Press Release 5 April 2002

Scottish Friends of Palestine, in conjunction with Deir Yassin Remembered, will hold a short commemoration ceremony for the victims of the massacre at Deir Yassin, Palestine on

Sunday 7th April at 2.00pm

at the Deir Yassin commemoration plaque

located at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Galleries

You are invited to attend this commemoration ceremony which will include the laying of flowers and lighting of candles.

Included will contributions from

Bill Speirs Gen Sec of the STUC and Hon. President of Scottish Friends of Palestine
Pauline McNeill MSP Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Palestine
Wael Shawish Chair, Scottish Friends of Palestine
Brian Filling of Deir Yassin Remembered

The massacre of over 100 men, women and children in the Jerusalem village of Deir Yassin took place on the 9th April 1948. Although it was only one of many massacres of Palestinian Arabs which took place at the hands of the Haganah (the precursor of the Israeli Defence Forces) and the Zionist terror groups, the Irgun and the Stern Gang, throughout the fateful year of 1948 – this particular atrocity was a seminal event for the Palestinian people. The atrocity was the spark which ignited the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian from their lands and homes, in search of safety from the engulfing terror.

With the events now unfolding in occupied Palestine, those present at the commemoration will also bear witness to the current terror, suffering and trauma being experienced by Palestinian men,women and children determined to withstand the humiliation and the military might of the occupier. They will bear witness to those who are determined to face the occupier and remain on their land until their rights, enshrined within International law, are realised.

It will also be a message to the British Government which, so far, has failed to demonstrate concern over the carnage – apart from the now familiar blaming of the victim, not the occupier, with Arafat still expected to pull the proverbial rabbit from the hat. It will be a message to our uncharacteristically reticent prime minister, whose head has yet to appear over the international parapet in support of a civilian population, caged into ghettos, and now subjected to an unprecedented military attack and bombardment.

The events at Deir Yassin were, and continue to be, the embodiment of Zionist ideology and practice which strongly resonates in current practices in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Just as today the Palestinians under occupation are rounded up, bound and numbered – a humiliation captured on video and photographed to gratify the appetite of the home audience – likewise in Deir Yassin. Here, survivors were paraded through West Jerusalem, to the delight of many in the crowds, before being slaughtered. Currently the fate of those captured by the occupying forces has yet to be determined but reports already indicate killing in cold blood.

Deir Yassin was one of over 400 Palestinian villages which, with the villagers terrorised into fleeing, were eventually razed to the ground by the nascent Israeli State – the Palestinians very own “Ground Zero”. Today the same villagers and their descendants are waiting to exercise their right of return, their right to restitution and compensation. The message from the savagery of today’s occupying forces is that this right will continue to be refused and, should they wish, the occupying forces will try to implement another bout of ethnic cleansing, leading to tomorrow’s refugees, and a further extension to the Palestinians’ “Ground Zero.”

The reality of the massacre at Deir Yassin, and the many others on the Palestinian calendar, gives lie to the soundbite echoed by Israel’s Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, that the actions of the occupying forces have only to do with “terrorism not territory”.

Just as Deir Yassin had everything to do with acquiring territory, the scenes now being witnessed throughout the occupied West Bank have everything to do with gaining and retaining territory – typified by the 34 newly established settlements since Sharon came to power.

Just as Zionism, then, had no qualms in resorting to terror to achieve its ends, today the world community is witnessing the actions of a rogue state, which pays no regard to accepted international norms, and is prepared to resort to its founding practices to achieve its ends.

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