Sixty-eight years passed on the Qibya massacre when Israel committed the most notorious reprisal massacre in 1953 in the West Bank against the village of Qibya, where 45 houses were blown up and at least 69 Palestinians were killed.
At 9:30 p.m. on the night of October 14, 1953, soldiers from Israel’s Paratroopers Unit as well as Commando Unit 101 fired mortars at the West Bank villages (then under Jordanian control) of Qibya and Ni’lin.
Following the barrage, over 130 soldiers swarmed Qibya, laying down land mines on the outskirts of the village in order to prevent Jordanian troops from accessing it.
Israeli forces then destroyed 45 homes and killed 69 people, most of them in cold blood by throwing grenades, including those who attempted to flee for their lives.
Many were killed under the rubble of their own homes. Approximately two thirds of those killed were women and children.
The soldiers received the following order from then-commander Ariel Sharon: “The intention: Attack and conquer the village of Qibya, with maximum damage to humans and property.”
In the aftermath of the massacre, due to massive backlash internationally, then Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion Sharon flatly denied that israeli forces had ever set foot in Qibya on October 14th, calling it a “false and fantastic tale.”
While the occupation immediately sought to erase the massacre, Palestinians have carried its history forward.
In Qibya, plaques with the names of the martyrs uplift their memory, and the survivors of the massacre continue to pass on the history to the next generation.
Hamed Ghethan, a survivor of the massacre who was 4 years old when it took place, reflected on the ongoing legacy of the massacre in 2014: “Sharon’s name reminds me of 77 martyrs from my village Qibya, which symbolises an infinite brutality for killing innocents including women, elders and children.”