Shopping Lydda is the black box of Zionism. The truth is that Zionism could not bear the Arab city of Lydda. From the very beginning, there was a substantial contradiction between Zionism and Lydda. If Zionism was to exist, Lydda could not exist.
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Main article: Palestine war Palestine was under rule of the British Mandate from to After 30 years of intercommunal conflict between Jewish and Arab Palestinians, the United Nations voted to partition it into a Jewish and an Arab state on 29 November , with Lydda and Ramle to form part of the latter. British authority broke down as the civil war spread, taking care only of the evacuation of their forces although they maintained an air and sea blockade. After first 4. During that period between , and , Palestinians fled or were expelled from their lands.
After 4 weeks of truce during which Israeli forces reinforced whereas Arab ones suffered of the embargo, the fights resumed. Lydda and Ramle events took place during that period. Israeli geographer Arnon Golan writes that Palestinian Arabs had blocked Jewish transport to Jerusalem at Ramle, causing Jewish transportation to shift to a southern route.
In April , Lydda had become an arms supply center, and provided military training and security coordination for the neighboring villagers. The operation was carried out between 9 July , the end of the first truce in the Arab-Israeli war, and 18 July, the start of the second truce, a period known in Israeli historiography as the Ten Days. There are differing views as to how well-defended the towns were.
The Legion had distributed barbed wire and as many weapons as could be spared. By the time of the Israeli attack, they say the militia in Lydda numbered 1, men equipped with rifles, submachine guns, 15 machine guns, five heavy machine guns, 25 anti-tank launchers, six or seven light field-guns, two or three heavy ones, and armored cars with machine guns. Lydda contained several hundred Bedouin volunteers and a large-sized force of the Arab Legion.
They argue that the deaths in Lydda occurred during a military battle for the town, not because of a massacre. He writes that there were Legionnaires in the town in June, though the Israelis believed there were up to 1, An Arab Legion officer was appointed military governor of both towns, signaling the desire of Abdullah I of Jordan to stake a claim in the parts of Palestine allotted by the UN to a Palestinian Arab state, but Glubb advised him that the Legion was overstretched and could not hold the towns.
As a result, Abdullah ordered the Legion to assume a defensive position only, and most of the Legionnaires in Lydda withdrew during the night of 11—12 July.
They say it was common for Palestinian Arabs to leave their homes under threat of Israeli invasion, in part because they feared atrocities, particularly rape, and in part because of a reluctance to live under Jewish rule.
The Israeli air force began bombing the towns on the night of 9—10 July, intending to induce civilian flight, and it seemed to work in Ramle: at hours on 10 July, Operation Dani headquarters Dani HQ told the IDF that there was a "general and serious flight from Ramla.
He said there was fear of a massacre, as there had been at Deir Yassin , and that there were bodies scattered in the streets and between the houses, including the bodies of women and children. A few hundred young men had been placed in a barbed wire cage, and were being taken in lorries to an internment camp. Women were bringing them food and water, he wrote, arguing with the Jewish guards and seemingly unafraid.
He said the prevailing feeling seemed to be relief that the war was over. Moshe Dayan , moved into Lydda. Using a column of jeeps led by a Marmon-Herrington Armoured Car with a cannon—taken from the Arab Legion the day before—he launched the attack in daylight,  driving through the town from east to west machine-gunning anything that moved, according to Morris, then along the Lydda-Ramle road firing at militia posts until they reached the train station in Ramle.
Hand grenades were thrown from all directions. There was a tremendous confusion. Six of his men were killed and 21 were wounded.
He wrote: "[The Israeli jeep column] raced into Lydda with rifles, Stens, and sub-machine guns blazing. It coursed through the main streets, blasting at everything that moved The Israeli side lost 6 dead and 21 wounded. On the evening of 11 July, — Israeli soldiers entered the town. Not long afterwards, the Arab Legion forces on the Lydda—Ramle road withdrew, though a small number of Legionnaires remained in the Lydda police station.
More Israeli troops arrived at dawn on 12 July. According to a contemporaneous IDF account: "Groups of old and young, women and children streamed down the streets in a great display of submissiveness, bearing white flags, and entered of their own free will the detention compounds we arranged in the mosque and church—Muslims and Christians separately. The committee issued an explicit order that forbade "to destroy, burn or demolish Arab towns and villages, to expel the inhabitants of Arab villages, neighborhoods and towns, or to uproot the Arab population from their place of residence" without having previously received, a specific and direct order from the Minister of Defense.
Regulations ordered the sealing off of Arab areas to prevent looting and acts of revenge and stated that captured men were to be treated as POWs with the Red Cross notified. Palestinian Arabs who wished to remain were allowed to do so and the confiscation of their property was prohibited. A curfew for that evening was announced over loudspeakers. They refused and fired upon the party, killing the mayor and wounding several others.
Israeli historian Yoav Gelber writes that the Legionnaires still in the police station were panicking, and had been sending frantic messages to their HQ in Ramallah: "Have you no God in your hearts? Hasten aid! Hamadallah al-Abdullah from the Jordanian 1st Brigade.
The Arab Legion armored cars opened fire on the Israeli soldiers combing the old city which created the impression that the Jordanians had staged counterattack. The exchange of gunfire led residents and Arab fighters to believe the Legion had arrived in force, and those still armed started firing at the Israelis too.
Local militia once again renewed hostilities and an Israeli patrol were set upon by a rioting mob in the market place. The Israeli military sustained many casualties, and viewing the renewed resistance as a surrender agreement violation, quickly quelled it, and many civilians died. Morris calls this "nonsense" and argues that only a few dozen townspeople took part in what turned out to be a brief firefight.
Shapira writes that the Israelis had no experience of governing civilians and panicked. Residents ran out of their homes in panic and were shot. Yeruham Cohen, an IDF intelligence officer, said around died between and hours. Pool concluded: "" I think that the authors should have furnished much more information about their precise meaning, factual validity, and sources.
He places a cautionary note on the UCC web site: " Christian detainees had been taken to the church or a nearby Greek Orthodox monastery, leaving the Muslims in fear of a massacre. Kadish and Sela say it was a firefight that broke out between armed militiamen inside the mosque and Israeli soldiers outside and responding to attacks originating from the mosque, the Israelis fired an anti-tank shell into it, then stormed it, killing 30 militia men inside.
He also stated that anyone straying from the flight trail was shot dead. The Red Cross was due to visit the area, but the new Israeli military governor of Ramle issued an order to have the visit delayed.
The visit was rescheduled for 14 July; Dani HQ ordered Israeli troops to remove the bodies by then, but the order seems not to have been carried out. Klaus Dreyer of the IDF Medical Corps complained on 15 July that there were still corpses lying in and around Lydda, which constituted a health hazard and a "moral and aesthetic issue.
As a result, their policy was haphazard and circumstantial, depending in part on the location, but also on the religion and ethnicity of the town. Rabin has offered two accounts of what happened next. In a interview with Michael Bar-Zohar , Rabin said Allon asked what was to be done with the residents; in response, Ben-Gurion had waved his hand and said, "garesh otam"—"expel them.
Psychologically, this was one of the most difficult actions we undertook. The population of Lod did not leave willingly. There was no way of avoiding the use of force and warning shots in order to make the inhabitants march the 10 to 15 miles to the point where they met up with the legion.
I did not receive such permission and did not give such orders. He writes that Ben-Gurion was in the habit of expressing his orders clearly, whether verbally or in writing, and would not have issued an order by waving his hand; he adds that there is no record of any meetings before the invasion that indicate expulsion was discussed. He attributes the expulsions to Allon, who he says was known for his scorched earth policy. Wherever Allon was in charge of Israeli troops, Gelber writes, no Palestinians remained.
He was shocked when he realized troops were organizing expulsions. He returned to Tel Aviv for a meeting with Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok , who met with Ben Gurion to agree on guidelines for the treatment of the residents, though Morris writes that Ben Gurion apparently failed to tell Shitrit or Shertok that he himself was the source of the expulsion orders. Women, children, the old, and the sick were not to be forced to leave, and the monasteries and churches must not be damaged, though no mention was made of the mosques.
Ben-Gurion passed the order to the IDF General Staff, who passed it to Dani HQ at hours on 12 July, ten hours after the expulsion orders were issued; Morris writes that there was an ambiguity in the instruction that women, children and the sick were not to be forced to go: the word "lalechet" can mean either "go" or "walk". Satisfied that the order had been passed on, Shertok believed he had managed to avert the expulsions, not realizing that, even as he was discussing them in Tel Aviv, they had already begun.
The IDF used its own vehicles and confiscated Arab ones to move them. Over the past three days, the townspeople had undergone aerial bombardment, ground invasion, had seen grenades thrown into their homes and hundreds of residents killed, had been living under a curfew, had been abandoned by the Arab Legion, and the able-bodied men had been rounded up.
Morris writes they had concluded that living under Israeli rule was not sustainable. While the residents were still in the town, IDF radio traffic had already started calling them "refugees" plitim.
The eviction [pinui]" of the inhabitants They were made to walk, perhaps because of their earlier resistance, or simply because there were no vehicles left. You had to immediately begin walking and it had to be to the east. The people were fatigued even before they began their journey or could attempt to reach any destination.
No one knew where Barfilia was or its distance from Jordan. The people were also fasting due to Ramadan because they were people of serious belief. There was no water. People began to die of thirst.
Some women died and their babies nursed from their dead bodies. Many of the elderly died on the way. Many buried their dead in the leaves of corn". Many were elderly people and young children who died from the heat and exhaustion. Morris writes that IDF thinking was simple and cogent. They had just taken two major objectives and were out of steam.
The Arab Legion had been expected to counter-attack, but the expulsions thwarted it: the roads were now cluttered, and the Legion was suddenly responsible for the welfare of an additional tens of thousands of people. The Sharett-Ben Gurion guidelines to the IDF had specified there was to be no robbery, but numerous sources spoke of widespread looting.
The Economist wrote on 21 August that year: "The Arab refugees were systematically stripped of all their belongings before they were sent on their trek to the frontier. Household belongings, stores, clothing, all had to be left behind. Allon replied that he knew of no such order, but conceded it as a possibility.
Third Conversation Chapter Five: Lydda 1948
Main article: Palestine war Palestine was under rule of the British Mandate from to After 30 years of intercommunal conflict between Jewish and Arab Palestinians, the United Nations voted to partition it into a Jewish and an Arab state on 29 November , with Lydda and Ramle to form part of the latter. British authority broke down as the civil war spread, taking care only of the evacuation of their forces although they maintained an air and sea blockade. After first 4. During that period between , and , Palestinians fled or were expelled from their lands. After 4 weeks of truce during which Israeli forces reinforced whereas Arab ones suffered of the embargo, the fights resumed.
1948 Palestinian exodus from Lydda and Ramle
Under the firm hand of its pioneer visionary founder, Dr. Siegfried Lehmann, this became a model of a successful Zionist community in the most enlightened sense of the term, catering to its own residents and offering medical and human services to the Arabs of Lydda and the surrounding villages. Yet as the youth village develops in size and scope preserving its original humane Zionist vision, the world around it is changing. Zionist groups are training for armed confrontation believing that the moment for a final reckoning will soon occur. When the struggle breaks out in December after the United Nations decision to divide the country into two states, it is raw and brutal. For Shavit, the peak of the whole story comes with the Jewish conquest of Lydda and the subsequent expulsion of its 35, Arab inhabitants including refugees from other towns and villages.
What primary sources tell us about Lydda 1948
Tugor The truth is that Zionism could not bear the Arab city of Lydda. When Israeli forces entered Lydda, it is where the remaining Arab Legion contingent, reinforced by local police and foreign volunteers, barricaded itself. After a half-hour of intense fire, the battle died down. By November the IDF had been accused of atrocities in a number of towns and villages, to the point where David Ben-Gurion had to appoint an investigator. There is even a photograph of him in the Lydda cemetery, pointing out where the bodies, according to him, were not buried but burned to ash. Exploding a mosque full of Muslims needs about as much justification as murder of a single Muslim female for dating a non-Muslim — none. In his frequent retelling of the story—a more detailed version exists in Arabic—he makes no mention of the murder of anyone assigned to the detail.
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