In Palestine and around the world on Tuesday, Palestinians and their supporters held vigils and events to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the massacre of over one hundred Palestinian civilians in Deir Yassin village, in what is now Israel.April 9th, 1948 marks the date of one of a number of massacres committed by Jewish militia members trying to establish the Israeli state on Palestinian land. The massacre created an atmosphere of terror, that led many more towns and villages of Palestinians to flee from their homes.

The Alternative Information Center in Bethlehem describes the Deir Yassin massacre as follows: 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 of some 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 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 all over 100 Palestinian men, women, and children were systematically murdered.

Joseph Weitz, the founder of the Jewish National Fund (which owns the vast majority of land in what is now Israel, wrote in 1940 that Plan Dalet should consist of the following: “Mounting operations against enemy population centres located inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being used as bases by an active armed force. These operations can be divided into the following categories: Destruction of villages – setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris – especially those population centres which are difficult to control continuously; Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.”

Dina Elmuti, whose grandmother was a child at the time living in Deir Yassin, and survived the massacre, wrote in an article today on The Electronic Intifada, “Fathers, grandfathers, brothers and sons were lined up against a wall and sprayed with bullets, execution style. Beloved teachers were savagely mutilated with knives. Mothers and sisters were taken hostage and those who survived returned to find pools of blood filling the streets of the village and children stripped of their childhoods overnight.

“The walls of homes, which once stood witness to warmth, laughter and joy, were splattered with the blood and imprints of traumatic memories. My grandmother lost 37 members of her family that day. These are not stories you will read about in most history books.”

Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has documented the destruction of over 450 Palestinian villages between 1947 and 1949, and the forced displacement of over 750,000 Palestinian people from their homes in what is now Israel.