The Israeli government is systematically destroying any evidence of how Jews ethnically cleansed Palestine of Palestinians during the foundation of the state of Israel to support the false narrative that the Arabs “left of their own accord,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has admitted.
An investigative piece published by Haaretz has revealed the extent of the measures taken by Israeli security forces to bury the history of their war crimes against Palestinians. In 1987, headed by Yehiel Horev, the Israeli military department Malmab (a Hebrew acronym for “Director of Security for the Defence Establishment”) began removing ‘sensitive’ documents from public archives.
According to the report, the department’s official aim is to remove sensitive information about Israel’s nuclear programme from public archives, but it has emerged that Malmab has also removed hundreds of documents relating to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba, that had previously been declassified.
During the Nakba, 800,000 Palestinian people were forcefully evacuated from their homes and became refugees. The Israeli government’s official account of these events maintains that the Palestinian people chose to emigrate, encouraged by Arab politicians and leaders.
Malmab has been removing any documents that counter this official narrative from public archives, deeming them a ‘security threat’.
Haaretz found that Malmab has removed accounts of IOF generals about the massacres of civilians and the demolition of villages, as well as evidence of the expulsion of Bedouin communities during Israel’s early years of statehood.
One example of a document that has been removed from public archives is a series of interviews conducted in the early 2000s with former Israeli military figures by the Yitzhak Rabin Center.
Haaretz compares the versions of these interviews that are now publically available with the originals. They find large sections to be missing. This missing segment from an interview that historian Boaz Lev Tov conducted with Maj. Gen. Elad Peled, is particularly shocking:
Peled: “Look, let me tell you something even less nice and cruel, about the big raid in Sasa [Palestinian village in Upper Galilee]. The goal was actually to deter them, to tell them, ‘Dear friends, the Palmach [the Haganah “shock troops”] can reach every place, you are not immune.’ That was the heart of the Arab settlement. But what did we do? My platoon blew up 20 homes with everything that was there.”
Lev Tov: “While people were sleeping there?”
Peled: “I suppose so. What happened there, we came, we entered the village, planted a bomb next to every house, and afterward Homesh blew on a trumpet, because we didn’t have radios, and that was the signal [for our forces] to leave. We’re running in reverse, the sappers stay, they pull, it’s all primitive. They light the fuse or pull the detonator and all those houses are gone.
Another document removed by Malmab is a 1948 Israeli military intelligence paper titled ‘the emigration of the Arabs of Palestine’, written by an officer of Shia, the precursor to Shin Bet.
The lengthy document intricately describes the ethnic cleansing of 219 villages and four cities. It lists the six principle reasons for Palestinians fleeing their homes: (1) “Direct Jewish acts of hostility against Arab places of settlement.” (2) the impact of these acts of hostility on neighbouring villages (3) operations by breakaway [Israeli terror organisations]”, particularly the Irgun and Lehi gangs (4) orders issued by Palestinian institutions and leaders (5) “Jewish ‘whispering operations’ to induce the Arab inhabitants to flee” (6) “evacuation ultimatums.”
He estimates that 70 percent of the Palestinian refugees fled their homes as a direct consequence of Jewish military operations.
Haaretz interviewed Yehiel Horev, who headed Malmab for more than two decades, about the archives project. He told Haaretz that exposing the truth about 1948 could ‘generate unrest among the country’s Arab population’.
Many of the documents have already been published by the ‘New Historians’, but Horev hopes their removal will discredit these histories and undermine studies of Palestinian refugees. Other Israeli proponents of censorship argue that uncovering these facts could weaken Israel’s foreign relations, and result in Israel being tried for war crimes.