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April 13: The Medical Convoy Massacre

April 13, 2014
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA convoy of Jewish doctors, nurses, patients, teachers, and Haganah fighters was attacked by Arab forces en route to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus on this date in 1948, bringing death to eighty people, including twenty women, one British soldier, and Dr. Chaim Yassky, director of the hospital. “Since Jews have been attacking us and blowing up houses . . . from bases in Hadassah Hospital and Hebrew University,” said Abdul Kader Husseini, who headed Arab military forces in Jerusalem, “I have given orders to occupy or even demolish them.” Shortly after this pronouncement, Husseini was killed by a Hadassah Hospital worker. The attack on the convoy may have been in revenge for this, as well as for the Deir Yassin Massacre five days earlier, which killed more than 100 Palestinian Arabs, including women and children. Many argue, however, that the convoy massacre, which included an ambush, sniper fire, and shelling, was not an act of vengeance at all, but a premeditated part of Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini’s plan for the ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Jerusalem and Palestine. The Jewish Agency declared the attack to be a violation of the Geneva Accords; the Arabs countered that the convoy, which included ten vehicles carrying both medical and military supplies, combined civilians and military forces in an indistinguishable way. The attack lasted for seven hours and took place within sight of a British military outpost. “Hadassah officials said that British troops and police prevented Haganah enforcements from reaching the battle scene in time to aid the immobilized Jews . . . The same officials claimed that British police who witnessed the massacre from less than 100 yards away did nothing to defend the trapped Jews, most of whom were doctors, nurses and hospital patients.” -Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 15, 1948