Unpublished letter in the New York Times: “To the Editor,
Your obituary of George Habash (January 27, 2008) ignored the most formative experience of the man’s life: the 1948 Lydd Death March, as survivors call it. Although the mostly Christian village was within the boundaries of the “Arab state” called for in the November 1947 UN partition of Palestine, the Israeli Hagannah occupied it in July 1948. Palestinian sources state that 426 men, women, and children were killed during the assault. According to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, Israeli soldiers then forced the surviving residents into exile at gunpoint. On July 14th, the soldiers gathered Lydd residents from their homes, stripped them of all their belongings and marched about 50,000 of them into the West Bank. With no water, many died in the forced march under the July sun. The survivors were never to return. Anyone who tried was called an “infiltrator” and shot dead on sight.
PS By the way, the name of the author who sent it to me is Asa, and is not my name. I just withheld his last name.