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Eilabun massacre

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The Eilabun massacre was committed by soldiers of Israel Defense Forces during Operation Hiram on 30 October 1948. A total of 14 men from the Palestinian Christian village of Eilabun (Eilaboun) were killed, 14 of them executed by the Israeli forces after the village had surrendered.The remaining villagers were expelled to Lebanon,[1] living as refugees for some months before being allowed to return.[1]

It was one of the few Arab villages to which most of the displaced were eventually able to return.[2] The Massacre was documented by the documentary film Sons of Eilaboun by Hisham Zreiq, a film based upon the events as told by the villagers.


After a battle outside the village in which six Israeli soldiers were injured and four Israeli armoured cars were destroyed, a battle that was part of Operation Hiram, the Golani Brigade's 12th Battalion, entered the village on 30 October 1948 and the population surrendered. Villagers flew white flags[3] and were escorted by four local priests. Most of the villagers were hiding in two churches. The soldiers were angered by a procession that had taken place in the village a month earlier, in which the heads of two decapitated Israeli soldiers, missing after an attack on a nearby hillside, had been displayed.[4]

About fifty-two villagers were left in Eliabun, mainly the elderly and children. The village priests complained bitterly about the expulsion of the villagers and demanded their return. Following a United Nations investigation and pressure from the Vatican, the villagers eventually managed to secure their return within six months. Most of the population managed to return from Lebanon, and all the men were released from the POW camps.

The event was documented in a report by the United Nations observers.[5] In 1983 the victims were commemorated by a memorial monument adjacent to the Christian cemetery in Eilabun. A second monument commemorating the massacre was built in 1998 but it was soon vandalized and practically effaced.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b "المجزرة والتهجير" The Massacre and the Displacement. eilaboun.muni.il. 30 October 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Morris, p. 110.
  3. ^ Morris, p. 475.
  4. ^ Morris, pp. 479, 499 (note 107). The story of the two decapitated soldiers also appears in narratives of the Arab al-Mawasi massacre, which occurred on November 2, 1948. The two soldiers went missing in the attack on 'Outpost 213' on September 12. Israeli intelligence reports attributed their mutilation to the 'Arab al-Mawasi tribe, and reported that one head was taken to Eilabun and the other to Maghar.
  5. ^ Palumbo, p. 164. Citing the United Nations Archives 13/3.3.1, box 11, a document entitled "Atrocities September–November." On p. 165, there is a sketch of the village rendered by Captain Zeuty showing where the victims were killed and where they were buried.
  6. ^ Sorek, pp. 102-104