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Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Holy Land: two faiths commemorate a massacre 55 years on
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 In the afternoon of 9 April, on the site of the destroyed village of Deir Yassin, Palestinians and Israelis held a joint remembrance service for the victims of the massacre 55 years ago. Two Jewish terrorist groups, Irgun and the Stern Gang, orchestrated the massacre, which represents the calculated depopulation of over 400 Arab villages and cities and the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinian inhabitants. Like hundreds of other Palestinian villages to follow, Deir Yassin was wiped off the map and it is a part of Israeli history most Israelis want to forget. Ronnie Jager, an Israeli peace activist, explained the importance of remembering what happened in Deir Yassin: "This is an old story that people want to forget. But it is so important to keep history straight, we can't make pace based on lies." Approximately 100 Palestinians and Israelis marched around the walls of the Kfar Shaul psychiatric hospital, the only Arab building left in the area. Today, the land where the village of Deir Yassin was stood is a middle-class Jewish suburb of West Jerusalem. Orthodox Jewish children watched the ceremony curiously, unaware of their neighbourhood's bloody history, while settlers from the nearby settlement of Har Nof cursed from their cars. Mr Barakat is one of the few survivors of the Deir Yassin massacre still living in Palestine. His mother was from Deir Yassin and he was there 55 years ago, sleeping in his house when the village was attacked. "They came very early in the morning," he said, "when the village was sleeping. I woke up hearing the shooting. The Jews were in the village, shooting indiscriminately. People who lived in the middle of the village were all killed." He spoke slowly, with dignity, "My grandfather had three wives, and altogether the family was seventeen. All of them were murdered." The ceremony concluded with a solemn reading of the names of 93 of the victims. However, the real number of victims will never be known.
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