But reading an article in Haaretz (not yet translated) on the killing of Ami, son of Yitzhak Ben-Tzvi and Rachel Yana'it, near his kibbutz, Beit Keshet, in March 1948, caused me to return to the topic.
The words are in the dictionary: castrate, disembowel, dismember, eviscerate, mutilate.
Here is one very partial listing of incidents of what is termed "corpse mutilation", that is, dismembering bodies after death during the 1948 War:
Illustrating a special kind of hatred that is not satisfied with mere killing, Jewish corpse mutilation was a problem as well:
"I can say that our Palmach officers—men given to understatement rather than hysteria—instructed us, when in action, to always save a bullet or a grenade for ourselves, so as not to fall alive into the hands of Arab irregulars. Capture was not an option."24
"On 27 March, a seven-vehicle convoy, carrying eighty-nine men and women was attacked on the road to the besieged Kibbutz Yehiam by units of the ALA’s Second Yarmuk Battalion and local militiamen. ... The following morning, the British and Haganah found forty-seven bodies, many of them mutilated."26
"The occupants of one vehicle committed suicide with dynamite rather than fall into Arab hands. (Jews captured in convoy battles were normally put to death and mutilated.)"27
"Arabs began to push down the slope, giving chase. Arieli and a handful of other officers took up positions nearby to cover the retreat. Their bodies were later found there, either felled by Arab bullets or by their own hands, with grenades, to avoid capture."28
"Just before dawn, 9 April, two of Tabenkin’s companies stormed into al-Qastal – which they found completely deserted, save for dozens of corpses. The Palmahniks buried the dead. Some of the Jewish corpses had been badly mutilated."29
"In place they found the bodies of sixteen Alexandroni troopers left behind when the Legion took the position two days before. One Israeli report read, “On most of them were signs of severe mutilation: stab wounds, some had their genitals cut off, some were missing ears. One body was cut into many bits with its genitalia stuffed in its mouth."30
"At one point in the battle, the “French Commando,” many of them ex-Foreign Legionnaires and Moroccan Jews, retreated from one of the conquered positions under heavy Egyptian fire, leaving behind, under a railway bridge, a handful of wounded. When they retook the position a half-hour later, they found that all the wounded had been murdered, with their genitals mutilated and their penises stuck in their mouths. Some had been blinded with burning cigarettes."31
24 Gutmann, David. The Arab Lie Whose Time Has Come - Veteran of the 1948 War Dissects the Myth of Palestinian Innocence. April 21, 2004. 25 Morris, Benny. 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2008. 78 26 Morris, Benny. 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2008. 110-111 27 Morris, Benny. 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2008. 111 28 Morris, Benny. 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2008. 124 29 Morris, Benny. 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2008. 125 30 Morris, Benny. 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2008. 293 31 Morris, Benny. 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2008. 361-362
Here's another, of the Thirty-Five attempting to reach Gush Etzion:
When Time Magazine covered the battle in 1948, it characterized the event thusly: “The picture was reminiscent of the terrible black and white mass of photographs that had illustrated the war and the war-crimes trials. It also recalled the fierce word pictures of how Old Testament warriors dealt with their enemies. It showed the mutilated bodies of 35 young Haganah fighters who had been ambushed by Arabs at Kfar Etzion, in the lonely hills of Hebron.”
By the way, a picture purporting to be of Deir Yassin Arabs is actually of the 35.
A convoy returning from Gush Etzion on January 12, 1948 was attacked and several of its defenders were killed and their bodies mutilated.
From the JTA, January 19, 1948:
This morning a Jewish convoy heading for Tel Aviv from Jerusalem was attached at Motza, about five miles from Jerusalem. Two Jews were killed and seven wounded. In Jerusalem itself at least one Jew was murdered today by Arab guerrillas. The body of the Jew, Mordechai Admoni, was mutilated and his body was partially burned before It was found by police. An unidentified Jewish male was found near Haifa with the head severed from the body and removed from the scene.
On February 12, 1948, members of the Hagana were arrested by British troops at the end of Shivtei Yisrael Street (then, Saint Paul) and handed over to the Arabs. The bodies of Naftali Schole, Eliyahu Kessler, Shalom Leon and and Shimon Nisani were mutilated.
Even in a quite critical book of Zionism, on p. 171, we read:
In Hebrew, I found a quotation from Yoram Kaniuk who found someone from his unit who was killed in battle and the Arabs had tied him up in a tree, had cut his body in to pieces with his penis in his mouth and the description is in his book תש"ח.
This is a picture of one of Khadar El-Husseini's gangs with mutiliated Jews:
But if we go back to 1920, we will discover that Shraga-Feivel Eisenberg of the moshava Yesud HaMaaleh was killed by Arabs in its fields while collecting the harvested wheat on June 7. He was shot and after his death, his body was mutilated.
Another incident during the War of Independence occured on March 19, 1948, when a battle took place on Mount Gilboa. The unit was defeated and five of those killed and left behind --- Aryeh Elkind, Avraham Oplatka, Akiva Barzilai, Haim Liben and Dan Tzvik --- were taken to Jenin where their bodies were mutilated, tied to vehciles and driven through the main streets and then strung up for all to see with limbs cut off and their bodies dismembered. Tzvik's parent could not succeed in identifying his remains. From the Palestine Post, March 21:
I have no professional ability to analyze this heinous behavior of post-death mutilation.
But this is the enemy of Jews and Zionism for over 90 years.