October 26, 1948: Houla is located in southern Lebanon, only a few kilometers from the Israeli border. When Arab volunteers gathered to liberate Palestine from the Israeli occupation, they established their headquarters in Houla, on hills overlooking Palestine.
The force was successful in fending off major attacks on Lebanese villages, but the fighters suddenly withdrew on October 26, 1948. Jewish militants attacked the town to avenge the residents’ support of Arab resistance forces.
On October 31, Jewish militants dressed in traditional Arab attire entered the border village. Residents gathered to cheer the men, thinking Arab volunteer fighters had returned. They were wrong. The militants rounded up 85 people and detained them in a number of houses, firing live ammunition at the civilians and killing all but three as they blew up the houses with dead corpses inside. They confiscated property and livestock.
The three who survived the massacre, along with residents of other towns fled to Beirut. Following the armistice agreement between Lebanon and Israel in 1949, village residents returned to find their houses in ruin and their farms burnt. Houla remains under Israeli occupation today, and has suffered the brunt of Israeli animosity towards Lebanon. Only 1,200 out of 12,000 people remain in the village. The Houla massacre was one of a series of massacres committed by Israel against Lebanese civilians.
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