How Did The Village of Dier Yassin Come to be Fought Over in 1948 Essay Sample

How Did The Village of Dier Yassin Come to be Fought Over in 1948 Pages
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Dier Yassin is a village inside the British mandate of Palestine. In 1948, at the time of the Israeli war of independence, from the 9-11 of April Dier Yassin was attacked. Over 100 Arabs were killed on the Haganna and Stern Gang war path between Jaffa and Jerusalem. This was a turning point in the Arab Israeli conflict and some claim that it started the Palestinian refugee crisis.

This attack, however, was a small part of a bigger conflict in which the Arab contingent started war on the newly created Israel. The conflictarose from decades of old competing nationalists and as a result of this the Israelis launched operation Dalet on the 4th of April. Using Haganna and other militant groups their aim was to clear a road from Jaffa to Jerusalem and to split the Arab state into two and capture Jerusalem before the UN partition came into effect.

This action was a result of a UN proposal formed after the refugee crisis as a result of World War One. The UNSCOP partition split the country in to two states: Israel and Palestine and put Jerusalem under UN control. This created tension on both sides. Firstly the Arabs had less land even though they had two thirds more people. They also had no direct access to their main port of Jaffa. In addition their state was split into three separate parts, which, added to the fact that all of the most fertile land was under Israeli control made them extremely unhappy. Both sides felt they should control Jerusalem as a legal, moral and religious right. The Israelis had no direct access to Jerusalem, which meant they would have to travel through Arab territories to reach their holy city.

These tensions resulted in both sides making war on each other before the UN partition could come into effect. The Arabs and Jews believed they had moved from one controlled and policed state to another.

The British mandate was a result of World War One. In World War One the British needed allies, they promised Israel Mac Mahan and Palestine the same, things they could not give. This angered both sides and forced a mandate and lead to conflict and fighting.

This conflict, however, has even earlier roots, which trace back to the start of both their religions. Both Jews and Arabs believe they have religious rights to the land. According to both sides Moses had two sons who were both promised the same land. One founded the Judaism and the other, Islam. This resulted in both sides claiming they had rights to the same land.

Although we can extract a number of facts, such a date, number of victims and names of leaders, from source A but in the main it tries to bend our opinion because it is a propaganda leaflet, designed to affect opinion. It tells Zionists attacked Dier Yassin on the 9thApril 1948. and that “154 men, women and children” from a “peaceful village” were “massacred” in “cold blood” The language the author uses suggests to the reader that the perpertrators were unnecessarily violent. The phrase “men, women and children” claims the murderers were indiscriminate and brutal murderers; a war crime had been committed. The phrases “cold blood” and “plan” suggest that the attack was part of a coordinated attempt to force Palestinians out of the homes through the use of terror and fear.

In Source A we are told that one of the groups who attacked the village was lead by Begin, who later became president of Israel; the government of Israel therefore in not to be trusted, having members in it who sanctioned war crimes, thus it follows that Israel is an illegal state. The author portrays, through words such as “fate”, “confusion and terror” the attack as a momentous and morally and legally unjustified act which led directly to the refugee crisis because the Palestinians were “prevented” from returning to their “homes”. His main aim to create sympathy for the Arab nation thus enforcing their claim to the land.

As stated earlier the source is written by the PLO and is part of a propaganda leaflet, it is a biased account from one of the fighting sides; it attempts to discredit the Israelis and so cultivate support for the Palestinians.

The author was probably not an eyewitness as the source is written in 1984, which is over 30yrs after the event. Often, secondary sources written after the event can be useful and reliable as they reflect a wider picture and writers have access to a wider range of sources. Moreover the source was written by an official spokesman for the PLO, who would have access to a lot of information. Some of the information in the source can be corroborated through cross reverence to other souces. However, in this case I think, because of the writer’s obvious views, the lapse in time will have given rise to a myth of error in account: indeed some of the language noted above is very myth-like. There may also be a question that they were allowed to speak freely; although it was written by the PLO in Palestine, Israel still had a lot of control over the Palestinian territories.

I think this source is aimed at Arabs and other countries, apart from Israel, to both enrol freedom fighters and to create hatred of Israel. Describing the horrors committed by others detracts attention from your own terrorist activity. So if you show the Dier Yassin attack to be a collaboration of brutal murderers then it will caste the Israelis in a bad light thus making the Palestinians seem to be on the morally right side. Nevertheless, the facts do in some ways support the opinion trying to be created: 154 men, women and children were infact killed, they were not armed, even though they may have been prepared to kill people.

The source has limited usefulness because there is no reference to the wider war, so we could be looking at a magnified isolated situation, which does not reflect the wider picture. It is most useful in showing us the Arab view clearly so we can start to understand why the sides hate each other so much. The source does contain a lot of detail on the massacre which makes it possible to corroborate sources to see if it describes an isolated case. Overall the source can be used to draw facts from the decorated language as well as ascertain the degree of Arab public opinion with regard to the conflict but it is, on its own, very limited in its overall reliability.

Source B is an Israeli view of the Arab exodus from Palestine in 1948. The speaker, Mrs Golda Meir [Israel’s foreign minister] is trying to shift the blame to the Arabs. The source says that the Jews were not responsible: The “responsibility”, the speaker claims, “must lie” with the Arab leaders who told their people to leave so they could attack. She also says that the refugee crisis is not the result of an isolated case as refugees are a normal consequence of war. She firmly puts the blame on the Arab armies who she claims “invaded” the state of Israel. She is careful to talk about “hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs” who were the victims of these invasions. Obviously she does not accept that Israel did anything illegal to cause the refugee problem. In her statement she makes it clear that she does not accept that the attack was a terror attack sanctioned by the Israeli leaders, as stated in Source A. The attack, she claims, was not part of an Israeli plan to force people out of the home but was a random attack by non-authorized militant “Jewish dissidents”.

The language the speaker uses is superficially less decorative and emotional. Infact she seems to be trying to create the impression that she is unbiased, using phrases like “historically incorrect” and attempts to reduce the horror of the event by words such as “incident”. Any emotional language is saved to describe the Arab armies who carried out “aggression against Israel. This author might be trying to shift the blame for the refugee problem because who ever caused the problem would have to fix it by looking after the refugees, feed, cloth and house them, which would stretch already stretched resources. Source B was written by an Israeli foreign minister and presented to the United Nations. As I have said the aim is to shift blame for the refugee problem so they don’t have to look after them and also to discredit the other side. The author was probably not an eyewitness as he is a foreign minister not a fighter. This means he has not had direct first hand information but has probably had access to lots of other sources, as he is quite important.

However this access to sources does not mean that he used all the sources he was presented with. The question of whether he was allowed to speak freely is probably yes. He was presenting his speech to the world so he would probably not hindered and could give all the information if he wanted to. Also the price is higher for lying to the whole world and not just his people. On the other hand he may have been put under pressure by his own people to bend the truth and create sympathy for the Jews. The source was wrote in 1961, 13yrs after the attack, there has been no major developments or wars in the 13yrs but anger has had time to brew and there has been more time for a myth to be created.

The source is aimed at the world and has been designed to create opinion thus the language will be decorated in a way to create opinion in the way the writer wants it to.

The facts can be corroborated with other sources that also state Arab leaders told their people to leave.

The source can be said to be reliable because it is secondary thus has had access to other sources to cross reference with. It is of official status and has been presented to the UN so will have to stand up to international scrutiny. On the other hand as it is a secondary source more time has lapsed to allow the creation of a myth or error in the story to occur. I have already said that the source is designed to shift blame and create opinion. This must affect reliability. Israel may decorate their language in such a way it creates sympathy for that particular side. All these points detract from its reliability.

The source is useful as we can see that the Israelis thought that the attack was by a dissident group thus not with authority of the Israeli leaders. The origin of the source is known so we can take a more educated guess at motives ect. It explains the wider conflict and takes some of the blame, this shows us they are not trying to say they are completely innocent but are only partly to blame. However some of the details are historically inaccurate, for example it suggests part of the reason for the conflict is that the British left on the 14th of may but corroborated sources say that the attack was from the 9-11 of April, before the \British left. Also it only makes passing reference to Dier Yassin, almost pushing it to one side like a minor event. We can use this source to see opinion and extract details from the decorate shell and also use facts to corroborate with other sources.

The blame differs in each source for the flight from Dier Yassin and other villages in Palestine in 1948. Both sources are trying to shift the blame to the other side thus attempting cast them in a bad light. Their both are trying to state their; moral, religious and legal claim to the land then and now.

Source A shows us that the Arabs want all the land back and do not want to share it with the Jews. They agree that a dissident Israelis group may have carried out the attacks but they also say that the dissident leaders became state leaders. For example Meachin Begin became head of state after he lead the Stern Gang into attack at Dier Yassin. They believe that if the leader of Israel is prepared to massacre innocent lives for the cause of Israel he will also go to any measures to keep Israel active. This goes on to the fact that they accuse Israel of committing a war crime by killing innocent people indiscriminately in “cold blood” many people who were apparently unarmed. Therefore the whole state of Israel was formed on illegal grounds enforcing Palestine’s legal and moral right to return. They also blame the Israelis entirely for the refugee problem by accusing them of forcing the Palestinians out of their homes through terror or force. One example that backs this up is the Dier Yassin attack that forced them out of their homes and to become refugees.

The Arabs are entirely blaming the Jews, labelling them as terrorists and claiming the state of Israel is entirely illegal.

From the Jewish point of view they are trying to establish a home in their promised land in Palestine (Zionism). They believe that not only it was promised to them religiously but also they have survived the Holocaust thus is vital for them to have a homeland so they have somewhere to go if it happens again. Also they strongly object to the claim that they authorised the attack on the villages from Jaffa to Jerusalem including Dier Yassin. They claim that the attack was organised by Jewish dissidents and was not sanctioned by the Israeli government in any way shape or form. Again they try to shift the blame by claiming the Arabs started the war and refugee crisis. They claim that the Arabs started a civil war that initiated the refugee crisis. Then increasing it by telling the Arabs to leave so they could attack Jewish settlements. This lead to a major refugee crisis and one of the main reasons for the conflict in the Middle East. Another point the made is that refugees are a normal consequence of war and this is not a special case

Both sources are partisan sources. They are one sided and are both trying to create opinion. The fact is they are both different interpretations from different sides about the same event and have to be corroborated to be useful. However we can extract facts from the heavily decorated and partisan wording to cross reference with other sources. Both also have issues of reliability. Source A: Partisan language leads to heavily loaded source, its wrote by Arabs and clearly is trying to create opinion, its part of a propaganda leaflet, its secondary so has had more time for a myth to be created and its designed to shift blame to the Israelis. Source B: Is also secondary and is a speech designed to shift blame to the Arabs for the refugee crisis. Moreover we need to corroborate these sources to find an accurate picture of what happened. We can’t judge such a big thing with to Partisan sources.

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