders invented.”
Mohammed Mahmoud Raduwan said ” there were no rapes, and all this is a lie, there were no pregnant woman that their belly was cut as Arabs are claiming it is all propaganda”
One of the survivors said in his testimony that only men were killed, the women died under the houses ruins and that children under 15-16 were not killed as well.
Richard Katling told that in April 15th he tried to interview the women of Deir Yassin if they were raped. According to his words they were shy, and did not want to talk, so he concluded there were rapes and killing after it. He based his conclusion on the fact they did not want to talk.
The Jews had motives as well to spread the lies, to make Lahi and Etzel to look bad and show this attack was failure and morally wrong.
This book covers much more of the facts, and describes everything before the battle during and after it. Unfortunately, we can’t write all about it in just one article. We hope some day this book will be published in English.