Qibya massacre

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The Qibya Massacre, also known as the Qibya incident, occurred in October 1953 when Israeli troops under Ariel Sharon attacked the village of Qibya in the West Bank. Sixty-nine Arabs were killed. Forty-five houses, a school, and a mosque were destroyed.[1]

The act was condemned by the U.S. State Department, the UN Security Council, and by Jewish communities worldwide.[2] The State Department described the raid as "shocking", and used the occasion to confirm publicly that economic aid to Israel had been suspended previously, for other non-compliance regarding the 1949 Armistice Agreements.

The operation was codenamed Operation Shoshana by the Israel Defense Force (IDF). It was carried out by two Israeli units at night: a paratroop company and Unit 101, a special forces unit of the IDF.

Contents

Background

The attack took place in the context of border clashes between Israel and neighbouring states, which had begun almost immediately after the signing of the 1949 Armistice Agreements. Along the 1949 armistice line, infiltrations, armed or otherwise, were frequent from both sides. Many infiltrations from Palestinian territory in the West Bank consisted of unarmed Palestinian refugees attempting to rejoin their families,[3] and of smugglers trying to bring in contraband for Israeli markets, though armed marauding also was common. Half of Jordan's prison population at the time consisted of people arrested for attempting to return to, or illegally enter, Israeli-held territory, but the number of complaints filed by Israel over infiltrations from the West Bank show a considerable reduction, from 233 in the first nine months of 1952, to 172 for the same period in 1953, immediately before the massacre. This marked reduction was in good part the result of increased Jordanian efficiency in patrolling.[3] According to some Israeli sources, between June 1949 and the end of 1952, a total of 57 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed by infiltrators from The West Bank and Jordan. The Israeli death toll for the first 9 months of 1953 was 32.[4] Over roughly the same time (November 1950-November 1953), the Mixed Armistice Commission condemned Israeli military infiltrations and aggressions 44 times.[3] For the same period, 1949-1953, Jordan maintained that it alone suffered 629 killed and injured from Israeli incursions and cross-border bombings.[3] UN sources for the period, based on the documentation at General Bennike's disposal (prepared by Commander E H Hutchison USNR),[5] lower both estimates[6][clarification needed]

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