Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution 1.5


Remembering Deir Yassin: The Future of Israel and Palestine, edited by Daniel McGowan and Marc H. Ellis.

1998. Olive Branch Press. 150pp.



Remembering Deir Yassin is a book, an organization (Deir Yassin Remembered), and a goal of many Israelis and Palestinians who believe that only through reconciliation with the past can the troubles of today be remedied.

On 9 April 1948, a group of guerillas from the Irgun and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a small Palestinian village. The result was much destruction of property and at least 100 Palestinian deaths. This book argues that remembrance of this massacre is important both for the victors and the victims.

To commemorate the fifty-year anniversary of the event and bring attention to the necessary conciliation of Palestinians and Israelis, this collection of essays was released. It contains works by Christians, Jews, Muslims, Palestinians, and Israelis with a variety of interpretations of the massacre and thoughts for the future.

The book is divided into two sections, the first examining the history of the massacre and the second looking at its implications for the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations. The historical evidence and analysis is to be commended. Instead of providing a black and white picture of the events of 9 April, the essays present a variety of perspectives. Neither are all Israelis evil nor all Palestinians free from blame. For example, Marc Ellis describes Jews from a nearby village who tried to stop the massacre. The most overtly political essay in the first section is by Fuad Bassim Nijim and concerns the movement to produce a memorial to the victims of Deir Yassin on a hilltop across from Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Memorial. The second section includes essays about the future from Jewish, Arab, Christian, and humanistic perspectives.

Remembering Deir Yassin builds a quality foundation for further work about the massacre fifty years ago, but its appeal is not limited to the historian, Israeli, or Palestinian. This book is about the complicated, yet necessary, process by which groups can transcend their history without ignoring or forgetting it. Ultimately, this may be the only way group identities and limited geographic space will not always be a recipe for strife and conflict.



Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Deir Yassin Remembered Daniel McGowen
Chapter 2 Remembering Deir Yassin: A Reflection on Memory and Justice Marc H. Ellis
Chapter 3 The End of Innocence Salma Khadra Jayyusi
Chapter 4 Jewish Eye-Witness Meir Pa'il
Chapter 5 Assault and Massacre Shelia Cassidy
Chapter 6 The Surviving Children of Deir Yassin Pat McDonnell Twair
Chapter 7 A Memorial Landscape Design for Deir Yassin Fuad Bassin Nijim
Chapter 8 The Last Memorials to Atrocities in the Holy Land Rami Khouri
Chapter 9 On the New Diaspora: A Jewish Meditation on the Future of Isreal/Palestine Marc H. Ellis
Chapter 10 Toward an Arab-Jewish Humanism Muhammad Hallaj
Chapter 11 Christianity and the Future of Israeli-Palestinian Relations Rosemary Radford Ruether
Chapter 12 A Vision for a Palestinian Future Souad Dajani