דלג לתפריט הראשי (מקש קיצור n) דלג לתוכן הדף (מקש קיצור s) דלג לתחתית הדף (מקש קיצור 2)

The battle of the Qastel

The Arab village of Qastel that was situated on top of a hill, 750 meter above sea level, 10 kilometers west of Jerusalem, exclusively dominated the only road leading from the Lowland to Jerusalem. The village was used by the Arabs for the purpose of attacking provision convoys driving up to Jerusalem, causing the Jewish forces a great number of casualties and loss of property.
On the 6.12.47, a soldier was killed during an attack against a convoy. On the 2.1.48, a convoy of 25 trucks coming down from Jerusalem was attacked; two soldiers were killed, and the convoy was rescued by the British police.
On the night of 25.1, a Platoon from the 6th Battalion was sent to the Qastel, only to be exposed and attacked by an Arab force under the command of Abed El Kader Husainy. A number of soldiers, including the Platoon Commander were injured during the gunfight. Two armored squads were sent from Qaryat El Inab to retrieve the wounded, and after encountering heavy gun fire were forced to retreat along with 10 casualties and many wounded. The British Army arriving on sight fired indiscriminately, and evacuated the wounded under their protection. The next day the bodies of the dead were collected.
On the 12.3.48, Arabs attacked two convoys on their way to Jerusalem, and both kept on going in spite of suffering one fatality and several wounded.
On the 16.3, a Platoon from the 6th Battalion responded by an attempt to occupy the village, during which force Commander, Gidon Pl'ee (Jhoni) was killed, forcing the Platoon to retreat along with their Commander's body.
The names of the fatalities: Amichay Orliansky, Jonathan Broza, Davud Winberg, Ya'acov Zarchi, Ya'acov Israelit, Tzafrir Carmeli, Naftali Rabinowitz, Shimon Shtrang, Davud Tam and Michael Shpnir.
There was no doubt that the occupation of the village commanding post will enable regular transport to the besieged city.
On the night of the third of April, A reinforced Platoon invaded the deserted village.
The following morning, Chish Moria Brigade from Jerusalem replaced Palmach units (all but one squad).
Due to rumors involving a major Arab attack, Chish sent further reinforcement, and occupied one more army command post. The Jewish force that numbered only 80 soldiers was outnumbered by the Arab forces. On the evening of the 5th of April, fighting intensified all over the area and 'Hamachtzeva' (the quarry) army post situated near the village was occupied. The exhausted Chish members were crying out for help, but to no avail.
The fighting continued the next day. On the 7th of April, Jewish forces managed to drive away Arab forces attempting to invade the village, during which the Jerusalem Arab forces Commander; Abed El Kader El Husaini was killed.
On the morning of the 8th of April, 1,000 Arabs responded by attacking the village, and once again outnumbered the exhausted Chish members. On the noon of the same day, a 5th Battalion force under the command of Nachum Arieli, was sent to reinforce the Qastel defenders. While reinforcement was on its way, Chish defense layout collapsed and they began retreating under the protection of the 5th Battalion Platoon Commanders who then retreated themselves.
Platoon Commander Shimon Alfasi called out to his men throughout the Gunfire: "privates' retreat under the protection of the Commanders!" The small force fought courageously until the bitter end against hundreds of attackers and without any reinforcement from Qaryat El Inab.
18 Palmach members, 31 Chish members were killed during the battle and dozens were injured, and only then did the Arabs start to retreat. Due to the heroic story of the 5th Battalion along with its many casualties, the eastern sector of the road leading to Jerusalem was reopened under Jewish domination. On the same night the 4th Battalion occupied the deserted village once again, this time with out any casualties.
The occupation of the Qastel village symbolized a new strategy concerning the road leading to Jerusalem: creation of a territorial continuity beginning at Jerusalem and ending at the costal plane, commanded by Jewish forces as a result of initiated attacks against and occupation of Arab villages, and commanding posts along the road.
Palmach members that were killed during the Qastel battle: Yosef Adler,
Moshe Admoni, Avraham Almozlino, Shimon Alfasi, Nachum Arieli,
Eliyahu Ben- Giat, Arye Ben- Hilel, Haim Gardin, Mordechay Dagi, Shmuel Cohen, Rafael Melnick, Avraham (Alberto) Sitt, David Abud, Moshe Parpar,
Me'er Rozenblat , Shlomo Rozenberg and Shlomo Shechter.