“Deir Yassin was a small Palestinian village near Jerusalem which had made and scrupulously abided by a non-aggression agreement with the Haganah. On 9 April 1948, the Irgun and the Stern Gang launched an unprovoked attack on the village and massacred over 245 Palestinians. According to Benny Morris in Righteous Victims, entire families were killed, and reports from Jewish commanders spoke of “barbaric behavior towards the prisoners and dead”, with Palestinian villagers being paraded in Jerusalem city streets in trucks before being taken back to the village and murdered. Although the Haganah leadership condemned the operation, it served a useful purpose in their expulsion plan as its psychological effect on Palestinians was devastating.
The accounts from survivors and witnesses were harrowing:
“[I saw] a man shoot… my sister Salhiyeh who was nine months pregnant. Then he cut her stomach open with a butcher’s knife.” - Haleem Lei”