« In Sharon Coverage, NPR Skews | Main | Fox Error: Sharon Entered Al Aqsa Mosque »

January 14, 2014

PBS, 'Resistance Fighters,' Women and Children

Gilbert fedayeen attacks smallest.jpg
Image from Martin Gilbert's Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

In an otherwise balanced report about Ariel Sharon, Margaret Warner reported Jan. 11 on PBS' "Newshour":

In the years after independence he earned the enmity of Palestinians and Arabs, by leading a special army commando unit, Unit 101, in sometimes brutal reprisal attacks against Palestinian resistance fighters and civilians.

In 1953, Unit 101 responded to the killing of the three Israeli civilians with a revenge attack on the West Bank town, Kibya, leaving 69 Palestinians dead, including many women and children. "Kibya was to be a lesson," he wrote years later in his autobiography. "I was to inflict as many causalities as I could on the Arab home guard. I was to blow up every major building in the town."

The "Palestinian resistance fighters," as Warner calls them, were responsible for the killing of 137 Israelis, almost all civilians, in 1951, and 162 slain Israelis in 1952. The following year saw a spike in violent incidents against Israel, and 160 Israelis were killed.

Notably, Warner identifies women and children among the casualties at Kibya. She does not say that the "three Israeli civilians" killed (by Palestinians who set out from Kibya) were also a woman and children -- namely Susan Kanias and her two sons, ages one and three.

In his autobiography, from which Warner selectively quotes, Sharon describes how his forces believed the buildings of Kibya had been evacuated. He wrote:

A report came in from one of the roadblocks that hundreds of villagers were streaming by them along the road. Kibbiya seemed completely deserted.

At midnight we began to demolish the village's big stone buildings. Working from the far side of the town inward, soldiers were sent to look through each house to make sure no one was inside; then the charges were placed and set off. We found a young boy cowering in a corner of one of the house and took him out to safety. Then we heard a cry, and Shlomo Hefer ran into one of the other houses where the TNT fuse had already been lit and emerged with a little girl in his arms. Those two, the boy and the girl, were the only signs of life.

A few hours later I was awake, listening to Jordanian radio. Already they were announcing news of the raid. According to the radio, sixty-nine people had been killed, mostly civilians and many of them women and children. I couldn't believe my ears. As I went back over each step of the operation, I began to understand what must have happened. For years Israeli reprisal raids had never succeeded in doing more than blowing up a few outlying buildings, if that. Expecting the same, some Arab families must have stayed in their houses rather than running away. In those big stone houses where three generations of a family might live together, some could easily have hidden in the cellars and back rooms, keeping quiet when the paratroopers went in to check and yell out a warning. The result was this tragedy that had happened. (Warrior, p 89)

Posted by TS at January 14, 2014 06:07 AM


Thank you for posting this important information.
PBS like most media outlets doesn't want you to know the name Susan Kanias and her two sons, ages 1 and 3 who were murdered by the Arabs from Kibya and this is why Sharon responded to Kibya.
Kibya is also the area where alot of the Arab terrorist attacks that led to the murder of hundreds of Jews in 1951 and 1952 came from.
Its very similar to what happened in Jenin in 2002 and all the Arab terrorists coming from Jenin and murdering Israeli civlians and why Sharon responded to Jenin in 2002.

Posted by: Barry Rosen at January 14, 2014 08:33 AM

Guidelines for posting

This is a moderated blog. We will not post comments that include racism, bigotry, threats, or factually inaccurate material.

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)