MEMORIAL on the 50th Anniversary of the Kafr Qasem Massacre
The Fourth Wave of the Massacre
The fourth wave resulted in only one man being killed. There is a bit of conflict regarding a small portion of the event. A truck carrying 23 workers from Kafr Qasem returning from work. They heard the shooting when they neared the position of the border guards. Sergeant Dihan, a member of the border police who did the killing, said in court that he ordered the driver to move in front of him while he drove in his jeep toward the village without causing it any harm. But the village residents and passengers say that the driver, when he saw the bodies on the ground, he sped up and refused to stop for anything and thus they survived.
During this same event [the fourth wave] a resident of Kafr Qasem reached the location. It was the victim Saleh Mahmoud Naser Amer. He was coming home walking. He tried to get on the truck as it passed him but the soldiers shot him dead. Saleh had the use of only one eye as can be seen in his passport photo. His limited depth perception may have contributed to his death.
November 1999, Kafr Qasem, Interview with Abu Sameeh
Abu Sameeh told me that he was in the middle of the massacre and was enthusiastic to talk about it with openness and less pain than Abul Walid and Abu Ayyoub. He said: “I was in Yafa and I had a bundle of money in my inner pocket and I was buying products for resale in my shop. I arranged for the storage and transfer of the material and arrived in Petah Tikvah looking for transportation to Kafr Qasem. I met up with some workers from Petah Tikvah walking towards Kafr Qasem and a truck came by and stopped to pick us up. We had heard shooting and were hopeful of a safe ride. The driver wanted money and we had to bargain with him. But at a moment when you fear loss of your life you do not count the cost. I paid for a lot of the others who could not pay. As we reached the point where the soldiers were standing we saw the bodies and the other trucks and we were overtaken by great fear. Our truck was stopped by the border guards and an argument ensued between them. Some wanted us, the passengers, to be taken to the border, some wanted to kill us, and another who had himself sold the truck to the Arab driver, wanted to lead the truck into the town. Thus, one border guard began to lead the truck into town while the others were still arguing. The passengers and I were trembling with fear and we could feel the slow bumping of the truck as it drove over dead bodies and the squash of a skull.
[At that moment Abu Sameeh acted the bumpiness of the ride with his open and shaking hands, and the squashing with vocalized sounds. Then he continued.]
Just at that point Zahran’s grandfather came along. He was then an old old man and he stopped the police to ask about his two sons. He stopped them even in the midst of their arguing. He had come out of his home on pain of death knowing full well of the dangers and of the curfew. He feared the loss of his two sons more than he feared death itself. While he was occupying the police in this manner the truck driver took the opportunity to speed up and in so doing he saved us all from joining those who had been massacred before us. When we arrived at our destination we all rushed out of the truck into the house and locked the door. Then we realize that we had left the truck lights on and the doors wide open and the motor running. After some discussion and consideration someone snuck out and shut the lights and the motor and closed the doors and returned.
All through the night armored vehicles toured the town. We saw one at least every hour. We had a complete three day curfew. We could not leave our houses.
The dead were buried by folks from Jaljoulia who dug graves under pressure. We were told that as the Israelis found one man seemingly willing to dig they would put him in the jeep and then while looking for another the first one would run away. They had much trouble finding enough people to dig the graves. Later as the volunteers were digging they were surrounded by military vehicles with their lights on. The men feared that they were digging their own graves. They asked for the vehicle to back up a bit from them. They dug 30 and were asked to dig 30 more. At that point, they tell, that even greater fear came over them. After the graves were dug just a few villagers were taken out to identify the bodies.
Web posting: Samia A. Halaby, Obtober 2006.