Talk:Killings and massacres during the 1948 Palestine war

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Scope of this article[edit]

During the 1948-9 war, there were many battles in which a significant number of combatants were killed. The lead paragraph of this article, and almost all of the content, suggests that such battles are not appropriate for this page. Does anyone want to argue otherwise? Zerotalk 04:45, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps the lead can be made more explicit. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 05:10, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
I think that the deaths resulting from battles (KIA soldiers) are not appropriate for this article and should not be referred to as 'massacres'.
That is also the principle that is used by Benny Morris is his book '1948' and what justifies this article. The 'massacres' (of civil and unarmed soldiers) that occured during the 1948 wars is a relevant topic that deserves an article in wikipedia because they have had consequences (on the exodus and on the historiography of the events). The difference to make between a 'battle' and a 'massacre' is also supported by historians in the article (Morris again but Picaudou and Millstein also argues this.)
What is your concern with this ? Do you see some POV or do you think some battles are particularly relevant in the same context ? Pluto2012 (talk) 14:21, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
No, I think battles should be excluded. Otherwise the list would become very much longer and the point of the article would be lost. Only incidents that are credibly arguable to be massacres, or at least "collatoral damage", should be included. That means, for example, that the Convoy of 35 does not belong here (all sides call it a battle and only soldiers were killed). Zerotalk 11:44, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Concur with Zero. A set 'battle' is one thing. No one calls casualties and fatalities in an armed conflict conducted in a war between two sides killings or massacres. The latter occur when unarmed, disarmed soldiers, or non-combatants die directly as a consequence of a decision or act which kills people threats from whom have been neutralized. These are defined quite specifically in the rules of war and in the protocols parties to a conflict are obliged by international law to respect.Nishidani (talk) 12:08, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
That is also my mind. (I removed yechiam convoy some days ago.) But I wonder if prisonners were not killed after the battle of the convoy of the 35 (?) Pluto2012 (talk) 17:38, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Both sides agree that they "fought to the last man". No prisoners were taken. Zerotalk 23:37, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Revert war regarding Benny Morris[edit]

As I said in the edit summary, this is an issue of style (WP:MOS) and style only. Article body text needs to be able to stand on its own, without mandating looking at the references. The following text:

As regards massacres and attacks against Arabs, "Yishuv troops probably murdered some 800 civilians and prisoners of war".[1]

is bad style, because it is unclear where the quote is coming from. Moreover the whole passage reads more like a newspaper article than an encyclopedia. If you don't want to mention Morris here, please edit the passage in a way that it paraphrases Morris, instead of including a direct quote.

Ynhockey (Talk) 10:20, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

It can be paraphrased. That is not an issue.
But it is not true that it would be a badstyle or that it is unclear where the quote could come from. It comes from the references given at the end of the sentence. That is done that way in several historical books. Pluto2012 (talk) 17:45, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Ynhockey. I think the last edit may have resolved the issue.
When I've seen it done in books, Pluto2012, it's usually clear from context who's being quoted. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 19:20, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
How about just making it so its not a direct quote? nableezy - 19:23, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
I have paraphrased.
It is obvious per NPoV that Morris is not to be named here at the contrary of the next paragraph in the article where it must absolutely be named because there are different pov's on the topic.
In an encyclopaedia where we report the different minds on a topic (per wp:npov), the more accurately possible (when the topic is sensitive and per 2nd pillar : verifiability) but where we are tight to copyright rules (1st pillar), providing short quotes is the best solutions to report facts and analysis.
Pluto2012 (talk) 20:02, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
I edited what you wrote. If you're going to paraphrase, you can't just change one or two words. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 20:07, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Ok. Much better than what I had done. Pluto2012 (talk) 18:57, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Revert of sourced information[edit]

The fact that the combatants killed in the Kfar Etzion massacre were local villagers with added Haganah fighters is sourced and is mentioned in two related Wikipedia articles. My fellow editor Fredrico1234 reverted my edit specifying this saying that the sources I gave are unreliable. Likewise, Zero0000 left a message on my talkpage regarding one of the sources.

In my opinion, both sources are reliable, and the information true. However, since two of my fellow editors seem to disagree, and in view of the sensitivity of this page, I think it is a good idea to ask the opinion of more editors. And perhaps somebody can find an even better source.

Source #1,, is maintained by a regional NGO which studies the history of the region involved. I see no reason to doubt their reliability.

Source #2,, says on its About page: "Zionism & Israel Center is maintained by a group of volunteers" and "We try to maintain the highest standards of academic and journalistic integrity in our work." It may not have the standards of the National Geographic, e.g., but I see no reason to call it outright unreliable. Debresser (talk) 10:00, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Oh come on, claims to be, and is, a self-published website dedicated to Israeli advocacy. Of course it is unacceptable; any "group of volunteers" can claim to maintain high standards (and I'm really surprised to see someone with your experience claiming that some "group of volunteers" are a reliable source). is not an independent third party but a settler organization with a vested interest. They might be notable enough for an attributed opinion but they don't satisfy WP:RS for statements of fact. You can take these to WP:RSN if you like but you won't get anywhere because they are rather routine examples. There are heaps of high quality history books on this subject, why do we need such dross? As for the issue, of course some of the defenders were local residents and some were hagana people who had been sent there. Nobody denies that but it doesn't make them non-combatants. Everyone unable to fight, including all the children and many of the women, had been evacuated. Those remaining were fighters. None of the good histories, as far as I am aware, allege that any of the people there were other than combatants. It is credibly called a "massacre" only on account of the claim (probably true) that many were killed after surrendering. Zerotalk 10:15, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
What Zero0000 says is correct (and obvious).
Except in very very particular cases, no website can be a wp:rs source for articles dealing with historical events dating back more than 50 years. Pluto2012 (talk) 12:12, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
First of all, there is no such rule that interested parties can not be reliable sources. Secondly, that "group of volunteers" may be comprised of knowledgeable people of academic repute, for all you know, so I again see no immediate reason to disqualify them. And the most strange thing is that when Zero0000 changed "Civilians" to "Combatants" he gave no source whatsoever, while when I specify that those combatants were part the local villagers and part additional Haganah troops, which is -s ourced or unsourced - a fact, and I DO add sources, my edit is being reverted. Now that is something that I would like to see explained. Debresser (talk) 18:08, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
You can't keep a source on the basis that it might be reliable. The principle of verifiability implies the opposite, that the reliability must be checkable. Incidentally I have no objection to a formulation like "combatants (residents and Hagana soldiers)". Zerotalk 22:24, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Assuming that what is claimed on the website is correct, it should be easy to find academic sources that confirm this... And that would solve the issue.
Be sure that Zero0000, I or other would bring them if we knew them.
Gush Etzion's civilians were evacuated a few weeks before the events. There were only fighters. Pluto2012 (talk) 08:59, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the best thing would be another good source. I, unfortunately, also do not have one. I would gladly agree with "combatants (residents and Hagana soldiers)", as Zero0000 proposed. Which is almost the same as the text that was reverted. But Pluto2012, you claim that would not be true? Debresser (talk) 16:18, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi Debresser,
I think that I understand the misunderstanding.
On 19 November 1947, general conscription had been decided for all men and women between 18 and 25. On 5 April, it is all men and women between 17 and 40 who had been called to conscription. Yishuv was at war. Gush Etzion had been evacuated from the others.
Haganah was divided into mobile and fixed units. At Gush Etzion, fixed units of the "residents" had been reinforced by soldiers from Harel or Etzioni brigades. Pluto2012 (talk) 17:11, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
So you would also agree with "combatants (residents and Hagana soldiers)"? By hte way, perhaps you have a source for that information you just provided? Debresser (talk) 20:59, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi Debresser, I agree with Zero0000's proposal. I didn't oppose to this.
I am sure of what I state but I cannot tell you where precisely I read this. And anyway, that should not be in this article. (5 April is the beginning of Nachshon operation and the start of the second phase of the civil war.) Pluto2012 (talk) 07:41, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

"Against Jews of Palestine" section - Inaccuracies[edit]

The last lines of Against Jews of Palestine are dealing with mainly Morris and Gelber views , regarding the Arabs aims. The text is poorly written, with an error, and does not reflect Morris opinion as is. ( I have yet to check Gelber) The text does not deal with the more important aspect- How the Yishuv understood the threats at real time- but elaborate on a secondary important aspect- What do we know nowadays about the Arabs aims.

This text is much larger than the primary content - the first lines (the Arabs threats ) which does not make sense.

In my opinion:

  • The first lines (the threats) should be extended.
  • we should add how the Yishuv understood the threats at real time.
  • the last lines should be fixed or even deleted. Ykantor (talk) 20:36, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

This article is about killings and massacres. Not about threats. We must try not to expand every article in the Israeli-Palestine area to be about the entire conflict. Zerotalk 20:52, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

The section length may stay the same, while extending the first lines ( threats) and removing the last lines (mainly as it seen nowadays). Ykantor (talk) 06:47, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
Ykantor : "The text does not deal with the more important aspect- How the Yishuv understood the threats at real time (...)"
The text : "(...) [Benny Morris] argues that the Yishuv was indeed threatened with extinction and feared what would happen if the Arabs won"
Pluto2012 (talk) 05:27, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • In my opinion the text:"argues that the Yishuv was indeed threatened with extinction" is redundant, as the threats are directly quoted.
  • Morris 2008 p. 397:"The Yishuv’s war aim, initially, was simpler and more modest: to survive; to weather the successive onslaughts, by the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab states. The Zionist leaders deeply, genuinely, feared a Middle Eastern reenactment of the Holocaust, which had just ended; the Arabs’ public rhetoric reinforced these fears.". But the article mild text says "feared what would happen if the Arabs won". Ykantor (talk) 06:47, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Per WP:V, the primary sources (quotes from Arabs) are never enough and at the contrary of what you think, the comments made by the historian, ie the secondary source is not redundant but in fact the main point and most important point. Else, it is WP:OR. More, this sentence provides the information that you claim was missing. What you say is not understandable.
  • The source that is provided is Benny Morris (2004), p.589-590 where it is written :
"the Pan-Arab invasion (...) threathened the Yishuv with extinction" and "(...) and the Yishuv's fears of what would happen should the Arabs win (...)"
The text is :
"(...) [Benny Morris] argues that the Yishuv was indeed threatened with extinction and feared what would happen if the Arabs won".
But anyway, the meaning is the same as what is written in Morris (2008) p.397.
  • Regarding your claim "the article has POV and "dubious" problems |reason=p.396 does not say that"), did you read or check ? The source (Morris (2008) p.396) says :
"The picture of Arab aims was always more complex than Zionist historiography subsequently made out. The chief cause of that complexity was that (...) was generally skeptical of the Arab's ability to defeat (...) the Yishuv"
and the text is :
"According to the Israeli traditional historiography, these statements reflected the Arab intentions. While Benny Morris considers the real picture of the Arab aims to be more complex, notably because they were well aware they could not defeat the Jews (...)"
Pluto2012 (talk) 07:29, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • In my opinion the text:"argues that the Yishuv was indeed threatened with extinction" is redundant, as the threats are quotes of a wp:rs. So there is no need to repeat it later.
  • The tag "dubious" is attached to the end of "because they were well aware they could not defeat the Jews" since it is not mentioned in the indicated page.
  • The text: "feared what would happen if the Arabs won". You are right that it refers to the aspect of "How the Yishuv understood the threats at real time", and I wrongly said that it is missing. However, although it is correct, it fall short of the fear of repeating the Holocaust (see my previous Morris p. 397 quote). Ykantor (talk) 20:02, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Point 2 : you write that "it is not mentioned in the indicated page" that "because they were well aware they could not defeat the Jews". It is written here : "The chief cause of that complexity was that (...) was generally skeptical of the Arab's ability to defeat (...) the Yishuv".
  • Your point 1 states that mentioning the "Yishuv was threatened with extinction" is redundant and your point 3 states that we should mention the "fear of repeating the holocaust".
I cannot understand.
Pluto2012 (talk) 20:04, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Change "War" to lower case letters[edit]

"War" in the main article's title (1948 Palestine war) has lower case letters so I think this article's title should change to that too. --IRISZOOM (talk) 14:58, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree. Why don't you just go ahead and move it? That can't be a controversial move. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 19:21, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
I moved it now. However, a template is left but I will go forward with this issue. --IRISZOOM (talk) 04:38, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Great. The template was moved. I also moved List of battles and operations in the 1948 Palestine war. --IRISZOOM (talk) 10:10, 6 January 2014 (UTC)