Deir Yassin Remembered, September 24, 2003

On September 24, 2003, the first memorial to Deir Yassin in the US was dedicated. The memorial commemorates the massacre of over 100 Palestinian Arab civilians by Jewish forces at Deir Yassin near Jerusalem on April 9, 1948. Deir Yassin was a signal event of the war that established Israel and precipitated the Nakba, the expulsion and dispossession of around 750,000 Palestinians. The memorial, located on the shores of Seneca Lake at Geneva in upstate New York, was developed by the Deir Yassin Remembered project, the work of Issam Nashashibi, Dan McGowan and others. Tragically, Issam Nashashibi died on August 28, a few weeks before the dedication. His widow Margaret Nashashibi spoke at the dedication. The links and text below are an appreciation of Issam Nashashibi, and news stories and pictures from the dedication.

Issam Nashashibi, 1951-2003

Al Jazeera, Dedication of the First Deir Yassin Memorial in the United States

Israelis, Palestinians, Americans mark 1948 attack on Arabs
By The Associated Press
September 25, 2003

GENEVA, New York - A 1948 attack by a Jewish militia on an Arab village drew an unlikely cast of visitors Wednesday to this small town in rural New York.

A group of Palestinians, Israelis and Americans dedicated a bronze statue of an uprooted olive tree to mark the attack that killed more than 100 Arabs in Deir Yassin, in what is now Israel.

In the struggle for Middle East peace, "it's very disturbing when one side's history is systematically ignored," said Daniel McGowan, who launched Deir Yassin Remembered in 1994. "It would be like nobody wanting to talk about the Holocaust when you talked about Jews."

The attack on April 9, 1948, killed anywhere from 108 to 254 villagers - the number is still debated - and accelerated Israeli expropriation of land.

Nazeeha Asad, who was 6 years old at the time of the attack, saw her 85-year-old grandmother killed by a bullet in the forehead as she carried her 2-year-old grandson, Omar, who also died. In all, 37 of her relatives were killed, said Asad, who did not attend the dedication.

"These people were very, very dear to me," said Asad, now 61 and living in East Brunswick, New Jersey. "To see all of them dead and all covered in blood in front of my eyes, how can you imagine?"

About 40 people attended the dedication at a lakeshore property that McGowan owns. McGowan said he hopes to persuade the Knesset to put up a memorial at the site of the village.

The Israeli Consulate in New York did not return calls seeking comment on the group's work.


The Memorial, by Khalil Bendib

Memorial plaque

The Memorial

Dan McGowan, professor of economics at Hobart and William Smith College, Geneva.

Margaret Nashashibi

Sister Miriam Ward, RSM On the Palestinian Right of Return

Randa Hamwa Duwaji, reading her poetry.

Farouq and Karem with Rabbi Dovid Weiss and colleagues from Neturei Karta

Karem, Dan and Margaret

Alec and Karem, close friends of Issam and Margaret

Margaret, Henry, friend, Abdeen Jabara

Karem, Farouq and Henry, en route with Harry from Ann Arbor.

Karem's choice of hotel, next to the memorial site on the lake.

Henry's choice of hotel