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Israel-Palestine war: Israeli veteran, 95, rallies troops to 'erase' Palestinian children

Ezra Yachin, who was involved in the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre, tells troops 'these animals can no longer live', referring to Palestinians
Ezra Yachin, 95, who was involved in the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre, is one of 300,000 reservists called up by Israel's army this week (Social media)
Ezra Yachin, 95, who was involved in the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre, is one of 300,000 reservists called up by Israel's army this week (Social media)

An Israeli army veteran who was involved in a 1948 massacre of Palestinian civilians has called on Israelis to "erase the memory of... families, mothers and children".

Ezra Yachin, 95, is one of more than 300,000 army reservists mobilised by Israel since war broke out with Hamas in Gaza a week ago.

Yachin won't be involved in combat but instead will serve to "motivate" soldiers, according to recent reports.  

"Be triumphant and finish them off and don’t leave anyone behind. Erase the memory of them," Yachin said while addressing Israeli troops this week, in a video that has since gone viral.

"Erase them, their families, mothers and children. These animals can no longer live." 

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He added that there was "no excuse", as Hezbollah "could send air strikes" and "Arabs here could attack us". 

"Every Jew with a weapon should go out and kill them. If you have an Arab neighbour, don’t wait, go to his home and shoot him," Yachin said. 

"We will witness things we've never dreamed of. Let them drop bombs on them and erase them," he added. "All of the prophecies sent by the prophets are about to occur."

Israel has killed at least 2,215 people in Gaza over the past week, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Of those killed, 724 are children and 458 are women.

Over the same period, Israeli troops have killed 54 people in the occupied West Bank. 

The war erupted on 7 October after Hamas launched a surprise multi-front assault on Israel, firing thousands of rockets and sending fighters into Israeli territory across land, air, and sea. More than 1,300 Israelis have been killed and scores of soldiers and civilians taken captive back to Gaza.

Veteran involved in Deir Yassin massacre

Yachin was a member of the Lehi Zionist militia, which carried out atrocities before the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. 

He was involved in the Deir Yassin massacre on 9 April 1948, when Zionist militiamen belonging to the Lehi and Irgun groups went house to house, killing more than 100 people in the small Palestinian village near Jerusalem, despite having agreed to an earlier truce. Many of those killed were women, children, and the elderly.

The massacre, amongst other atrocities, led to the forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland in what would come to be known as the Nakba, or catastrophe.

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In an interview to Jewish Press in 2020, Yachin said his Lehi unit was called upon to carry out an attack on Deir Yassin. 

"The village was a terrorist hideout," he said. "Leftist historians claim that we ruthlessly, and with premeditation, slaughtered the inhabitants of the village, including women and children. That was not the case at all.

"It is true that women and youngsters were killed, but that was because they served as fighters."

At least 13,000 Palestinians were killed and hundreds of villages were destroyed to make way for the state of Israel in 1948. 

Some 750,000 people were forcibly displaced from their homes, a figure that with their descendants now stands at around six million Palestinian refugees, most of whom live in neighbouring countries. 

Palestinians in Gaza have warned that plans to open a human corridor and resettle civilians in Egypt's Sinai region would be akin to a "second Nakba". 

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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