Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Guardian reported last week:

An investigation into a massacre in a destroyed Palestinian village carried out by Israeli forces in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation has identified three possible mass graves beneath a present-day beach resort.

Palestinian survivors and historians have long claimed that men living in Tantura, a fishing village of approximately 1,500 people near Haifa, were executed after surrendering to the Alexandroni Brigade and their bodies dumped in a mass grave believed to be located under an area that is now a car park for Dor Beach. Estimates have ranged from 40 to 200 people.

In recent years, a growing body of evidence for the Tantura massacre has generated significant controversy in Israel, where atrocities committed by Jewish forces in 1948 remain a highly sensitive subject: an Israeli-made documentary about what happened in the village faced widespread backlash on its release last year.

The extensive new investigation by the research agency Forensic Architecture identifies what it says is a second mass grave site in the former village of Tantura, as well as two more possible locations, in the most comprehensive research yet.
There is a difference between history and conspiracy theory. In legitimate historical research, you start with all the facts that then look for larger historical patterns that the facts lead to. With conspiracy theories, however, you start with the theory, and then look for the facts (or half facts) that support the theory and ignore or disparage anything that contradicts them.

The Forensic Architecture "analysis" of Tantura, like their others, is a conspiracy theory dressed up as scientific research.

Historian Benny Morris has dismantled the Tantura massacre myth, using the tools of a historian. Morris has documented every major event that happened in 1948, including what would be considered war crimes today. In every case the Arab victims and victims of relatives spoke about the events in real time, loudly, to whomever would listen.  Yet, he notes:

If there was a massacre of 200 to 250 people at Tantura, it was the largest of the 1948 massacres. But there is no available document from 1948 that mentions a massacre at Tantura, apart from one document, which I’ll come back to below, that deals with the execution of a handful of Arab prisoners of war on the fringes of the village. Strange, very strange, because all the massacres perpetrated by Jews in 1948 are at least mentioned, if not described, in documents from 1948. These include documents of the Haganah, the main Jewish militia until the end of May 1948, the Israel Defense Forces, the UN (which had observers on the ground from May 1948), the Red Cross (whose officials operated in the country from April 1948), as well as records by the British and the Americans, whose representatives reported from Israel to London and Washington about the wartime events.

Deir Yassin, Burayr, Ein Zeitun, Lod, Hunin, Dawayima, Eilabun, Arab al-Mawasi, Majd al-Kurum, Saliha, Jish, Safsaf, Bi’na-Deir al Asad – the massacres perpetrated by Jews in these places and others are all mentioned in contemporary 1948 documentation, and in some cases are described in detail. Just not Tantura, not one mention.

Not that Haganah/IDF officers ignored Tantura in 1948. Accounts of the battle, the expulsion, the demolition of buildings afterward, all appear in the documents. Just not a massacre. On June 18, during the war’s First Truce, under the supervision of the International Red Cross and the United Nations, more than a thousand refugees from Tantura were transferred in an army convoy to Tulkarm, then under Iraqi army control. A document in the Haganah Archives sums up Arab radio broadcasts of that period (Haganah Information Service, “E.I. [Eretz Israel, Mandatory Palestine], June 21-22, 1948”): “An Arab woman from Tantura… relates that the Jews are raping Arab women and demolishing the place.” But according to the report, the woman did not mention by so much as a word that the Jews also massacred hundreds of her fellow villagers. (A slightly different version of this report states that the woman related that the Jews “raped women in addition to the acts of robbery, theft and arson.” Again, no mention of a massacre). These items were broadcast on Radio Ramallah.

In addition, as far as I was able to discover, the archives of the UN and the Red Cross – whose officials organized and escorted the move of the Tantura refugees to Tulkarm and reported frequently to their headquarters – contain no mention of a massacre at Tantura. Does it stand to reason that among the thousand deportees, who were no longer under Jewish control, not one bothered to tell the Iraqi officers or the UN and Red Cross officials that, by the way, they had endured a horrific massacre of their fathers, brothers, sons, as described by Katz and Schwarz and their supporters? It is simply inconceivable, if a large-scale massacre that they had eyewitnessed or at least heard about had indeed occurred.
Morris admits that there is evidence that the Israeli troops killed between 8-10 snipers in the village. That's it. No civilians. 

He brings plenty of other evidence that the modern blood libel is false and that the current "researchers" are knowingly lying.

Forensic Architecture, however, is looking for a huge massacre. And when you start from that perspective, just like with 9/11 "truthers" or Holocaust deniers, it is easy to find "evidence" that fits your preconceived notions.

In this case, the entirety of the "evidence" they discovered are two shadows in 1949 aerial photos that they didn't see in 1947 photos.

According to them, the only possible explanation for these shadows are that they are man-made earth mounds that would be the site of mass graves. They even do some helpful math:

We believe that if bodies were laid shoulder to shoulder and oriented northwards in a single layer, there could be around seventy bodies under a mound of this size. Were the bodies to be layered on top of each other, as one testimony suggests, the total number could be double that, up to approximately 140 bodies. Thus, our assessment is that the total number of bodies contained in a mass grave site such as this would be in the range of seventy to 140.

... As we did with Earthwork 1, we used the measurements of the mound to calculate the likely number of bodies which could be buried there. Our assessment is that the total number of bodies in a mass grave of this size is in the range of forty to eighty.
Ta-da! Shadows have now become proof of the murder of 240 people, coincidentally the highest amount that people made up fifty years after the event!

At times, FA doesn't even pretend that they are merely guessing. In this diagram, they refer to the supposed earth mound they claim the shadows indicate definitively as a mass grave, no questions asked:

So what if decades of research since this "Tantura massacre" allegation first appear in the 1990s have not uncovered the name of a single victim? We have shadows! 

It's science!

There are two years between the two photographs they are comparing. As is obvious, there are other changes between the 1947 and 1949 photos besides these shadows - new buildings and roads being built. Israel did move quickly in 1948 to build new villages to house immigrants, and Tantura was one of the spots where there was building activity (Palestine Post, August 2, 1948).

All of those require moving earth. 

The Nachsholim settlement was built there.

But Forensic Architecture knows that those shadows were created on May 24 or 25, 1948, and not in the months before or afterwards. How? 

Because, like all conspiracy theorists, they aren't considering any other possibility, and will not admit that any other theory is possible.

Let's say that they are correct and that these faint lines really represent two long 85 centimeter high earth mounds. What could be the reason?

Maybe the animals in the village who were not being fed died and needed to be buried. Maybe the graves of the snipers really are there and there are only 10 or so people buried separated by three meters out of respect. Maybe the kibbutzniks decided to build a fence between the trees and the field and cleared the area with a bulldozer. Maybe the leftover earth cleared for the new buildings and road was, for some reason, deposited on the edge of the field perhaps as a marker. Maybe there was a garbage dump that was attracting insects or animals that needed to be buried. 

The point is that when you only are willing to accept the most obscene explanation at the outset, you aren't engaging in research - you are just looking for proof of a conspiracy theory. 

And only antisemites would assume that the most likely explanation for two shadows is the existence of mass graves that contain some 240 people murdered by Jews whom no one can name and whom no one heard about until 50 years later.

No amount of 3D reconstruction can make up for the fact that the "researchers" at Forensic Architecture are anti-Israel bigots who consistently start their "research" with their conclusion and then connect the dots to reach it after the fact. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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