Thursday, January 5, 2012

Many are familiar with the photo, but few know the story behind it. The Lydda Death March of 1948

The Lydda Death March of 1948...They marched 20+ Miles in over 100 degree temperatures in the dessert...Over 350 died, and no one knows exactly how many children...Jews force Palestinians on death march.

The expulsions from Ramla and Lydda as well as from other Palestinian towns and villages in 1948 is documented in Israeli state, military, and kibbutz archives, and by numerous Israeli historians, including Benny Morris (The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Crisis; 1948 and After); Tom Segev (1949: The First Israelis); and Alon Kadish (The Conquest of Lydda, published by the IDF). Further corroboration of the expulsions in Lydda and Ramla comes from the writing of Yigal Allon, then chief of Israel's Palmach (army); by a local kibbutz leader of the day, Israel Galili B; by Rabin himself in his memoirs; and by dozens of interviews I did for The Lemon Tree in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon since 1998.

The expulsions of the Palestinians from Lydda and Ramla by Jews, began en masse on July 13 and continued for three days. The Arabs of al-Ramla, who had surrendered without incident, were put on buses and driven to the front lines of the fighting, where they, like the Arabs of Lydda, were ordered out and told to walk.

Rabin, in his memoir, described how in the critical days of mid-July 1948, he asked Ben-Gurion what to do with the civilian population of Ramla and Lydda, and that the prime minister had "waved his hand in a gesture which said, 'Drive them out!'"
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  1. <span><span>
    "From Lydda, Palestinians were marched out of town and toward the hills in the general direction of the Christian hill town of Ramallah, more than 20 miles away. Jewish soldiers would later recall a desire to punish the Arabs of Lydda for their aborted uprising; some soldiers stole gold from the residents, and shot in the air behind them to speed their departure.
    <span><span>The Palestinians had had no time to gather supplies for the arduous journey ahead.

    About 50,000, Palestinians expelled from Ramla and Lydda moved through the hills toward Ramallah in the immediate aftermath of their expulsion. John Bagot Glubb, the British commander of the Arab Legion, recalled "a blazing day in the coastal plain, the temperature about a hundred degrees in the shade."

    From Lydda and from al-Ramla, the people went along dirt tracks, camel trails, and open country. Water ran out early. When they came to a cornfield, some sucked the moisture out of kernels of corn. Several refugee women told me of arriving at a well with a broken rope and removing their dresses to dip them in the stagnant water below so that children could drink from the cloth. One woman recalled watching a boy pee into a can, so that his grandmother could drink from it.


  2. <span><span>I would hear them talk of the old father or grandfather who had been left behind. There were stories of mothers who became delirious and left their babies; of mothers who died while nursing; of a strong young man who carried his grandfather on his back like a sack of potatoes; of a man who took the gold from his old wife and left her to die. "Some would throw a cover on a woman's body," Busaileh wrote. "We would pass dead babies and live babies, all the same, abandoned on the side or in ditches. Someone talked later of having seen a baby still alive on the bosom of a dead woman."

    Of all the stories of the Palestinian Nakba, none surpasses this march through the hills from al-Ramla and Lydda 58 years ago this month. "Nobody will ever know how many children died," Glubb would recall in his memoir, A Soldier With the Arabs. The Death March, along with the massacre at Deir Yassin, represent two of the central traumas that form the Palestinian catastrophe. Countless thousands fled from their villages, many because of "whispering campaigns" by Israeli military intelligence agents, which, following Deir Yassin, were designed to spark Arab fears of another massacre. Tens of thousands more were driven from their homes by force.

    Yigal Allon, writing in the journal of the Palmach in July 1948, described the military advantages of the mass expulsions: Driving out the citizens of Ramla and Lydda would alleviate the pressure from an armed and hostile population, while clogging the roads toward the Arab Legion front, seriously hampering any effort to retake the towns. Allon also described in detail the psychological operations whereby local kibbutz leaders would "whisper in the ears of some Arabs, that a great Jewish reinforcement has arrived," and that "they should suggest to these Arabs, as their friends, to escape while there is still time. The tactic reached its goal completely.""</span></span>

  3. Why would they do this? Seriously why? How did anyone benefit from this? How much richer and more successful with Palestine/Israel be today if their knowledge workers and innovators hadn't left?

  4. Mortada (Oldest woman in Lebanon)  also recalls the Houla massacre. “An [Israeli] soldier ordered me to go to the square, where the men were being lined up, but someone told him ‘leave her alone, she has a child in her arms.’ I saw the massacre with my own eyes. I saw how one of the town’s men fell to the ground next to the martyrs, pretending to be dead, and how he fled to the town of Chakra after the Zionists’ withdrawal. That day, I escaped with my children to Chakra. I would carry two children, get them to a certain destination, then go back to get the other two, and so on and so forth till we reached Chakra, and then Nabatieh and finally Marjayoun, where my husband was doing his military service.”

  5. <span>Why would they do this? Seriously why?</span>

    Are you telling us you never heard of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine conducted by the zionist grubs in 1948? If you haven't then you have no business talking about the the Palestinian question before educating yourself.

  6. I have read about this. I still don't understand why 1948 happened. Why would human beings behave like that?

  7. <span><span>I still don't understand why 1948 happend.</span>  
     </span><span>You're not reading the right material. Have you tried to read any of the frigging new Israeli historians? Pappe, Segev or Shlaim?</span>