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PA history museum “draws pictures of massacres” because there are “no pictures or documents to connect to them”

Official PA TV program Palestine This Morning, interview with Director of the Yasser Arafat Museum Muhammad Halayqa

Director of the Yasser Arafat Museum Muhammad Halayqa: “There are many pictures of the [Palestinian] suffering. I will give a small example, the Palestinians have experienced many massacres, and there are perhaps dozens. Some of them are documented, and some of them are undocumented, but we do not have one picture related to them. That is to say, there are general pictures, but we cannot say that this picture is of the massacre at Deir Yassin, or Qibya, or Tantur (apparently refers to Tantura; see notes below -Ed.).”

Official PA TV host: “General pictures.”

Muhammad Halayqa: “Pictures or documents that are related. However, in actuality, the massacres and mass murders occurred, but there is nothing to connect between them and documents, pictures, films, and such.

Perhaps they exist somewhere. In other words, perhaps the Israelis are keeping them, but we Palestinians do not have pictures and documents regarding these massacres, as we are talking about the Nakba (i.e., “the catastrophe,” the Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel) and the uprooting of the Palestinians. This is an example of one of the problems we have run into at the Yasser Arafat Museum while covering this section. It was not easy. Therefore we expressed [the massacres] through drawing [and] artistic creation that hint at these massacres.”

Deir Yassin - On April 9, 1948, Jewish fighters from the Irgun and Lehi military groups, part of the forces opening the blockaded road to Jerusalem, attacked the Arab village of Deir Yassin. When the battle was over, the village had fallen and in addition to the Arab fighters killed, 107 civilians were also killed. Narratives differ as to whether the civilians were killed in the crossfires or were intentionally murdered by the Irgun and Lehi fighters.

Qibya – On Oct. 14, 1953, a special Israeli cross-border counter-terror unit, Unit 101, led by Commander Ariel Sharon, carried out an operation in Qibya in Jordan, in response to an attack the previous day in which Jordanian terrorists infiltrated the border and murdered an Israeli woman and 2 children in Tiryat Yehuda with a grenade, and following hundreds of cross-border attacks since 1949 in which at least 124 Israelis had been murdered. In the counter-terror operation in Qibya, Unit 101 destroyed 50 homes with explosives, killing 69 Jordanian civilians who were hiding in the houses. Sharon reported that his forces were unaware of their presence.

Tantura - During Israel’s War of Independence, the Israeli army carried out an operation to take control of the Arab village of Tantura on the northern Israeli coast, which was serving as a port through which Arab fighters were receiving weapons and reinforcements from Lebanon. In addition, forces from Tantura were blocking the Tel Aviv - Haifa road and attacking Israeli vehicles. During the battle, on May 22-23, 1948, 70 of Tantura’s residents were killed, after which most of the residents left for the neighboring Arab villages, primarily Fureidis. What exactly happened in Tantura is the subject of debate. Some claim there was a massacre; others claim there was a “transfer” or “expulsion” of Arabs. On the other hand, a record in the Israeli army archives refutes that a massacre took place, and likewise, a report on the battle in the book "Al-Tantura," written by Yahya Mahmoud, a son of one of the village’s families, does not mention a massacre, and mentions that actually 52 residents were killed in the battle.