By Uri Avnery, Christopher Costello
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Additional info for 1948: A Soldier's Tale - The Bloody Road to Jerusalem
In spite of our fatigue, we start to sing. “Believe me, the day will come/it will be good, that I promise you/I will take you in my arms/and tell you about – everything …” * * * I am too tired to sleep. After a cold shower I feel much better. A radio operator from the battalion tells me, confidentially, that the British have given us an ultimatum. They would use artillery to drive us out of the village if we didn’t leave it by the evening, without blowing it up. If we fulfill their demands, they would ensure the safety of our convoys in the area.
There – Asriel’s shells have hit. Ephraim has not yet reached the target. In the village little figures are running to and fro. A crowd assembles around the big tree in the center. So far we have received no order to fire. Movement behind us. The second company, which should attack in the first wave, is taking position behind our stone wall. The 34 BAPTISM OF FIRE unaimed fire of the Arabs and our shells raise our morale. Our mood is getting better and better. People start to joke. Red-haired Joske invites Aryeh to a good Arabic Finjan11 in an hour.
He is carrying the shells which weigh even more. Our “heavy weapon,” the machine gun, keeps up continuous fire on Nebi Musa. But the snipers are still shooting. We continue the assault. The slope is steep. I am breathing heavily. I have no strength left to run, but I keep up. We reach the left side of the village. There our comrades from the earlier group are lying. They point at a collection of houses in the center. ” I wait until our squad is complete. Yaakov has arrived too and assigns us a group of houses.