From 1946 onwards the Zionists living in Palestine began to collect detailed information concerning Palestinian villages, for subsequent military use. Read more in the Nakba factsheet>>
Within two weeks of the adoption of the partition plan by the UN, Jewish military units began the process of ethnic cleansing. A month later the first
Palestinian village was erased. Violence between the two groups gradually increased and as many as 70,000 Palestinians had fled their homes before full-scale military activity began in March 1948.
Details of the Israeli atrocities indicate that they were as inhuman and violent as those that have been roundly condemned by the International Community in other conflicts. On April 9, 1948, Zionist forces that included the notorious Stern Gang and Irgun units entered the village of Deir Yassin and sprayed the houses with machine-gun fire, killing many of the inhabitants. The survivors were then collected together and murdered in cold blood.
A 12 year old witness at Deir Yassin reported: “They took us out one after the other; shot an old man and when one of his daughters cried, she was shot too. Then they called my brother Muhammad, and shot him in front of us, and when my mother yelled, bending over him — carrying my little sister Hudra in her hands, still breastfeeding her — they shot her too.”
The death toll included 30 babies. Between 100 and 200 Palestinians were murdered at Deir Yassin and the village was razed to the ground. The scale of this operation was loudly (and proudly) proclaimed by the Zionists in order to demonstrate to other Palestinians just what would happen to them if they did not take flight.
In other villages the inhabitants were allowed to leave their houses, but not to
take their possessions with them, before their homes were blown up and their
village flattened. There were many other brutal massacres, for example on May 22, 200 men between the ages of 13 and 30 were murdered in cold blood at Tantura.
The conduct of the Zionist forces in the cities was little better. Haifa had 75,000 Palestinian civilian inhabitants against whom the Zionist forces used
terrorist tactics — heavy shelling, detonation of crude bombs, igniting deliberately spilled oil, and sniper fire culminating in the deliberate shelling of civilians trying to escape by sea.
The orders to the Jewish troops were, “Kill any Arab you see; torch all inflammable objects and force doors open with explosives.”
The Zionist forces achieved their objective: about 60,000 Palestinians were driven out or killed, reducing the Arab population from 45% to just 4%.
Read more in the Nakba factsheet