Classified Docs Reveal Massacres of Palestinians in '48 – and What Israeli Leaders Knew

Testimonies continue to pile up, documents are revealed, and gradually a broader picture emerges of the acts of murder committed by Israeli troops during the War of Independence. Minutes recorded during cabinet meetings in 1948 leave no room for doubt: Israel's leaders knew in real time about the blood-drenched events that accompanied the conquest of the Arab villages

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Operation Hiram. Within 30 hours, dozens of villages in the Galilee were conquered.
Operation Hiram. Within 30 hours, dozens of villages in the Galilee were conquered.
Adam Raz
Adam Raz

The discussions were fraught with emotion. Cabinet minister Haim-Moshe Shapira said that all of Israel’s moral foundations had been undermined. Minister David Remez remarked that the deeds that had been done remove us from the category of Jews and from the category of human beings altogether. Other ministers were also appalled: Mordechai Bentov wondered what kind of Jews would be left in the country after the war; Aharon Zisling related that he had had a sleepless night – the criminals, he said, were striking at the soul of the whole government. Some ministers demanded that the testimonies be investigated and that those responsible be held to account. David Ben-Gurion was evasive. In the end, the ministers decided on an investigation. The result was the establishment of the “committee to examine cases of murder in [by] the army.”

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