"In An Unprecedented Step,
British PM Blair Acknowledges
the Massacre at Deir Yassin"
Prominent Britons, Including Rabbis,
By Elias Nassrallah
Published by Asharq Al Awsat, London, UK, on 20 March 2001, Page 2, Col 1
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London ó In an unprecedented step for the British Government, the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair sent his best wishes to an event to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and commemorate the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre, which was committed by Zionist gangs.
The event organizers had invited the British Prime Minster to attend their April 1, 2001, commemoration at Londonís Peacock Theatre. At the event, prominent British and Arab poets and artists will participate in commemorating this horrendous massacre. In addition to the remembering the victims of the massacre of the west Jerusalem village of Deir Yassin, the event participants will express their solidarity with the Palestinian people who were evicted from their homes in 1948 by the Israelis in a premeditated campaign.
Mr. Paul Eisen, the Deir Yassin Remembered UK Director, received the Prime Ministerís response in a letter in which the PMís private Secretary, Anna Wechsberg, stated, "The Prime Minister was grateful for your kind invitation, but regrets that due to his existing diary commitments, he will not be able to attend the commemoration on 1 April."
Ms. Wechsberg added that "he has however asked me to pass on his good wishes for the event."
The Deir Yassin massacre occurred on April 9, 1948, during the British mandate on Palestine, which ended, by a UN resolution, on May 15, 1948. During that period, the British Government was severely
criticized for its role while others accused it of direct responsibility for the massacre that occurred during the British Governmentís tenure.
Moreover, some Israeli historians wrote, based on recently unclassified Zionist documents, that the massacre was part of a deliberate premeditated operation to evict the Palestinian people from Palestine by
conducting a series of massacres to frighten the Palestinians into fleeing their homeland. As a result of such an operation, about one million Palestinians were evicted since the 1948 war. They and their descendents are now about three million refugees in neighboring Arab countries.
In an interview with Asharq Al Awsat, Issam Mufid Nashashibi, one of the campaign organizers, stated that the British PMís positive response to the invitation to the London event is an important step in support of the
Deir Yassin Remembered campaign.
Palestinians and their friends in western countries formed Deir Yassin Remembered. The London commemoration is part of their worldwide campaign to remember the massacre and build a monument for the victims in village of Deir Yassin, part of whose land is now an Israeli cemetery.
The campaign to commemorate the massacre at Deir Yassin has attracted support from all walks of life in western countries, especially the United States and Britain. Amongst its supporters are many
politicians and notables, including prominent Jews and rabbis, who call for the restoration of Palestinian human rights within an overall just solution.