Chosen for Conquest | September 17, 2002

by Joe Sobran

     "Get over it," a correspondent wrote me after I'd
mentioned Deir Yassin to him. But the Middle East has
never gotten over this formative event in the history of
the region. It remains the most lastingly successful
terrorist operation in the creation of the state of
Israel. It played a large part in Plan Dalet, a Zionist
campaign to drive Arabs out of Palestine.

     "Deir Yassin was a small Arab village just outside
Jerusalem," write George and Douglas Ball in their book
THE PASSIONATE ATTACHMENT. "It had stayed out of the
[Jewish-Arab] struggle and, wishing to be neutral, its
inhabitants had entered into a mutual nonaggression pact
with the neighboring Jews. They had also agreed not to
harbor those attacking the Jews.

     "Yet the village was almost the first to suffer the
horror of Plan Dalet, which went into effect on April 1,
1948. It called for the destruction and evacuation of
twenty villages in order to purge the land of Palestinian
inhabitants by gaining 'control of areas given to us by
the UN in addition to areas occupied by us which were
outside these borders.'"

     On April 9 the irregular forces of the Irgun, led by
Israel's future prime minister Menachem Begin,
slaughtered nearly all the residents of the nearly
defenseless village. Many survivors of the first assault,
all civilians, were marched into the village square,
lined up against a wall, and shot. A Red Cross
representative arrived while the violence was still in
progress; he found 254 dead, including 145 women, 35 of
whom were pregnant.

     A few of the Arabs of Deir Yassin were still alive.
The Balls write, "The other surviving woman and children
were stripped, and with their hands above their heads,
paraded in three open trucks up and down King George V
Avenue in Jewish Jerusalem, where spectators spat on them
and stoned them."

     This had the desired effect. As word of the massacre
spread, hundreds of Arabs fled the land. They have never
been allowed to return to their homes. Their houses were
destroyed and their property distributed to Jews.

     Begin was exultant. He sent a message praising his

     "Accept my congratulations on this splendid act of
conquest. Convey my regards to all the commanders and
soldiers. We shake your hands. We are all proud of the
excellent leadership and the fighting spirit in this
great attack. We stand to attention in memory of the
slain. We lovingly shake the hands of the wounded. Tell
the soldiers: you have made history with your attack and
your victory. Continue thus until victory. As in Deir
Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the
enemy. God, God, Thou hast chosen us for conquest."

     In his memoirs, Begin made the event sound like a
battle, with no mention of the massacre of women and
children or of the obscene abuse of the few survivors.
But in fact it was a triumph for Plan Dalet -- not a
heroic defensive feat, but an act of brutal expropriation
and a precedent for many others. Even Begin called it a

     Nobody was fooled. One of Israel's founders, David
Ben Gurion, had to repudiate Begin and the Irgun, but
they were only executing his plan and Ben Gurion himself
had never intended to honor the UN boundaries. He
accepted them only as a base for future conquest and

     Not only did Begin go on to become Israel's prime
minister; he was vocal in denouncing Arabs for
"terrorism," even as he refused to admit that the Arabs
had any rights. Among his servitors was his defense
minister, Ariel Sharon, who applied Begin's methods
during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, slaughtering
thousands of civilians. (A subsequent inquiry forced
Sharon to resign from the cabinet. Not all Israelis are
devoid of conscience.)

     Such are America's "reliable allies" in the "war on
terrorism." To most Americans, the events of 1948 and
1982 are ancient history; in fact, to most Americans,
history itself (including American history) is ancient
history. The very events that shaped today's world and
set the stage for today's turmoil are deemed too remote
to matter. Why won't those Arabs just shut up?

     It's history, as we say. Get over it.


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