New Report Shows Evidence Of Massacre In Jenin Palestine Chronicle 5-31-2 from rense.com
New Report Shows Evidence Of
Massacre In Jenin
The following is an initial report issued by a fact-finding
delegation dispatched to the West Bank and Gaza that includes legal and
public health experts and human rights activists.
The delegation is investigating the conditions of the
Palestinian people living under harsh Israeli occupation in the West Bank
and Gaza. The delegation was organized by the International A.N.S.W.E.R.
coalition - Act Now to Stop War & End Racism.
JENIN: On May 23, the A.N.S.W.E.R. delegation entered
Jenin, a densely populated civilian refugee camp, and found undisputed
evidence of a massacre.
The delegation interviewed and took testimony from witnesses
and survivors of the devastation and slaughter perpetrated by the Israeli
military in its recent invasion of the West Bank, including the Jenin refugee
In Jenin this testimony confirmed the indiscriminate
and vicious nature of the recent Sharon directed military attack against
the Jenin refugee camp. "The coordinator for health services in the
camp reported that as of now they have found and identified 55 bodies,
and held funerals for those people. Of these, 5 were members of the Palestinian
security forces and 12 were from various factions who defended the residents
of Jenin against the Israeli invasion.
The other thirty-eight rest were non-combatants, including
children, elderly and disabled persons. Rescue workers believe there may
be 10 to 40 others who are still buried in the rubble or who will never
be found, leading sources in Jenin to estimate that there have been about
90 deaths," reported Dr. Hillel Cohen, a public health doctor and
epidemiologist and member of delegation.
"Many of the houses that were destroyed by tank
shells and missiles were then bulldozed flat by the Israelis. If any bodies
were inside those, they may never be found. At the spot we were talking,
a neighbor saw a shell explode the house of a disabled man. The building
collapsed on top of him and his body has not yet been found."
Approximately 5,000 persons have been rendered homeless,
as the Israeli Defense Forces methodically destroyed residential areas
by attacking first with tanks and missiles, and completing the destruction
of homes and neighborhoods through the use of bulldozers. There are wide
swaths of land that have been clear cut of houses and inhabitants that
were previously occupied by scores of homes separated by narrow pathways
only a few meters wide.
Many Palestinians still struggle to live in the rubble
of partially destroyed homes with walls and roofs torn away and living
areas exposed to the elements, and the number of persons displaced or rendered
homeless is expected to increase as additional property are declared to
be uninhabitable or structurally unsound.
"There can be no doubt, based on the undisputed
number of civilians killed by Sharon's military, the obvious use of indiscriminate
forms of violence and weaponry, in addition to the testimony of eyewitnesses
to war crimes and countless instances and human cruelty unjustified by
any conceivable necessity, that there has been a massacre in Jenin,"
stated Carl Messineo, human rights attorney and member of the delegation.
"The evidence of a massacre here is apparent. The only basis on which
one could state that there was no massacre here is a political one."
Yet, the mainstream media have declared Jenin to not
be a massacre, most frequently citing a recent report by Human Rights Watch
that while admitting the civilian slaughter, and the frequency of Israeli
war crimes and crimes against humanity in Jenin, declared that the indiscriminate
killings did not constitute a massacre. That report, which was announced
at the same time that the U.N. bowed to Israeli wishes and withdrew its
request to investigate Jenin, has been used to legitimize the Israeli and
U.N. decision from growing worldwide criticism.
Based on the intensity of the shelling, Jenin residents
initially guessed that there might have been hundreds or thousands killed.
The numbers were much lower since many fled their homes, despite the curfew,
at the first sounds of gunfire. The media contrasted these early, unconfirmed
rumors to the confirmed body count of 55 to discredit the Palestinians
and to scoff at the use of the word massacre.
Yet in the dictionary, massacre is defined as "savage
and indiscriminate killing" clearly an apt description of what took
place. Some of the most well-known, historic massacres had fewer or similar
numbers killed. In the Boston Massacre (March 5, 1770) , British troops
shot into a crowd of protestors who were throwing rocks and ice-balls at
the troops, killing 5 and wounding 6. Among the five killed was Crispus
Attucks, an African-American, considered the first to die in the American
Revolution. In the Paoli Massacre (Sept. 20-21, 1777), also during the
American Revolutionary war British troops killed 53 Americans, all soldiers.
At the Ludlow Massacre (April 20, 1914), 20 coal miners and family members
were killed by National Guard during a strike by the United Mine Workers
of America. The Sharpesville Massacre (March 21, 1960) is one of the most
famous political massacres of the recent era, Apartheid troops fired into
a crowd of African demonstrators, killing 69 and wounding 180. The demonstrators
were protesting the pass laws that restricted the movement of Africans,
not unlike the restrictions now imposed by Israel on Palestinians in the
West Bank and Gaza. The Sharpesville killings were followed by massive
arrests of activists - a pattern followed by the Israelis in Jenin and
throughout the West Bank.
Messineo explained, "The decision to reject the
apparent evidence of massacre is a political decision, a mischaracterization
used to immunize Ariel Sharon, the Israeli government and its U.S. backer,
from responsibility for this unconscionable and indiscriminate military
attack against Palestinian civilians. Even the killings of so-called Palestinian
fighters cannot be justified under any standard of international humanitarian
law, which recognizes the inherent right of people to self defense. When
an invading army invades your homeland, fighting in self defense is justified
to protect your self, your family and your people."
As the world knows, this is not Ariel Sharon's first
massacre. In 1953, Ariel Sharon led his Unit 101 into Qibya, a civilian
village, to execute Israel's official policy of collective retaliatory
punishment, ostensibly because there had been a recent killing of three
Israelis. When Sharon left Qibya, sixty seven civilians had been killed
by Israel's military operation, between one half and two thirds of whom
were women and children. Fifty six houses, the village mosque, school and
water tank were destroyed. There has never been any dispute among historians
as to whether Qibya - which has parallels to the scope of indiscriminate
killing in Jenin - was a massacre.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who directed the Jenin massacre,
has been found responsible even by the Israeli government for the 1982
massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in southern Lebanon in
which up to 2,000 civilians were killed.
The delegation includes Richard Becker, West Coast Coordinator
of the International Action Center and member of the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition
steering committee; Carl Messineo, attorney and co-founder of the Partnership
for Civil Justice and member of the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition steering committee;
Sara Flounders, Co-Director of the International Action Center; Dr. Hillel
Cohen, doctor of public health and epidemiologist and delegate of 1199
National Health and Human Services Employees Union.