Israel’s secret biological warfare during the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine

(ORDO NEWS) — The article is called “Secret poisonings of Israel in 1948”:

A new article by Benny Morris and Benjamin Kedar indicates that long before the failed assassination attempt on Hamas’s Meshal 25 years ago, Israel attempted mass poisoning during the 1948 war.

On September 25, 1997, “Mossad operatives from the Kidon (Hebrew for bayonet) special forces unit poisoned Khaled Meshal, chairman of the Hamas political bureau, in Amman, Jordan. One of the operatives held a small tube and sprayed the substance into Meshal’s ear.”

A female doctor was selected for the mission in Jordan, accompanied by Mishka Ben David, one of the intelligence officers of the Mossad. They posed as an Israeli couple vacationing at a hotel in Amman.

The doctor and Ben David had an antidote that would neutralize the poison if it leaked out by mistake and injured the operatives. Israel kept a spare antidote elsewhere in Amman.

The mission was a failure.

Mossad operatives with fake Canadian passports were arrested, while four others took refuge in the Israeli embassy in Jordan.

King Hussein of Jordan threatened to storm the embassy and execute the operatives. To appease the king, Israel agreed to release Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, from prison and save Meshal’s life.

The doctor and Ben David gave one of the antidotes to a Jordanian intelligence officer, who forwarded it to a Jordanian doctor. Israel saved Meshal’s life.

As a result of the failed assassination attempt, Israel was forced to admit that it had used poison, a form of biological warfare.

The 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibits the use of biological weapons. Fifty years later, another international agreement was signed: the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, commonly referred to as the Biological Weapons Convention.

However, although 183 states have ratified the treaty, Israel, as well as Egypt, Somalia, Eritrea and the Comoros, have refused to accede to it.

There are widespread speculations and reports that the various poison materials used by the Mossad in cases already published and several others that have remained secret were manufactured at the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Ness Zion, 20 kilometers south of Tel Aviv.

The Institute, which is jointly owned by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Department of Defense, was founded in 1952 to replace the Army Science Corps. Its first director was Alexander Keinan.

This unit is now involved in the use of biological weapons during the 1948 Nakba, the British-assisted ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the Zionists.

Two historians – Benny Morris, Distinguished Professor at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, and Distinguished Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Benjamin Ze’ev Kedar – wrote the book Cast thy bread: Israel’s Biological Warfare in the 1948 War (published by Middle Eastern Studies).

According to Haaretz, the article was written and published against the wishes of Israeli intelligence agencies, which constantly block historical documents that testify to war crimes against the Palestinians – including the execution of prisoners, torture, ethnic cleansing, the destruction of villages and apartheid.

The article is based on original documents held by the Israel State Archives and other relevant archives.

The following is an abstract of Morris and Kedar’s article:

This article describes Israel’s bacteriological warfare campaign during the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948 [Nakba]. For decades after this war, there were rumors that Israel used bacteria, along with conventional weapons, in its fight against the Arabs of Palestine and the surrounding Arab states.

The declassification of documents in Israeli military archives, the discovery of a crucial letter in private hands and the publication of several memoirs dating back to 1948 have allowed us to bridge the gap between rumor and fact, explain the origins of the campaign, reconstruct its stages from April 1948, determine who was involved in it, including Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and the de facto Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli army, Yigael Yadin, as well as leading Israeli scientists, and who actively opposed it.

The code name for the operation was “Drop Your Bread” (taken from a verse in Ecclesiastes 11:1). According to the study, scientists from the Science Corps, in collaboration with military units, were “involved in a systematic campaign to poison wells with typhoid bacteria” in order to effectively ethnically cleanse and intimidate the Palestinian population into leaving their lands.

The order to use typhoid infection was given or approved by the founder of the “Jewish state” David Ben-Gurion.

Ben-Gurion consulted with eminent scientists, including Professor David Erenst Bergman, who is considered the initiator of the Israeli nuclear program. Also consulted with Prof. Efrain Katzir and the already mentioned Prof. Alex Keinan.

The following is taken from the second Haaretz article:

On April 1, 1948, David Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary about the “development of science and the acceleration of its application in military affairs.” A month and a half later, he wrote about “biological materials” that were purchased for $2,000.

Ben-Gurion was committed to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in order to create a “Jewish state”.

On July 12, 1937, Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary, explaining the benefits of forced population transfer (which had been proposed by the British Peel Commission).

“The forced removal of the [Palestinian] Arabs from the valleys of the supposed Jewish state may give us what we never had, even when we stood our ground during the times of the first and second Temples…

We are given an opportunity that we never even dared to dream of in our wildest fantasies. This is MORE than state, government and sovereignty – this is national consolidation in a free homeland.” (Righteous Offerings, p. 142)

“With a forced transfer, we [would get] a huge area [to move in]. I support a mandatory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in that.” (Righteous Victims, p. 144).

Among the soldiers initiated into the operation were Generals Yohanan Ratner and Yigal Yadin, as well as Lieutenant Colonel Moshe Dayan.

Dayan’s task was to hand over vials of typhus to his subordinates with instructions to distribute them to wells in the vicinity of Jericho and in the villages of Jerusalem. It is worth noting that the Jordanian army was also stationed in these areas.

The following is from the Ha’aretz newspaper:

Dayan – now calling himself the code name “Moshe Neptune” – sent a telegram to Yadin: “On Monday or Tuesday, Nakhshon [referring to the forces of Operation Nakhshon, which included the Harel Brigade] will activate Your Cast Bread.” I will arrive in the middle of the week with all the materials.”

Yadin instructed the senior IDF commanders: “It is urgent to appoint a special officer on the issues of” Cast Bread “at your headquarters. This is a matter of extreme importance and must be kept by you in the strictest confidence.”

In another telegram, Yadin writes: “Place materials like “Cast Bread” in the wells.” Israel]?”.

Moshe Dayan speaking at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) in Haifa in 1969:

“Jewish villages were built on the site of Arab villages. You don’t even know the names of these Arab villages, and I don’t blame you, because there are no more books on geography, and not only books, there are no Arab villages either.

Nakhlal arose on the site of Mahlul , Kibbutz Gwat – on the site of Jibta, Kibbutz Sarid – on the site of Huneifis, and Kefar Yegushua – on the site of Tal ash-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country in which there would be no former Arab population. ”

It is worth noting that Illan Pappe, historian and author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, mentioned this operation even before the recent revelations and was persecuted by the Zionist lobby for his statements:

Local left-wing commanders on the southern front refused to participate in biological warfare.

Morris and Kedar’s article also sheds light on several more cases in which Israeli soldiers were sent with poison to Akko and the Galilean village of Ilabun. According to British Arab and Red Cross documents, dozens of local residents of Acre were poisoned and seriously ill. An unknown number of them died.

“Initially, the operation was concentrated in the area between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and then spread to Akko in the north and Gaza in the south.

Evidence indicates that later other settlements were included, either in plans or in fact, such as Jericho, Beersheba, Ilabun, Bidu, Beit Surik, Beit Mahsir and Har Tuv (after the Jews were evacuated).

The option to add targets outside of Israel such as Cairo and Beirut was also suggested, but nothing came of it. The idea was to block the advance of the Arab armies. [of Egypt and Jordan].”

In May 1948, two Haganah soldiers posed as Arabs and entered Gaza with the intention of poisoning the water sources. They were arrested and sentenced to death by an Egyptian military court.

Morris found dramatic evidence of this operation in the archives of Kibbutz Naan, in a testimony given in 1988 by kibbutz member, archaeologist Shemaria Guttman, who was the commander of the Palma and a senior IDF intelligence officer.

Guttman recounted how General Yohanan Ratner, the senior commander whom Ben-Gurion had appointed to lead the operation, informed him that “two men were being sent to the Egyptian border to do this work [in regard to] the wells.”

The two men were David Mizrahi and Ezra Khorin (Afgin), who went on a mission to Gaza on May 22, 1948, but were caught and tried in an Egyptian military court for poisoning wells with bacteria and then executed.

Guttmann recalls that he strongly opposed the operation on moral grounds, and also warned that the poisoning of the water could harm the Jews as well. “Look, we too can conquer this territory tomorrow and drink from this water, and our entire army will also get sick with typhus or dysentery,” he told Ratner.

When he asked for the order to be issued in writing, he was refused. “[Ratner] told me, ‘I would never give such an order [in writing].'” Guttman goes on to say that he asked “Which material were they talking about – ‘liquid’ or ‘powder’… and he decided it would be a powder.” He also notes that “the two were caught red-handed.”

Another piece of evidence found by Morris and Kedar was hidden in an interview former ambassador Asher Ben-Nathan gave to historian Nir Mann in 2008. Ben-Nathan described another phase of the operation: an attempt to poison the wells in Cairo.

During the summer of 1948, Ben-Nathan was in Paris as part of his position in operational intelligence. There he was met by intelligence officer Benjamin Ghibli and handed over to him “a capsule for poisoning the wells in Cairo.”

But the plan was canceled, and, according to Ben-Nathan, “I kept the poison capsule, and in the end I destroyed it in the sewers.” Morris and Kedar also found confirmation of this in the archives of the IDF, in a document dated September 1948, in which Yadin writes: “Please call as soon as possible … regarding the activation of Cast Thy Bread abroad.”

Documents show that Ben-Gurion was at the top of the pyramid. Beneath him was Yadin, who controlled the military side of the operation. The operation was commanded by Johanan Ratner. Initially, the main man in the group was Dayan, who later became the chief of staff of the IDF and the Minister of Defense.

Documents show that Dayan served as a smuggler who shipped bacteria from the Science Building to various parts of the country, writes

David Shaltiel, commander of the Etzioni Brigade in Jerusalem, also participated in the operation. Later, intelligence officer Ezra Gelmer (later Omer, head of the intelligence department of the Haganah General Staff) joined her. The identity of another person involved in the operation remains unclear. In telegrams, he is referred to as “Mizrahi”.


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