Remembering Dayr Yasin
03/2006
Dayr Yasin Booklet

Excerpt from the booklet:

Deir Yassin was a small village on the west side of Jerusalem about 5 kilometers from the Old City. It overlooked a pleasant valley and Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist. It was a peaceful Arab village of about 750 people.

On April 9, 1948, it was attacked by two Jewish paramilitary groups, The Irgun and the Stern Gang, composed of 120 men. Although the villagers were able to fend off the initial attack, professional Jewish soldiers assisted the dissidents and quickly conquered Deir Yassin. What followed was a blood bath in which over a hundred Palestinian men, women and children were murdered, most shot at close range.

The remaining villagers were driven out or trucked east towards Jerusalem. Their houses were looted and were subsequently resettled by Jewish European immigrants a few months later. Deir Yassin was wiped off the map.

In 1953 on the other side of the valley, within full view of Deir Yassin, the most famous Holocaust museum was begun. Named Yad Vashem, it has grown into a vast, sprawling complex of tree-studded walkways leading to exhibits, archives, monuments, sculptures, and memorials, all dedicated to Jews who died in World War II. On that side of the valley the world is taught to "Never Forget." On the Deir Yassin side the world is urged to "Never Mind."

If peace is to come to all the residents living between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the truth of Palesti,bu nian life and history must be established and acknowledged. "Never Mind" is not a foundation for peace. Rather, it is a denial of half the population's history and humanity.

As the most pivotal and symbolic event in the1948 war, the massacre at Deir Yassin is remembered annually with commemorations throughout the world, including two special events in Jerusalem and London. Three permanent memorials have already been dedicated to the victims of Deir Yassin. Our longer-term goal is to build a fitting memorial at Deir Yassin where today not even a sign exists.

We have heard calls for "revolutionary forgiveness" -- forgiveness with truth and justice -- forgiveness to take place in the "broken middle" of Jerusalem. Those of us committed to the memory and to the meaning of Deir Yassin believe that such reconciliation should take place in the Deir Yassin/Yad Vashem area at the site of the former village.

A truthful and visible memorial at Deir Yassin, clearly viewed from the Holocaust museum at Yad Vashem, may not only be the way out of the present conflict, it may be the only way out. This commemoration is part of a truth and reconciliation movement founded in the belief that only through truthful recognition of past events can healing in the present begin.

Please join the Palestinian and the Jewish communities who come together for this annual remembrance.

To find out more visit: www.deiryassin.org 

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