Early Tuesday, November 18, two young Palestinians broke into a synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of West Jerusalem’s Har Nof.
Armed with a gun, knives and axes, the assailants killed three rabbis and a fourth worshipper.
The New York Times reported that in the gun battle that ensued, one Israeli policeman and the two Palestinians intruders were killed.
In its coverage of the Har Nof killings, the Washington Post put “Americans” in its headline, leaving the impression they were tourists. They were not. They were Orthodox rabbis with dual citizenship, American and Israeli.
Few media outlets have taken note of the glaring fact that a circle of violence connects Har Nof to Deir Yassin, the Palestinian village destroyed before the formation of the modern state of Israel by the terrorist Jewish group, the Irgun, on April 9, 1948.
Deir Yassin was part of the “ethnic cleansing” strategy of the Zionist military. It was this strategy that launched the Nakba. This strategy is well-documented in Jewish scholar Ilan Pappe’s book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.
Should the media have acknowledged the circle of violence in the Deir Yassin-Har Nof connection? If the murder of six contemporary Americans occurred outside Washington’s Ford Theater, where Abraham Lincoln was killed, would the media ignore Lincoln’s assassination? I don’t think so.
Meanwhile, back to 2014 in the world according to Israel and the Western media, this is what happened:
“On Tuesday night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian leaders of inciting the violence and committing “blood libel” by suggesting that Jews were responsible for the death this week of a Palestinian bus driver who Israeli police say committed suicide by hanging.”
The Prime Minister has also reactivated a former Israel government policy of destroying the East Jerusalem homes of the two men responsible for the synagogue killings and the homes of other Palestinians linked to other recent attacks.
This is, of course collective punishment, a violation of international moral and legal standards, and what “Human Rights Watch says could be war crimes”.
Samia Nasir Khoury, a revered Palestinian leader and activist, and the author of the highly praised memoir, Reflections from Palestine – A Journey of Hope, spoke for many Palestinians in her posting on November 18, in which she expresses sadness over the horrendous Har Nof attack, even as she puts it in its historic context by linking it to another act of violence.
“Ironically, Har Nof where the events of today took place is originally a Palestinian suburb adjacent to Deir Yassin where the infamous massacre of the Palestinians took place on April 9, 1948. That was the spark that terrorized the Palestinian residents of West Jerusalem that led to their exodus.
Yes indeed, it is brutal and completely unacceptable to attack worshipers in their place of worship, as was the attack of settler doctor, Baruch Goldstein, on Muslim worshipers during the month of Ramadan at the Hebron Mosque in February 1994. Twenty-nine Palestinian were killed and 125 wounded at the time.”
If the international media were interested in the circle of violence between Deir Yassin in 1948 and Har Nof in 2014, they could turn to recent writings by Dina Elmuti in The Electronic Intifada.
One of her postings appeared April 7, of this year, several months before Israel’s summer invasion of Gaza and the killings at Har Nof this week. She begins with her grandmother’s personal story:
“My grandmother is a survivor of the Deir Yassin massacre. Sixty-six years later, her scars still bear witness.
Deir Yassin is a name permanently inscribed in the Palestinian narrative. Friday, 9 April 1948 is a date forever engraved with infamy. The Deir Yassin massacre is a turning point in Palestinian history, remaining a symbol of dispossession, ongoing erasure and humanity’s capacity for cruelty.
When I was in Palestine recently, my grandmother pointed to the stone home in Deir Yassin where she was born 76 years ago — and my eyes caught a glimpse of a pale scar on her arm. The nostalgia in her voice was so strong, I could almost see the barbaric scenes of terror as if they were being projected from a movie reel onto a screen in front of us.
Today, a psychiatric hospital occupies the center of Deir Yassin village, restricting access to its fortified stone homes standing out defiantly against the grid of generic Israeli settlement buildings constructed on stolen land. The village was once home to around 750 people.
Located outside Jerusalem and a few hundred meters to the west of the Jewish-only settlement of Givat Shaul, it was known for its peaceful reputation and primary industry of stone quarrying.
By sunrise on 9 April, the Zionist terrorist organizations known as the Irgun and Stern Gang, had raided the village and stormed homes, slaughtering as many people as possible. The victims included unarmed elderly men, pregnant women and children.
The grandmother of Dina Elmuti was one of the girls who escaped the massacre of Deir Yassin and made her way to East Jerusalem where she was rescued by Hind Al-Hussein, a member of a prominent Jerusalem family.
It was Hussein (as a young woman at left) who discovered 53 orphans from Deir Yassin. An account originally written by Daniel A. McGowan for the American Middle East for Understanding (AMEU)’s Link publication, describes Hussein’s initial encounter with the orphans:
“Fifty-three orphaned children were literally dumped along the wall of the Old City, where they were found by Miss Hind Husseini and brought behind the American Colony Hotel to her home, which was to become the Dar El-Tifl El-Arabi orphanage.”
A segment of McGowan’s Link article is also posted on Deir Yassin Remembered, the website of the organization McGowan established to continue his desire to educate both non-Palestinians and Palestinians on this significant event. Deir Yassin Remembered begins:
“Early in the morning of April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun (headed by Menachem Begin) and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a village with about 750 Palestinian residents. The village lay outside of the area to be assigned by the United Nations to the Jewish State; it had a peaceful reputation. But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Deir Yassin was slated for occupation under [Israel’s] Plan Dalet and the mainstream Jewish defense force, the Haganah, authorized the irregular terrorist forces of the Irgun and the Stern Gang to perform the takeover.”
In 2011, Miral, a motion picture based on the orphans who were raised under the care of Hind Al-Hussein, received world-wide distribution. I wrote about it for Wallwritings, a posting that may be read here.
A preview clip of the film is shown below. Miral is a fictional representation of one of the orphans. Hind Al-Hussein is realistically portrayed as the head of the orphanage and the school she formed.
The film contains an interesting tension between Miral, who wants to take action against the occupation, and Hussein, who is placing her faith in education.
At one point in the film, Hussein tells a class of girls that what is happening “is what they call the intifada”. Miral tells a classmate, “it means, stand up straight”. She got that right.
In the picture at top, Jerusalem’s chief rabbi Shlomo Amar shakes hands with an imam as leaders from the Christian and Muslim communities gathered outside Kehilat Yaakov Synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof. (photo credit: From the Times of Israel by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90).