The Deir Yassin massacre reminds us – every Zionist accusation is a confession

Israel is guilty of the same massacres and atrocities it has accused Palestinians of committing on October 7. My family survived one of those massacres in the village of Deir Yassin on this day 76 years ago.


Like a vicious beast with an insatiable bloodlust, he shot a bullet into her neck and then sliced her abdomen open with the welding knife, until it turned into a bloody pulp from the fury of razor-sharp ravaging teeth.  

Twenty-year-old Salhiyeh Eid was nine months pregnant. When my grandmother’s 15-year-old cousin, Aisha Radwan, rushed to extricate the unborn infant from Salhiyeh’s eviscerated womb, the terrorist killed her, too.

What began as a picturesque spring morning, with almond trees in full bloom and fig and apricot trees ripening, quickly turned into a merciless bloodbath. The air was thick with the cloying stench of blood flowing through the cobbled streets, while bullet-riddled bodies decomposed in the sun. The caustic odor of corpses burning in the village’s stone quarry was unbearable. These are the details narrated to me by the members of my family who experienced them. They are survivors of the Deir Yassin Massacre of 1948.

Earlier that morning, armed members of Zionist terrorist militias, the Stern Gang and the Irgun Zvai Leumi, invaded the pastoral village and slaughtered anyone with a beating pulse. They beheaded babies, burned a child alive in the communal oven, and committed acts of sexual assault and systematic rape

Zionist terrorists slaughtered nearly 254 villagers. 

If these atrocities appear disturbingly familiar, it’s because these were the same acts that Hamas was falsely accused of committing after October 7, solidifying the notion that “every Zionist accusation is a confession.” 

Such atrocities didn’t occur on October 7, 2023. But they did on April 9, 1948, in the village of Deir Yassin, west of Jerusalem.

Accusation in a mirror

At the heart of Zionism exists a deep-seated desire to annihilate the Palestinian people, and October 7 provided the opportune excuse to accelerate that very aim. Zionists worldwide quickly launched a sinister campaign of atrocity propaganda

Zionism’s malignantly narcissistic and fundamentally paranoid reliance on lies, manipulation, and propaganda functions so that everything that is “bad” is projected outward. Casting their aggression and cruelty as collective self-defense, they exonerated themselves of guilt and justified this genocide through incitement, demonization, and dehumanization — making the genocide appear not only acceptable but necessary.

The atrocity propaganda about October 7 was projection in its most flagrant form, as Zionists imputed to their enemies the exact crimes they had committed in the past and were preparing to repeat in the future. 

During the Deir Yassin massacre, Zionist terrorists bayoneted the abdomens of 25 pregnant women, forcibly taking out their unborn fetuses while these women were still alive to witness the indescribable horror as they took their last excruciating breaths. They murdered 60 women and girls, mutilated their bodies, butchered nursing babies, and maimed 52 children before decapitating them right before their mothers’ eyes.1

Zionist terrorists took surviving women and girls in the village, stripped them of their clothes, and paraded them along King George Avenue in the Jewish quarters of Jerusalem, where spectators subjected them to mockery and insults and threw stones at them.2   

Safiyeh Attiyeh, who was 41 years old at the time of the massacre, recounted that she saw one man open his pants and leap on her. “I screamed,” she said, “but around me other women were being raped, too. Some of the men were so anxious to get our earrings they ripped our ears to get them faster.”3 

The day following the massacre, Jacques de Reynier, the Swiss representative of the International Red Cross, led the first party to the site of the massacre and bore witness to the carnage.On April 14, the British Assistant Inspector General of the Criminal Investigation Division, Richard Catling, visited several homes in the neighboring village of Silwan and collected the testimonies of women who survived the Deir Yassin massacre. 

Physical evidence collected through the medical examinations of survivors conducted by a doctor and nurse from the Government Hospital in Jerusalem corroborated these reports. The following is Catling’s account:

“The majority of those women are very shy and reluctant to relate their experiences especially in matters concerning sexual assault…There is, however, no doubt that many sexual atrocities were committed by the attacking [Zionists]. Many young school-girls were raped and later slaughtered. Old women were also molested. One story is current concerning a case in which a young girl was literally torn into two. Many infants were also butchered and killed.”

A Mossad intelligence officer arrived in Deir Yassin to the sight of the Irgun and Stern Gang members incinerating bodies: 

“We witnessed a most horrible and dreadful scene…. [Irgun] men were throwing Arab corpses into a house from the roof, while a huge fire was burning. It was really like a crematorium. Besides that horror, I saw many wood fires along the path on which corpses were burning. The stench in the air was unbearable.”5

In 1982, the then-commander of the Haganah, Zvi Ankoi, described the atrocities he witnessed at the scene of the Deir Yassin massacre: 

“I saw cut-off genitalia and women’s crushed stomachs. It was direct murder. Soldiers shot everyone they saw, including women and children. Parents begged commanders to stop the slaughter, to please stop shooting.”6

Selective amnesia 

Oppression breeds resistance, yet the world is convinced that resistance emerges from a vacuum on a single day that becomes a historical turning point of grand, irreversible proportions. The amnesic narrative that the clock began ticking on October 7, 2023, permits the prolonged subhuman slaughter of Palestinians. 

October 7 is a glimpse at the historical seeds of the permissive genocide and relentless indignities committed against Palestinians for over 75 years. There is no way to detach the events of a single day from the last 16 years of suffocating siege on Gaza, or from the century of attempted erasure and generational trauma that preceded it.  

The ghosts of buried atrocities haunt the history of Israel. Interred beneath the surface of bloodstained land are the bones and traumatic memories of the Palestinian people. Long before Deir Yassin, Zionists coordinated exterminatory violence that defined the legacy of cruelty, greed, collusion, and industrial slaughter of British and Zionist imperial design. 

Zionist usurpers have always targeted the weakest and most vulnerable. This is nothing new or surprising. The act of maiming and beheading 52 children before their own mothers’ eyes at Deir Yassin was an atrocity orchestrated to instill paralyzing terror in the indigenous Palestinian population. From day one, they targeted and brutally murdered Palestinian women and children, identifying women as prime targets that must be annihilated to thwart the rise of future Palestinian generations.

Israel was born of genocide, and Deir Yassin hastened its birth. 

The Deir Yassin massacre was imperative for its psychological impact on the displacement of Palestinians more so than for its military consequences. Former member of the Irgun terrorist group and later Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin summarized the orgy of executions at Deir Yassin.

“Without what was done at Deir Yassin there would not have been a State of Israel,” he wrote in his book, The Revolt. “While the Haganah was carrying out successful attacks on the other fronts…The Arabs began fleeing in panic, shouting ‘Deir Yassin.’”

Yet again

Rage pierces through my chest every time I remember the atrocity propaganda of 40 Israeli beheaded babies, demanding the insistent condemnation of the world and arousing virulent hatred and dehumanization of Palestinians from Gaza to Chicago to Burlington. Meanwhile, parents in Gaza continue to dig through piles of blood-splattered rubble and scalps to identify the countless decapitated Palestinian children that this world deems necessary “collateral damage.” 

The reason Israel is able to indiscriminately target so many people and kill so many children is because the world makes it possible by reducing Palestinians to a dehumanized sea of amorphous otherness. It views their extermination from the wordless, faceless, thoughtless viewpoint of undifferentiated brown bodies — easily interchangeable and easily eradicated for simply resisting their own annihilation. 

The pledge that genocide would “never again” be tolerated rings so utterly hollow when soldiers, trained deliberately in barbarity, continue to drop US-supplied 2,000-pound bunker-buster bombs on innocent men, women, and children, burning them alive. 

The reality is that the solemn vow of “never again” conveniently reverts to “yet again” when it comes to Palestinians. 

A solitary spark

My grandmother’s improbable survival of a massacre became the foundational story of my family’s existence. I didn’t witness the carnage of Deir Yassin, but I saw it in every crease, wrinkle, and wince in my grandmother’s face. Her narrative provides a sense of meaning to the improbability and pain of survival.  

Deir Yassin also became the haunting and genocidal foundational story of Israel and Palestine’s erasure. Each murder and atrocity committed in Gaza renews our collective grief and sends shock waves of unshakable sorrow through our hearts. The grief we feel today echoes back through time to those who endured the indignities and atrocities of the 1948 Nakba. 

We inherited these traumas as we inherited the color of our hair and eyes. Palestinians have never had the privilege or time to grieve, and the capital P has no bearing on the PTSD of Palestinians. Our trauma is neither post nor past. It is perpetual. But so is our hope. And that remains our foundational narrative.

In 1923, Jabotinsky wrote: 

“Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonized. That is what the 

Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of ‘Palestine’ into the ‘Land of Israel.” 

A century later, we remember these words. And the world will remember Gaza as a living testament to resistance and steadfastness in the face of inconceivable suffering and human savagery. 

Beneath the layers of our collective grief, sparks of steadfast hope continue to ignite the world and set hearts ablaze. And despite a century of unfathomable Zionist terror and barbarity, that flame will never be extinguished.


[1] Nakhleh, Issa. Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem Volume 1, Intercontinental Books, New York, 1991, p. 270.

[2] Ball, G.W. and Ball, D.B, The Passionate Attachment: America’s Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, London, 1992, p. 29.

[3] Statement of Safiyeh Attiyeh, dossier 179/110/17 GS, “Secret,” quoted in Collins and Lapierre, O Jerusalem! pp. 275 – 276.

[4] Diary of Jacques De Reynier, 27 March 1948, quoted in Collins and Lapierre, O Jerusalem! p. 238.

[5] Haaretz, (Hebrew daily) Tel-Aviv, 25 April 1993, as cited in Finkelstein, N. G. (2003) Image And Reality Of The Israel-Palestine Conflict (2nd Ed.). London and New York: Verso.

[6] Brenner, L. The Iron Wall: Zionist Revolutions from Jabotinksy to Shamir, Zed Books, Ltd., 1984, pp. 91 – 98.

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