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News ::
4/29 Protest at the Israeli Consulate, 5:30PM Monday
28 Apr 2002
Protest Israel's Continuing War Against the Palestinian People. Stand Up With Palestine! When: Monday, April 29
5:30 - 7:00 PM Where: Israeli consulate, Boston 20 Park Plaza, Stadtler office building
For more info, please contact
A.N.S.W.E.R. Boston
(Act Now to Stop War & End Racism)
ANSWERBoston (at)
617 522-6626

By Brian Becker
[The writer is a co-director of the International Action
Center and a member of the steering committee of the
A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
Its historical value resides not only in the singularly
important fact that it was the biggest demonstration
in solidarity with the resistance movement of the
Palestinian people in U.S. history. It also constituted a
breakthrough for the U.S. anti-war movement and a
repudiation of the shameful, backward political legacy
of ignoring the just cause of the Palestinian people....

For full statement, please go to


By Joyce Chediac

The Israeli military has reduced the West Bank camp of Jenin
to rubble. United Nations Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen,
who toured the camp after the Israeli assault, called what
he saw "horrific beyond belief."

But Jenin is not only the site of Israeli war crimes. Great
heroism is part of the story of this camp. Jenin has become
a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

Armed with only a few rifles and a little ammunition,
Jenin's population held off the Israeli invaders for 10
days. People used fertilizer, soda cans, cell phones and
determination to strike a stinging blow against the most
powerful military in the Middle East.

Many fought to the death, meanwhile killing 23 heavily armed
Israeli soldiers and wounding 75 more in hand-to-hand
combat, and giving both Israel and its U.S. backers reason
to pause.

The defiance of Jenin's youths in the face of death is
already legend. The Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish,
speaking to 25,000 at a Palestine solidarity event in
Beirut, Lebanon, on April 15, told the story of a young
Jenin man, who, about to die, called his friend and said:
"Tell me a joke. I want to die laughing." (Beirut Daily
Star, April 16)

Jenin affirms the mass character of the Palestinian
struggle, and how deeply the armed resistance is rooted in
the population. The defenders of Jenin have exposed the
weakness of the Israeli military. The most sophisticated
weapons in the world cannot extinguish the struggle of a
whole population committed to fight for their rights.


Even the New York Times (April 21), certainly no friend of
the Palestinian people, wrote that "the mismatch in force or
arms was stark." The Israeli Army used "Vulcan antiaircraft
guns, able to shoot 3,000 rounds a minute, inside the camp.

"It used Cobra helicopters with thermal detection capability
to fire TOW missiles--intended for use against tanks on open
battlefields--through walls of houses, some with
noncombatants inside. It deployed scores of Merkava tanks
and armored vehicles equipped with machine guns. It used
bulldozers to raze civilian homes, crushing more and more of
them with less warning, Palestinians said.

"Buzzing drones and balloons carrying cameras monitored the
fighting from above, and from a hilltop encampment just
outside Jenin, officers coordinated the combat, using
detailed maps and sophisticated communications

"The Palestinians were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and
crude explosives, generally made from fertilizer. ... Soda
cans were strung in the alleys, soldiers said, giving away
the patrols' positions when they bumped into them."

The Times explained that the Israeli military thought it
would subdue the camp within 48 hours, and did not expect
the resistance encountered. Then, "on Tuesday, April 9, the
Israeli Army received the biggest shock of its West Bank

"Four soldiers walked into a courtyard near the center of
the camp, and straight into an ambush. Four or five
Palestinian gunmen opened fire and killed them all. When
other Israelis rushed to the scene, they were also
surprised, and nine more were cut down. ...

"Elsewhere in the camp at about the same time, a booby trap
detonated a string of explosives, bringing down three
buildings," continued the Times, citing Israeli military
sources. What ensued then was the Israeli destruction of the

What do Palestinians say happened at Jenin?

After the camp fell, hundreds of its residents were
arrested. They were later released in Taibeh, a small
Palestinian village inside the military cordon and
accessible only after a hike of several kilometers across
the border and through almond orchards. A reporter from the
Canadian Globe and Mail made that hike, and interviewed
Jenin residents who had defended the camp.

The following account appeared in the April 11 issue of that

"They fought as long as they could in the Jenin refugee
camp, the young Palestinian man said. They hid in alleyways
and fought with rifles against attack helicopters and tanks.
Buildings collapsed on them. ...

"Israel said yesterday that it controlled all but a small
corner of the camp, now a heap of smoldering rubble. Several
hundred fighters reportedly gave themselves up yesterday,
after running out of ammunition; others are believed to have
fought to the death. ...

"The story of the ambush on Tuesday that felled 13 of those
soldiers was being told and retold yesterday. 'One, dressed
like a soldier, speaking Hebrew, told them to come, come,'
one man recounted in the street of Taibeh to approving nods
from his listeners.

" 'And when they ran after him into a building, he exploded
himself and then the building fell in on them; it was wired
to explosives,' and then others shot at them.

"How did a small group of Palestinian fighters hold off the
might of the Israeli army? Their familiarity with the warren-
like camp gave them an advantage over the Israeli soldiers,
but the fighters in Taibeh yesterday offered other reasons.

"The fighting, they said, was not led by any central
command; the Palestinian Authority led the fight against an
earlier Israeli incursion, but this time, much of the
population took up weapons.

"They are a very strong people, who said, 'This is my home,
my land, my camp, and even though I have only primitive
weapons, I am willing to die in the camp,' " said a 26-year-
old man named Mohammed, his head swathed in bandages.

"Mohammed said the fighters at first used cell phones to
communicate, but soon ran out of charged batteries when the
electricity was cut off, and fought on their own.

"Hussein, who said he was a farmer, also attributed the
fighters' tenacity to their motives: 'The Israelis are not
fighting with a very strong belief. We are defending our
beliefs and our honor and our land.'...

" 'We learned from our parents and our grandparents who left
their land [ahead of the Israeli army] in 1948 and 1967,'
said a man who gave his name as Ahmed. 'We learned: Do not
leave your land at any cost.' "

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