Livia Rokach - Israel's sacred terrorism
APPENDIX 2 "And Then There Was Kafr Qasim..."
On the eve of the 1956 Sinai War, Israeli Brigadier Shadmi, the commander of a battalion on the Israeli-Jordanian border, ordered a night curfew imposed on the "minority" (Arab) villages under his command. These villages were inside the Israeli borders; thus, their inhabitants were Israeli citizens. According to the court records (Judgments of the District Court, The Military Prosecutor vs. Major Melinki, et. al.), Shadmi told the commander of a Frontier Guard unit, Major Melinki, that the curfew must be "extremely strict" and that "it would not be enough to arrest those who broke it they must be shot." He added: "A dead man (or according to other evidence 'a few men') is better than the complications of detention."
The court recordings continue:
He (Melinki) informed the assembled officers that the war had begun, that their units were now under the command of the Israeli Defense Army, and that their task was to impose the curfew in the minority villages from 1700 to 0600, after informing the Mukhtars to this effect at 1630. With regard to the observation of the curfew, Melinki emphasized that it was forbidden to harm inhabitants who stayed in their homes, but that anyone found outside his home (or, according to other witnesses, anyone leaving his home, or anyone breaking the curfew) should be shot dead. He added that there were to be no arrests, and that if a number of people were killed in the night (according to other witnesses: it was desirable that a number of people should be killed as) this would facilitate the imposition of the curfew during succeeding nights.
......... While he was outlining this series of orders, Major Melinki allowed the officers to ask him questions. Lieutenant Franknanthal asked him "What do we do with the dead?" (or, according to other witnesses "with the wounded?") Melinki replied: "Take no notice of them" (or, according to other evidence: "They must not be removed," or, according to a third witness: "There will not be any wounded.") Arieh Menches, a section leader, then asked "What about women and children?" to which Melinki replied "No sentimentality" (according to another witness: "They are to be treated like anyone else-, the curfew covers them too.") Menches then asked a second question: "What about people returning from their work?" Here Alexandroni tried to intervene, but Melinki silenced him, and answered: "They are to be treated like anyone else" (according to another witness, he added: "it will be just too bad for them, as the Commander said.")
In the minutes of the meeting which were taken down and signed by Melinki a short time after he signed the series of orders, the following appears:
....As from today, at 1700 hours, curfew shall be imposed in the minority villages until 0600 hours, and all who disobey this order will be shot dead.
After this psychological preparation, and the instructions given to the policemen-soldiers to "shoot to kill all who broke the curfew," the unit went out to the village of Kafr Qasim to start its work:
The first to be shot at the western entrance to the village were four quarrymen returning on bicycles from the places where they worked near Petah Tiqva and Ras al-Ain. A short time after the curfew began these four workmen came round the bend in the road pushing their bicycles. When they had gone some ten to fifteen meters along the road towards the school, they were shot from behind at close range, from the left. Two of the four (Ahmad Mahmud Freij and Ali Othman Taha, both 30 years old) were killed outright. The third (Muhammad Mahmud Freij, brother of Ahmad Freij) was wounded in the thigh and the forearm, while the fourth, Abdullah Samir Badir, escaped by throwing himself to the ground. The bicycle of the wounded man, Ahmad, fell on him and covered his body, and he managed to lie motionless throughout the bloody incidents that took place around him. Eventually he crawled into an olive grove and lay under an olive tree until morning. Abdullah was shot at again when he rolled from the road to the sidewalk, whereupon he sighed and pretended to he dead. After the two subsequent massacres, which took place beside him, he hid himself among a flock of sheep, whose shepherd had been killed, and escaped into the village with the flock. . . .
A short time after this killing a shepherd and his twelve year old son came back from the pasture with their flock. They approached the bend along the road from the Jewish colony of Masha. The flock went along the road as far as the village school, the shepherd throwing stones at sheep that had strayed to turn them back on to the Masha road. Two or three soldiers, standing by the bend, opened fire at close range on the shepherd and his son and killed them. Their names were Othman Abdullah Issa, aged 30, and his son Fathi Othman Abdullah Issa, aged twelve.
Note: The translation of the court proceedings appeared in The Arabs in Israel by Sabri Jiyris (Monthly Review, 1976). Jiyris sums up: "In the first hour of the curfew, between 5 and 6 PM, the men of the Israeli Frontier Guard killed forty-seven Arab citizens in Kafr Qasim."