Deir Yassin deniers insist the massacre at the village of Deir Yassin was only a military action where almost everyone killed was an enemy soldier and no rapes occurred. But after the Zionist militias, the Irgun (IZL) and Lehi (LHI, aka the Stern Gang), fought side-by-side against the village’s defenders, the Jerusalem head of Shai, the Zionist intelligence agency, wrote,
LHI members tell of the barbaric behavior of the IZL toward the prisoners and the dead. They also relate that the IZL men raped a number of Arab girls and murdered them afterward (we don’t know if this is true)
No one lightly accuses their comrades-in-arms of rape. Deniers insist Palestinian stories about rape were propaganda, but they cannot explain why Lehi members would lie about the Irgun. If the Lehi members were lying, the most plausible reason is they also raped and wanted to put the blame on their allies. If no rapes occurred, why would Lehi members invent a charge that hurt the Zionist cause?
The evidence may lie in Israeli military archives that are still classified after seventy-five years. Until those records are made public, we can only assume they stay hidden because they would hurt Israel’s image in the world.
This is what most historians believe:
On April 9, 1948, the primary Zionist militia, Haganah, gave its approval to Irgun and Lehi for an attack on Deir Yassin, a village of about 600 people near Jerusalem. A letter to the New York Times signed by famous American Jews including Hannah Arendt and Albert Einstein shows what everyone originally thought about that day:
A shocking example was [Irgun’s] behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9, terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants — 240 men, women and children — and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan.