In March, 1948, Hagana and other commanders received lists of neighbourhoods and specific villages in their allotted zones, along with instructions as to how to proceed when removing inhabitants. Much clandestine data-gathering had gone into the compiling of these lists, which also named individuals considered to be likely organisers of protest and unrest. One procedure used was to begin by rounding up 'suspects', or in their absence a sizeable group of male villagers chosen at random. These men were then shot in front of the other villagers. Following this the ransacking of homes would begin, and anyone who protested at this was also killed. Some families, on trying to defend their homes, were barricaded inside and grenades were then thrown in through the windows. The township of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem was treated in such a way by members of the Irgun, whose chief was Menachem Begin. This man, years later, became Israel's prime minister.
Word of the atrocities spread fast, and many thousands began fleeing to the apparent safety of adjacent countries, particularly Jordan and Lebanon. This ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians went on for months, sweeping mostly to the north and south, and Galilean villagers fled across the border into southern Lebanon. But even here they were not safe as the Zionists followed in pursuit. †A number of Lebanese townships (some estimate 13) were given similar treatment to those in Palestine, with families being blown up inside their homes. Such a demonstration of force and violence against civilians was in marked contrast to what had befallen the Jews earlier in Europe. There they had been victims, but now they were the aggressors. And now they had their own homeland, albeit one which had been stolen from the rightful owners. Furthermore, they had plans to make it even bigger.