PM Menachem Begin, at opening ceremony for women's college, 1981
PM Menachem Begin, at opening ceremony for women's college, 1981Flash90

Kippa Hebrew news reported that the Im Tirtzu grassroots Zionist Movement called on Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to investigate the Hadash party of the Joint Arab List for accusing underground Jewish fighting groups of the "murder of the Arab residents of Deir Yassin."

In a letter to the judges, they wrote: "Last week, a member of the Hadash party in Jerusalem, which belongs to the Joint List, [published] a message to their social networks regarding an event that took place in the village of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem during the War of Independence in 1948."

"In a Facebook post, Hadash members accused former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin of 'murdering the villagers' and even referred to him as a "terrorist." Im Tirtzu said that a political cell of a Knesset party using historical inconsistencies surrounding the Battle of Deir Yassin required extensive scrutiny."

"According to Knesset Basic Law, Article 7A, a Knesset list that incites to racism cannot run for the Knesset. A reality in which a political party will continue incitement against an Israeli prime minister is unacceptable. Therefore, I appeal to you to request clarification from the members of the joint list."

From "The Birth of a Palestinian Nation - The Myth of the Deir Yassin Massacre" by Dr. Uri Milstein

...In 1948, during Israel’s War of Independence, Deir Yassin was situated on the western edge of Jerusalem near the Givat Shaul neighborhood.

The joint Irgun-LEHI operation at Deir Yassin began at 4:30 AM on 9 April 1948. The Jewish fighters met serious resistance.

Yehoshua Zeitler, one of the fighters, wrote: “From every house and from every window gunfire was directed against us, and we threw grenades. The inhabitants had Sten guns rifles and pistols. Our men stormed forward from house to house while throwing inside explosive devices. We thought either them or us. For us it was a question of life, if he will live, I will die…”

The fighting in Deir Yassin did not conclude until the next day 10 April 1948. One of the outcomes of the battle was the transport of around 700 village residents to neighboring villages.

Eyewitness claims of the number of Arab casualties in Deir Yassin following the difficult battle were not high, and most were the Arab fighters disguised as residents - some even disguised as women.

But, strangely, there was a simultaneous Jewish effort to cite a larger number. This, the author shows, emanated from both public relations and political motives.

Shimon Monita, a Hagana agent, relates: “After Deir Yassin I returned to the Palmach and took part in attacks on Arab villages. Most of the inhabitants fled before we arrived, and the villages were captured without fighting or after a short battle. Not only peasants fled from their homes but also urban Arabs from Jerusalem and also from other areas. In that same month the Hagana took control over Haifa. The Intelligence Service reported that the fear of a fate similar to that of the inhabitants of Deir Yassin was one of the factors in breaking the Arab inhabitants of Haifa and causing them to flee.”

Yisrael Bar, a senior Hagana commander wrote: “In the short term, Deir Yassin brought advantages and contributed to the flight of masses of Arabs.”

Milstein soberly reflects: “Without the myth of Deir Yassin, it is doubtful whether the Jews would have succeeded in defeating the Arabs of Palestine by the time of the Declaration of Independence Without this defeat, it is doubtful whether the State of Israel would have succeeded in coping with the attacks of standing armies from outside and attacks of irregular armies from within.”

Milstein, however, explains the other reason for the Jewish side's inflating the number killed, showing how the number was used cynically for political purposes by the left, which knowingly exaggerated and used the myth of the Deir Yssin "massacre" to discredit the two underground movements, Irgun and Lehi, which if was afraid would undermine its efforts to rule the new state of Israel unopposed. It managed to defame the two groups of brave underground fighters, their leaders including Irgun leader Menachem Begin, but thereby also encouraged the Arab use of the myth to villify the Zionist enterprise and seek revenge.