Dear Messrs Hague and Burt,
Early on the morning of Friday April 9th 1948, the beautiful Arab village of Deir Yassin on the west side of Jerusalem was attacked by commandos of the Irgun and the Stern Gang. More than 100 men, women and children were systematically killed.
Within a year the village had been repopulated with orthodox Jewish immigrants from Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Its cemetery was bulldozed and its name wiped off the map. The massacre at Deir Yassin marked the beginning of the depopulation of more than 400 Arab villages and the exile of more than 700,000 Palestinians.
To this day, the “Jewish and Democratic” state of Israel refuses to recognise this massacre and this destruction, all those which followed in 1948 and to this day in 2013.
When are you going to take real action to bring justice to the Palestinians: help them to return to their native towns and villages and recover their stolen lands?
Mrs CJ Cameron
To: The Independent
Last week, the Holocaust Education Trust sent a group of impressionable young people to the Holocaust museum situated at Yad Vashem (Article, 29/07/13). Hannah Lewis, a Holocaust survivor talks about the horrors, the evil “that could never happen again”. Yet in April 1948, three years after the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945, members of the Jewish Irgun, Stern Gang and Palmach, shot 100 Palestinians to death in cold blood in the peaceful village of Deir Yassin, which was destroyed and soon repopulated by orthodox Jewish immigrants, its cemetery was bulldozed and it was wiped off the map. There is no memorial to this massacre which marks the start of the exile of some 750,000 Palestinians, thousands of deaths and the destruction of 400 villages. Yad Vashem is situated a mile and a half from Deir Yassin but the visitors are never told that “it happened again” and that the people who called themselves victims became the torturers. After 65 years, there has been no reparation and there is no end to Palestinian suffering.
(A lesson in genocide, 29/07/13)
Following this email from Deir Yassin Remembeered, Dorothea Jessup wrote to the Archbishop - and received a reply.
ollowing this email from Deir Yassin Remembeered, Dorothea Jessup wrote to the Archbishop - and received a reply.
The Most Revd. and Rt.Hon. Justin Welby
I believe that in June this year you visited the Jewish Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem.
I should be grateful if you could inform me if you also visited Deir Yassin, 1500 metres away; Deir Yassin being the Arab village where, on 9th April 1948, members of the Irgun and Stern Gangs massacred over 100 men, women and children; this massacre marking the beginning of the destruction of over 400 Palestinian villages and the exile of more than 700,000 Palestinians. Within a year Deir Yassin had been re-populated with Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Poland,Romania and Slovakia, its cemetery bulldozed, and its name erased from the map. I would be very glad to know that you did visit Deir Yassin.
I write as a committed Christian, a lifelong Anglican, and as one who for many years has been, and is, appalled by the terrible injustices wrought upon Palestinians by the Occupation; I am often deeply grieved by our church’s failure to speak out against these terrible wrongs.
Yours in Christ,
Dear Ms Jessop
Thank you very much for your email to Archbishop Justin, to which he has asked me to reply on his behalf.
As I am sure you will appreciate the Archbishop’s visit was restricted to five days during which he visited Egypt and the Holy Land, therefore he was not able to visit all the places he would have wanted to. The Archbishop was not able on this occasion to visit other parts of the West Bank such as Bethlehem due to a tight schedule, but this is of course only his first visit to the region as Archbishop. Contrary to some media reports the Archbishop spent two days with Palestinian Christians from Jerusalem, Ramallah and various places in the West Bank, including Bethlehem. He was the guest of the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Revd Suheil Dawani and stayed with him in East Jerusalem. His engagements included the opening of an Anglican diabetes clinic in Ramallah, joining local clergy to pray at the adjoining St Andrew’s Church and attending a reception at the Peace Garden at St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem where local Christian leaders from different denominations were represented.
Archbishop Justin has visited the Holy Land many times before last week’s visit forming his first as Archbishop. He does, as you do, have genuine concerns for the peace and dignity of all the peoples of the region in the present and in the future, and it was for this reason that it was his first major international visit.
The Archbishop is wholly aware of the issues you raise and met with leadership from both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with religious leaders Jewish, Christian and Muslim and with volunteers working for peace. (Full coverage of this can be read on the Archbishop’s website here: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5091/archbishop-justin-opens-flagship-anglican-diabetes-clinic-in-ramallah and here http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5089/seeing-our-shared-humanity-is-the-way-to-peace-says-archbishop-justin-in-jerusalem.)
Reconciliation is a key focus of the Archbishop’s ministry and he will continue to strive and pray for peace and understanding not only in the Middle East but in other troubled areas of the world.
Thank you again for writing to the Archbishop. He appreciates your taking the time to write to him.
Correspondence Secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Palace, London, SE1 7JU,