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Executions in ’08. Executions in ’48

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Today’s a sad day. Per Haaretz, B’tselem has concluded that four wanted Palestinians who the Israeli army had said died in a firefight in Bethlehem last month were killed execution-style in a car.

Richard Silverstein says that at least two of the men had sought amnesty recently. Dan Fleshler, a board member of Americans for Peace Now, is moved by the case to question American Jewry’s response to suffering in the Occupied Territories:

The problem is not merely that the brutality and humiliation inflicted
on Palestinians is an inevitable consequence of occupation; the problem
is that is just plain WRONG. Why can’t we say that? What happened to
our moral compass?

Last night I was reading Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. It describes the murders of 85-110 men in the Palestinian village of Tantura, outside Haifa, in May 1948:

[Shimshon] Mashvitz went along with a local collaborator, hooded…, and picked out individual men– again, in the eyes of the Israeli army, ‘men’ were all males between the ages of ten and fifty–and took them out in small groups to a spot further away where they were executed. The men were selected according to a pre-prepared list drawn from Tantura’s village file, and included everybody who had participated in the 1936 Revolt…. Most of the killings were done in cold blood on the beach…. This is how a Jewish officer described the executions at Tantura:  "Prisoners were led in groups to a distance of 200 metres aside and there were shot. Soldiers would come to the commander-in-chief and say, ‘My cousin was killed in the war.’ His commander heard that and instructed the troops to take a group of five to seven people aside and execute them…"

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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