Al-Dawayima Massacre

• Date: October 29, 1948

• Attackers: Israeli Occupation Force’s (IOF) 89th Commando Battalion during Operation Yoav

• Casualty count: Uncertain, but estimates suggest the number is 455 and among them 170 children.

Description of the event: The al-Dawayima massacre, occurring during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, was a significant and particularly gruesome event. Unlike massacres carried out by paramilitary groups, this tragedy involved regular armed forces with operational planning capacity – the Israeli Occupation Force’s (IOF) 89th Commando Battalion during Operation Yoav. Al-Dawayima, one of the largest villages in the Hebron subdistrict, faced relentless battles in the months following the UN Partition Plan. In October 1948, as Israeli forces advanced, the village became surrounded. Despite attempts to seek protection from Arab armies, the villagers were left defenseless. On October 29 1948, the IOF carried out a brutal assault, causing mass casualties in three stages: first, in homes and alleyways; second, in the village mosque; and third, in a cave. The exact death toll remains uncertain but is estimated in the hundreds. Shockingly, this atrocity, involving heinous acts described by an Israeli soldier, did not garner the same attention as the Deir Yasin massacre. After the massacre, survivors dispersed to refugee camps, and in 1955, the settlement of Amatzya was established on the ruins of al-Dawayima. The Jewish soldiers who took part in the massacre reported horrific scenes: babies whose skulls were cracked open, women raped or burned alive in houses and men stabbed to death.


[1] Abu Sitta, Salman, Daleen Saah. Ed Dawayima 1948 Massacre. London: MEMO publishers, 2023.

[2] Ofir, Jonathan. “‘Barbarism by an Educated and Cultured People.’ Dawayima Massacre Was Worse than Deir Yassin,” at

[3] Palumbo, Michael. The Palestinian Catastrophe: The 1948 Expulsion of a People from Their Homeland. London: Faber & Faber, 1987.

[4] Muslih, Nour al-Din. “Expelling the Palestinians: The Concept of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Thought and Planning, 1882 – 1948.” Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992.

[5] Hadawi, Sami. Bitter Harvest: A Modern History of Palestine. New York: Olive Branch Press, 1991.

[6] Morris, Benny. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

[7] Ilan Pappe. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford , England, 2006.

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