Fifty-one years after the first Zionist conference was held in the Swiss city of Basel, Israel was established on 78 per cent of the area of historical Palestine. The Great Palestinian Catastrophe, the Nakba, was one of the most important consequences of the establishment of the “state”, in May 1948, which has not stopped implementing its strategy summarised by David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister, who said that the situation in Palestine will be settled by military force. This was the most important strategic starting point for the occupation of Palestine, and its eventual Judaisation.
Massacres and displacement
The most prominent feature of the rogue state’s (Israel’s) movements was – and still is – committing organised massacres by Zionist organisations and the Israeli army against the people of Palestinian villages, in order to force the largest possible number of Palestinians to leave their land and replace them with Jewish immigrants from all over the world, with the aim of imposing a forced Judaised demographic.
While the Arabs of Palestine were completely unprepared for war, and the majority was unarmed and in a defensive position, the Zionist Hagana, Irgun and Stern gangs launched coordinated offensive strikes against Arab civilians in the three main cities, Haifa, Jerusalem and Jaffa, as well as in the Palestinian countryside. Organised massacres were committed and they destroyed homes in order to force the Palestinian Arabs to leave.
The massacres did not begin in 1948. On the night of 15 July, 1947, a Hagana force entered the citrus grove owned by Rashid Abu Laban, located between Jaffa and Petah Tikva. A family of seven people was sleeping inside their home and nine other workers were sleeping outside it. The attacking force set explosive devices and opened fire, killing 11 Arabs, including a woman and her three daughters.
On 29 September, 1947, the Hagana also attacked the Haifa market, destroying Ahmed Diab Al-Julani’s shop with explosive devices. On 12 December, 1947, an Irgun force wearing British military uniforms entered the town of Tira in the Haifa district, killing 12 Arabs and wounding 6 others. The day after this massacre, the Irgun gang dropped bombs on Arab gatherings at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, killing 4 Arabs. On the same day, the same Zionist gang attacked an Arab cafe in the city of Jaffa, on King George Street, and killed 6 Arabs.
According to statistical figures, on 13 December, 21 Arab civilians were killed in all Palestinian cities as a result of the organised Zionist massacres, and the Zionist gangs continued their organised massacres in the various Palestinian villages and cities.
The biggest massacre was on 30 December, 1947, when a group from the Irgun gang threw two cans of milk containing bombs at a group of about a hundred Palestinian workers who were standing in front of the oil refinery in Haifa to register their names for work. Six Arabs were killed and 46 others were wounded in the attack. Meanwhile, in the clashes that took place inside the refinery, the Arabs killed 41 Jews in self-defence and wounded 48 others. Until this moment, Israel continues to Judaise the Palestinian places with new names.
The British role
The Balfour Declaration laid the foundations for the establishment of Israel. Zionist gangs committed 12 massacres during the British occupation of Palestine, while 13 massacres were committed after, all against defenceless Palestinians. These gangs continued their massacres, the destruction of homes and pressure on the Palestinians in all Palestinian villages and cities, especially during the period from January 1948 to May of the same year.
The attack was carried out from three sides, while the fourth side was left as the only outlet for the escape of the Palestinians who survived the massacres, bringing with them the news of what happened to the nearby villages, so that terror would spread in the hearts of the people.
The Zionist massacres culminated in the killing of the Swedish international mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, in Jerusalem on 18 September, 1948, at the hands of Zionist gangs, the members of which included former Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir, after the international mediator held Israel responsible for the emergence of the refugee issue in his report to the UN General Assembly. He stressed that no settlement could succeed without their return to their homes. It was based on his report that the General Assembly voted on Resolution 194 on 11 December, 1948.
In general, the Zionist massacres later led to the forced displacement of about 61 per cent of the Arab population of Palestine during the years 1948 and 1949. The reason for the displacement of 25 per cent of the population from about 532 Arab villages was due to direct expulsion, following the massacres committed by the Zionist forces, while 55 per cent of the population of those villages, of which 400 villages were completely destroyed, were displaced after a military attack on them. 10 per cent of the Arab village residents was displaced under the weight of the military attack. This means that the Arab displacement under military pressure included 89 per cent of displaced Arabs, while 10 per cent were displaced under the weight of psychological warfare or the suggestion of an upcoming attack.
The Zionist massacres and the destruction of homes did not stop after 1948. During 1967, the Israeli army displaced 460,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and they were exiled from their homes.
Ongoing daily killing
In the context of its systematic and continuous massacres, Israel committed a horrific massacre in the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards in 1990, in which 13 Palestinians were killed. A Zionist settler, paid by the Israeli parties, also committed a massacre in the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1993, in which about 60 unarmed Palestinian civilians were killed.
The Israeli massacres were not confined to Palestine, but rather extended to other Arab areas, and one of the most important chapters was the Israeli air strikes on the town of Qana in southern Lebanon. This resulted in the death of about 100 women, elderly, and children at the UNIFIL compound in southern Lebanon.
In addition, the Israeli Mossad committed several massacres inside and outside Palestine, not to mention the organised assassinations of many Palestinian ambassadors and intellectuals abroad. The Zionist and Israeli assassinations and massacres did not stop. During the period between 1948 and 2023, Israel used massacres as basic tools for survival, with Western support at the military, political, financial and media levels. The daily killing of Palestinians in villages, cities and camps in the West Bank by the Israeli army is evident in video footage.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 9 May 2023
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.