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October 29: The Safsaf Massacre, 1948

October 29, 2013
Picture3105Israeli soldiers massacred between fifty and seventy Palestinians in the Galilean village of Safsaf on this date in 1948, following a twelve-hour battle between Israeli forces and a division of the Arab Liberation Army. "In Safsaf, after . . . the inhabitants had raised a white flag," wrote Yosef Nahmani, a senior Israeli officer, in his diary, "the [soldiers] collected and separated the men and women, tied the hands of fifty-sixty fellahin and shot and killed them and buried them in a pit. Also, they raped several women," including a 14-year-old. "Where did they come by such a measure of cruelty, like Nazis?," Nahmani continued. ". . . Is there no more humane way of expelling the inhabitants than by such methods?" For a listing of the victims, click here. "They told us that we might stay in the village if we wished, suggesting that we send word to our men to return to the village. Although they assured us that no harm would come to us . . . that we should forget about what had happened in the village, we did not trust them nor did we believe them. Every night, about four persons would leave the village without the Jews' knowledge. I did not want to stay . . . How could we forget what they did to our boys? . . . How could we open our hearts to them and really trust them?" —Nafez Nazzal, The Fall of Galilee: From Landowners to Landless Refugees The Palestinian Exodus from Galilee 1948