Brian CLOUGHLEY: Israel’s Terrorists

Israel’s Terrorists

The man who murdered Count Folke Bernadotte died,

but his evil example is still very much with us


London’s Daily Telegraph has become a weird newspaper, owned by twin brothers who are creepy characters and whose purchase of the publication caused many a shudder. The paper has become a dismal tabloid caricature of its formerly dignified self.

Its emphasis is now on parochial “celebrity” rubbish, although it must be said that its recent exposure of the greed and chicanery of grubby little British politicians has been a public service of considerable note, even if it was parochial and celeb-intensive.

But there is one redeeming feature of the modern-vulgar Telegraph, and that is its Obituary page. Descriptions of the recently departed are written in a style that can be described only as sublime. The doings and undoings of  countless captivating characters are retailed in amusing and often spicy detail, with élan, elegance and flair for a telling phrase.

So each morning, while reading the world newspapers on the internet, one of the things I look at is the DT Obits.  I’ve known quite a few of the people whose lives have been described in its columns (depressingly more, as time goes by), and to see their achievements placed on record in such an stylish manner is delightful.

Until last week.

On  May 21 the Daily Telegraph published the obituary of a man – no, not a man :  a repulsive gobbet of contaminated carrion – called Yehoshua Zettler. It was well-written, of course;  but it was the subject matter that caused nausea.

The obit recounted that

“Yehoshua Zettler, who died on May 20 aged 91, was the former commander in Jerusalem of the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, or Lehi (known to the British as the Stern Gang); it was he who planned and supervised the assassination of the United Nations mediator Count Folke Bernadotte on September 17, 1948.   Bernadotte, a member of the Swedish royal family, was sent to the Middle East by the UN to mediate between Israelis and Arabs over the future of Palestine.”

Count Bernadotte

The UN’s representative was a fine person (like almost all UN envoys) who wanted to do his best for all mankind.  So the Zionists killed him.

Zettler was a fanatic, a base murderer, an unrepentant assassin, who after his disgusting crime lived peacefully and prosperously in Israel, respected and admired by Israelis and his many supporters in America. He was one of the new era’s first and most successful terrorists.  Indeed, he promoted modern-day terrorism and was honoured for his murders. What an achievement. And what a commentary on the Zionists who spawned, endorsed and praised his odious bestiality.

The murderous Zettler was regarded as a Freedom Fighter. As Time Magazine might have said in quaint yet moderately stylish negative about people,  “No terrorist he.”

The obituary recorded that  “Zettler never regretted his part in the murder [and said] “When we demonstrated in front of [Bernadotte] and told him  ‘Go away from our Jerusalem, go back to Stockholm’, he did not respond. So we had no choice”.”

Bernadotte at his arrival in Palestine

“Your work is in vain – WE are here” – “Stockholm is yours -Jerusalem is ours”:
Zionist placards against Bernadotte in Jerusalem a few days before his murder

Zettler had “no choice”  but to murder a good and gracious man.

What a nauseating savage. And what a wonderful example to the Taliban, Hamas, and all the other lunatic extremists on the other side of the wall.

Then Zettler joined in a massacre at the village of Deir Yassin, just outside Jerusalem.  This atrocity, in which over 100 unarmed Arabs were murdered by members of Zettler’s Stern Gang and the Irgun Gang, led by Menachem Begin (who later became prime minister of Israel), has never received the condemnation that would have applied if Arabs had gone on a similar killing binge.

One Israeli witness stated that “[The attackers chose] to kill anybody they found alive as though every living thing in the village was the enemy and they could only think ‘kill them all.’ . . .  It was a lovely spring day, the almond trees were in bloom, the flowers were out and everywhere there was the stench of the dead, the thick smell of blood, and the terrible odour of the corpses burning in the quarry.”  And one of the killers, Ben Zion-Cohen of the Irgun gang, said simply that “We eliminated every Arab that came our way.”

This is called ‘freedom fighting’ when practised by Israel.

The vileness of Zettler’s massacre in Deir Yassin is only too similar to the acts of terror committed during Israel’s invasion and destruction of Gaza five months ago.

In their shattering onslaught the gallant soldiers and jet-jockeys of the Israeli Defence Force killed 313 Palestinian children.  What splendidly courageous chaps, to be sure.  I wonder how many decorations they picked up for kid-killing.  Perhaps they got a bonus when the dead kids were in UN-run schools.

To take one example, Israeli  artillery shelled “the UN Beit Lahiya elementary school, where nearly 2,000 Palestinians were sheltering from the fighting. Two children, aged five and seven, were killed inside a classroom . . .”

Then there was 18 month old Farah al-Helu. “The al-Helu family had been told to evacuate their house in Zaytoun, eastern Gaza, but while they were attempting to flee, Israeli soldiers opened fire on them. Farah was shot in the stomach and bled to death two hours later.” Wow.  Give that brave marksman a medal.

The UN’s full report on the atrocities in Gaza will never be made public. In any event the investigation was confined to investigating death and destruction at UN facilities and not the spectrum of kid-killing.  (The Israelis attacked ambulances and destroyed food and medical supplies in acts that anywhere in the world but Palestine would be regarded as war crimes.)  But Washington made sure that the UN Secretary General would not allow any criticism of Israel’s murderers.  Mr Ban Ki-moon is a very pleasant man, but his two predecessors would never have permitted this sort of blatant and morally disgusting cover up.  Which, of course, is why Mr Ban was selected.

But it all goes to show that Israel hasn’t changed in sixty years. The psychotic Netanyahu, its new prime minister, has said he will continue to build illegal settlements, thus treating UN resolutions with the contempt for which he is well known.

And the US will continue to support him, nuclear bombs and all.

Sixty years ago Israelis began as terrorists in Palestine, whose lands they brutally grabbed from their immemorial inhabitants, shooting dead as many Arabs as possible in their criminal killing sprees. And they continue as terrorists in their actions in oppressing the Palestinian people.  The murderer Yehoshua Zettler is dead, and perhaps his soul is rotting in hell;  but, by God, his evil example is still very much with us.

The DT obit

Yehoshua Zettler
Yehoshua Zettler, who died on May 20 aged 91, was the former commander in Jerusalem of the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, or Lehi (known to the British as the Stern Gang); it was he who planned and supervised the assassination of the United Nations mediator Count Folke Bernadotte on September 17 1948.

Bernadotte, a member of the Swedish royal family, was sent to the Middle East by the UN to mediate between Israelis and Arabs over the future of Palestine.

He recommended revising the boundaries envisaged by the UN Partition Plan of November 1947 to allow Palestinian refugees back to their homes, and suggested that the UN should take over control of Jerusalem. The plan was anathema to many Israelis, and the Lehi members in Jerusalem concluded that the best way to prevent its implementation was to kill the mediator.

On September 10 1948, Lehi’s leaders — among them Yisrael Eldad, Nathan Yelin-Mor and Yitzhak Shamir (a future prime minister of Israel) — met in a drab fourth-floor apartment in Ben Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv, to discuss an assassination. Zettler, who had come from Jerusalem, waited nervously in an adjoining room. Shamir later noted: “The idea was conceived in Jerusalem by Lehi members. Our opinion was asked, and we offered no opposition.”

Having secured this tacit agreement, Zettler sped back to Jerusalem to pick his team of gunmen. One of them, Meshulam Makover, recalled later: “Zettler came to my room at Camp Dror, and within a casual conversation asked: ‘What is your opinion regarding the liquidation of Bernadotte?’ I did not hide my enthusiasm. Two or three days later Zettler came back and said: ‘We have decided to do it. You will be on the operations team’.” Zettler also recruited Yehoshua Cohen, the man who would eventually pull the trigger.

Bernadotte arrived in Jerusalem on September 17, accompanied by General Aage Lundstrom, who later wrote: “We drove rapidly through the Jewish lines without incident… In the Katamon Quarter we were held up by a Jewish army-type Jeep, placed in a roadblock and filled with men in Jewish army uniforms. At the same time I saw a man [Yehoshua Cohen] running from the Jeep… he put a tommy gun through the open window on my side of the car and fired point blank at Count Bernadotte [who] fell forward… There was a considerable amount of blood on his clothes .”

Zettler never regretted his part in the murder: “When we demonstrated in front of [Bernadotte] and told him ‘Go away from our Jerusalem, go back to Stockholm’, he did not respond. So we had no choice.”

Yehoshua Zettler was born on July 15 1917 at Kfar Saba, a settlement north of Tel Aviv in what was then Palestine. When he was four, riots broke out between Jews and Arabs, and the Zettlers’ home was destroyed and had to be rebuilt. Yehoshua was educated at the Geulla high school in Tel Aviv, and aged 14 joined Haganah, the largest underground organisation in Palestine, then under the British Mandate. In 1933 he joined Haganah B, which in 1937 became Irgun.

As one of Irgun’s leading commanders, Zettler took part in the attack on Bir Adas, the first organised Jewish assault on an Arab village in Palestine.

In June 1940 Irgun split over policy differences, Zettler joining the breakaway group. This was Lehi, or the Stern Gang, which was to pursue ruthless acts of terrorism against the British throughout the Second World War.

The Stern Gang’s immediate need in 1940 was money, and in September Zettler led an operation in which money was stolen from a bank in Tel Aviv. In May the next year he was arrested by British police investigating the robbery, but escaped from custody .

He was now appointed the Stern Gang’s chief of operations in Palestine. He remained on the run, and was often reduced to sleeping on park benches. When winter arrived he returned to his flat in Tel Aviv, where, on December 2, he was arrested by the British. He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for his role in the bank robbery.

At the central jail in Jerusalem, Zettler became involved in a riot, and was transferred to Acre Fortress, a maximum-security prison. There he immediately began to plan his escape, and on May 4 1947 he was one of the leaders as 41 men — all members of Irgun and Lehi — got away after the prison doors had been destroyed by explosives.

After the partition of Palestine in 1947 the activities of Lehi were concentrated on Jerusalem. In April 1948 Zettler took part in the attack on Deir Yassin, a tiny village on a hill controlling the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road and the western suburbs of Jerusalem; 110 villagers were killed. Following the assassination of Bernadotte, Lehi in Jerusalem was disbanded.

Zettler, who nickname was Falach (“Peasant” in Arabic) remained suspicious of Arabs and foreigners and politically right-wing, believing that Israel should retain all the occupied territories. In his later years he lived in Tel Aviv, and owned a petrol station in Jaffa.

His marriage to Bella Shechter, a fellow member of Lehi, was conducted on a rooftop in Jerusalem in 1948 in the presence of armed guards. They had two daughters.

Published May 21 2009 on

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