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News ::
Jenin 'massacre' reduced to death toll of 56
01 May 2002
Modified: 05:14:14 PM
Why have the Indymedia kiddies from around the world been pimping out the false numbers as previously claimed by the Palestinian Authority? Because you are all shills and dupes for Yasser Arafat and YOU HAVE ALL BEEN EXPOSED TO THE WORLD.
JENIN, West Bank ? Palestinian officials yesterday put the death
toll at 56 in the two-week Israeli assault on Jenin, dropping claims of a
massacre of 500 that had sparked demands for a U.N. investigation.

The official Palestinian body count, which is not disproportionate to
the 33 Israeli soldiers killed in the incursion, was disclosed by Kadoura
Mousa Kadoura, the director of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement for the northern
West Bank, after a team of four Palestinian-appointed investigators reported
to him in his Jenin office.

[Two weeks ago, when European and particularly London newspapers were
reporting estimates of "hundreds" massacred, Israeli sources in Washington
said they expected the Palestinian toll to reach "45 to 55."]

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan suggested yesterday, in the wake
of the Palestinian body count, that he may disband a U.N. fact-finding team
that was to visit the camp to determine whether a massacre had taken place.

Mr. Annan was responding to a decision by the Israeli security Cabinet
earlier in the day not to cooperate with the U.N. team.

The U.N.-Israeli dispute appeared unrelated to the Palestinian admission
there had been no massacre.

The Palestinians had suggested that most of the bodies were buried
beneath the rubble of houses bulldozed by Israeli troops. No digging for bodies
was taking place here, and there was no stench that could have come from
decaying human flesh.

The earlier Palestinian claims had sparked international outrage and
prompted the Bush administration to press Israel to accept a fact-finding
mission by the United Nations, an organization that the Jewish state regards
as having a pro-Palestinian bias.

Mr. Kadoura yesterday showed a reporter for The Washington Times the
official Palestinian list of those who died. It contained 50 names. Six additional
bodies, he said, had not been identified.

He no longer used the ubiquitous Palestinian charge of "massacre" and
instead portrayed the battle as a "victory" for Palestinians in resisting
Israeli forces. "Here the Israelis, who tried to break the Palestinian willpower,
have been taught a lesson," Mr. Kadoura said.

He insisted that Israel had tried but failed, thanks to the heavy fighting,
to destroy the entire warren of homes in the camp that had housed 11,000

The destruction, pictured graphically on television, appeared linked
to Israeli bulldozing of the houses from which the remnant of the resistance
forces were firing.

In fact, it covers the size of a large football field and constitutes
only about 10 percent of the housing in the camp, and a far smaller proportion
of the housing in the city, which was largely left untouched by the Israeli

The figures shown to The Times included 233 injured persons, mainly
men. The figures revealed that 18 persons had been injured and one had died
after the fighting had ended, the result of accidentally detonating either
shells left after the fighting, or booby traps that were set by Palestinian
gunmen throughout the camp.

A British expert attached to the International Red Cross said these
booby traps were almost identical to those used by the Irish Republican Army.

The British claim suggested to analysts that IRA guerrillas were schooled
in terrorist weaponry and irregular warfare, as were many radical guerrilla
movements, in Palestinian, Syrian and Iranian training camps in Lebanon.

From behind a desk bedecked by portraits of Mr. Arafat, a string of
past "martyrs" and of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Palestinian chief
official in the city, who is also the Fatah leader, portrayed in an interview
the events as another chapter in a long saga of resistance to foreign invaders
? from Crusader times onward ? that, he said, had made Jenin "the heart of
Palestine" for centuries.

The propaganda war continues, meanwhile, in the refugee camp itself.
Families whose homes had been destroyed were ordered to sit and lie inside
tents pitched near the destruction, to be available for interviews and filming
with foreign reporters and photographers. At dusk, with the press opportunities
concluded, they returned to houses offered to them in the undamaged city
or in the rest of the refugee camp.

Other young men, members of various factions, have been on duty in
the camp's narrow streets, eager to conduct foreign correspondents to places
where they say Israelis killed militants after they surrendered or had been

Others in the city say the resistance to the Israeli incursion had
been carried out by only about 10 percent of the militants who had originally
been in the area. Most had retreated into the hills or into city back streets
as the Israelis entered the area, they said.

Families living in houses directly opposite the destroyed area have
told The Washington Times that Israeli soldiers, who temporarily occupied
their houses just before the final battle began, treated them without violence
and assured them: "You will not be harmed."

They confined the 36 members of the Abu Khalil family to two rooms,
allowing them out one by one, and set up a snipers' point upstairs through
two holes in the wall ? under a family framed message in Arabic: "There is
No God but Allah and Mohammed is His Messenger."

They confiscated identity cards but left them on the table before slipping
out during the night.

At the United Nations in New York, Undersecretary-General Kieran Prendergast
said "a thorough, credible and balanced report on recent events in Jenin refugee
camp would not be possible without the cooperation of the government of Israel."

"Since it appears from today's Cabinet statement by Israel that the
difficulties in the way of deployment of the fact-finding team will not be
resolved anytime soon, the secretary-general is minded to disband the team,"
he told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council.

Diplomats said Mr. Prendergast told council members that Mr. Annan
was leaning toward disbanding the three-member team, which has been joined
by numerous advisers. The team, which was to have arrived in Jenin on Saturday,
remained in Geneva yesterday.

The Security Council is to take up the issue of whether or not to disband
the mission at a meeting today.

The United States put forward the resolution adopted by the Security
Council welcoming the dispatch of a U.N. team to find out what happened in
Jenin during the Israeli military's attacks.

Israel initially agreed to the idea, but subsequently raised questions
over the composition of the team, its scope of inquiry, who could be called
as a witness and what documents would be presented to the panel.

Mr. Prendergast said that "with every passing day, it becomes more
difficult to determine what happened" in Jenin. U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte
said Mr. Annan was considering whether to let the fact-finding team begin
its work in Geneva or "simply abandoning the mission on the assumption that
satisfactory terms of reference could not be worked out."

? This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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Meanwhile, back in reality. . .
01 May 2002
'Just get out!'
At what number of deaths does a conflict become a slaughter?

Gabriel Ash

How many Palestinians are dead in Jenin? Dozens? Hundreds? How many hundreds?
If the number turns out to be exactly 641, or exactly 139, will that be a PR
"victory" for the Palestinians, or for the Israelis? As journalists are
lining up to declare the "victor,"
CNN runs a web poll about each side's credibility. Soon we may see the dead
jostling with the living in CNN's sordidly named "crossfire." As a mental exercise, let each of us decide at exactly how many deaths the
scale tips from the Israeli side to the Palestinian side, at what point an
incursion becomes a slaughter, at what point a slaughter becomes a massacre,
at what point a massacre becomes a genocide.

This is all very important, PR-wise.

For eleven days, IDF soldiers have been preventing journalists, medics,
rescue teams and aid convoys from entering Jenin.

This is how they "protect" the truth inside from all those outside who might
want to
"misuse" it against Israel.

After all, the truth is such a terrible weapon. It would be wrong to allow
one side to
have more of it than the other. There must be balance. But only regarding the
There need not be balance in firepower, for example. It is O.K. that Israel
has nuclear
weapons and Apache helicopters, paid for by American taxpayers who can't
afford to pay for adequate health care, while Palestinians fight with rifles
and home-made explosives.

There need not be balance about land either. It is O.K. that Israelis control
all the
land and Palestinians none.

Nor is balance a requirement regarding liberty, or human rights, which
Israelis enjoy and Palestinians do not. But there must be balance in
describing what happened in Jenin.

That is why accuracy is very important in Jenin. Was it exactly a "massacre,"
as Perez called it and then denied, or a "devastation," or just an
"incursion" that used "minimal force" to achieve "necessary goals," such as
showing Palestinians who's the boss and what you get for upsetting him? If
you use too strong a word, if you match the expression to the stench of the
decomposing bodies, Israel will reprimand you, brand you an anti-Semite,
maybe even expel you. Be forewarned.

But what can one do? Even the cautious and pro-Israeli The Economist saw
clear evidence of war crimes. U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen described the
devastation in Jenin as "horrific beyond belief," and said it was "morally
repugnant" that Israel blocked humanitarian emergency workers from entering
Jenin for 11 days. Israel is still blocking rescue teams, while Perez is
pondering whether to send Roed-Lansen home with a note to his parents or
merely revoke his weekly allowance. The undiplomatic words of the Norwegian
diplomat, but not the undiplomatic reality these words refer to, really hurt
Israel's highly evolved moral sensibility.

Having agreed to it earlier, the government of Israel is now blocking the
fact-finding mission to Jenin. The problem, according to Israel, is that too
many of the members have "humanitarian" experience, and might not understand
the requirements of arfare. It is easy to imagine the people and the resumes
Israel would want to see instead: maybe a few Latin American death-squad
leaders; or Lt. William Calley, whose experience at Mai Lai could prove
invaluable in determining what is and what isn't a massacre; or perhaps the
French General Paul Aussaresses, commander of the 1957 French paratroopers'
attack on the Casbah of Algier. To top it all, war crimes connoisseur
Madeleine Albright, or even Henri Kissinger, could provide moral leadership,
as well as much needed verbal elasticity.

As long as there is balance.

For the Israeli public and politicians, the widespread, and very unbalanced,
opprobrium is just one more affirmation that the "whole world is against us."

Echoing popular sentiment, Israel's President Moshe Katsav whines: "with all
due respect and esteem for people of conscience and the bleeding-heart
liberals of the world, I don't understand why they've clamped their mouths
shut for a year and a half while the cruelest of unprecedented terrorist acts
were committed against Israelis citizens everywhere."

President Katsav, are all the inhabitants of Jenin terrorists? Are most? Is
God's own
standard, of requiring only ten righteous men to save a city, too lax for
you? What part of "collective punishment is a war crime" don't you

The fact that the eruption of violence during the last eighteen months
baffles you so
much makes me wonder, President Katsav. Do you understand the idea of
liberty? Have you ever read the universal declaration of human rights?

Do you understand that "universal" means "applies to everybody equally"?

Does the declination of possessive pronouns confuse you? Surely you are at
ease with "mine" and "ours." But do you also understand the concepts behind
"yours," "his," "hers," and "theirs"? When I look at the map of the land grab
for your illegal settlements, I have serious doubts.

Are you troubled why "people of conscience" do not condemn terrorism? Even to
make such an accusation you must be living in an alternate universe. But I
will answer your whining twice nevertheless.

The long answer, President Katsav, "with all due respect and esteem," is that
the suicide bombers did not land in Israel from outer space. The explosive
belts might as well carry a label that reads "made in the Greater Eretz

The suicide bombs are the mutant flowers of Israel's brutalizing occupation,
from the seeds of the 54-year-long dehumanization of Palestinians. They are
the ghosts of your brutality coming back to haunt you, the mementos of your
war against memory.

The massive and deliberate destruction of Palestinian civil records in the
West Bank in the last weeks is but the most recent chapter in a war against
Palestinian memory that began in 1948, with the annihilation of 400
Palestinian villages. But you seem to learn nothing from history, indeed from
your own history: ghosts always return, each time more violently.

For those ready to die, their spiritless hatred towards you is what remains
after you
have bulldozed their past and their future. Whether you like it or not, they
are your
bastard offspring. Everything they know about hate, you taught them.
Everything they
forgot about humanity, you made them forget. Give them a hug now, as they
have proven themselves worthy of their parents – you.

The short answer, President Katsav, is really short: just get out!

Call the army home. Call the occupation off. And get out of the Occupied
Just get out!

Don't mumble about how "difficult" or "complex" the situation is. It isn't.
You are the
oppressor. You are the occupier. You park your tanks on plundered land. You
fill your swimming pools with stolen water. You kill and destroy in order to
inherit. So don't bullshit about "the situation." Just get out!

Stop abusing people. Stop abusing language. Stop spinning your own moral
cocoon. Stop turning your country and your people into a metaphor of evil.
Just get out!

Don't wait for Bush. Don't wait for Arafat. Don't wait to negotiate with the
Palestinian leader who will finally accept your dominion. There is nothing to
about. Just get out!

Take your rabid Jewish fundamentalists from Kiriat Arba and Beit El with you.
Load them on buses and pump the gas pedal until the hills of the West Bank
vanish in the rear mirror. Just get out!

Gather your thugs from the borderless "border police," give them scholarships
and send them to school again. Let them discover there is more to life than
beating people to a pulp. Just get out!

Take your checkpoints, with all their petty humiliations and deadly snipers,
with you.
And just get out!

Send the Shin-Bet packing. After 35 years, the world had enough of your
clever jailers and torturers. Take them with you and just get out!

Let your hideous bulldozers loose on the illegal settlements of Ma'ale
Edomim, Har Homa and Gilo. There is plenty of demolition work for them there.
Let them continue until the mountain line bears no more memory of your rape.
Then just get out!

Don't apologize. Don't justify. Don't explain. There is nothing left to
Honestly. Just get out!

Don't even worry about the thousands of olive trees, symbols of peace, you
Someone will plant them again.

Just get out!

Gabriel Ash encourages your comments: gash (at)
And from Ha'aretz
01 May 2002
Ha'aretz 24.04.02

Amira Hass

Operation "Destroy the Data"

It's a scene that is repeating itself in hundreds of Palestinian offices
taken over by IDF troops for a few hours or days in the West Bank: smashed,
burned and broken computer terminals heaped in piles and thrown into yards;
server cabling cut, hard disks missing, disks and diskettes scattered and
broken, printers and scanners broken or missing, laptops gone, telephone
exchanges that disappeared or were vandalized, and paper files burned, torn,
scattered, or defaced - if not taken. And it's all in rooms full of smashed
furniture, torn curtains, broken windows, smashed-in doors, walls full of
holes, filthy floors and soiled bathrooms. Here and there, the soldiers left
obscene graffiti or letters full of hatred, but compared to the data that was
destroyed or taken, the insults read like poetry. Even the overflowing
toilets look more like human weakness compared to the organized vandalism
reflected in the piles of smashed computers.

It's not merely the expense of the hardware that has to be replaced. The loss
is immeasurable in shekels or dollars. Years of information built into
knowledge, time spent thinking by thousands of people working to build their
civil society and their future or trying to build a private sector that would
bring a sense of economic stability to their country.

These are the data banks developed in Palestinian Authority institutions like
the Education Ministry, the Higher Education Ministry and the Health
Ministry. These are the data banks of the non-governmental organizations and
research institutes devoted to developing a modern health system, modern
agricultural, environmental protection and water conservation. These are the
data banks of human rights organizations, banks and private commercial
enterprises, infirmaries, and supermarkets. They all were clearly the targets
for destruction in the military operation called Defensive Shield.

The Israeli public has been spared the sights of the destruction. Here and
there, a photo of some demolished office sneaks into the TV news shows. But
Israeli TV news doesn't find a few seconds to report on a Palestinian woman
or a child of nine who was shot dead from a distance, inside their homes, by
an anonymous Israeli soldier, so how can it find time or reason to report on
the crazed destruction perpetrated by a unit of soldiers in one office.

The IDF has given up denying that some soldiers looted - money, jewels and
video cameras - private homes. That can be explained by officers too weak to
impose discipline on their soldiers and by soldiers too weak to fight
material temptation. But the systematic destruction of the data banks was not
a matter of personal weakness by either officers or soldiers.

Let's not deceive ourselves; this was not a mission to search and destroy the
terrorist infrastructure. If the forces breaking into every hard disk of
every bank and clinic, commercial consultant's office or PA ministry, thought
that a list of weapons or wanted men was inside the disk, all they had to do
was copy the information and pass it on to the Shin Bet. If they thought
incriminating evidence was hidden in the Education Ministry and the
International Bank of Palestine and in a shop that rents prosthetics, the
soldiers would have examined document after document, and not thrown the
files on the floor without opening them.

This was not a whim, or crazed vengeance, by this or that unit, nor a
personal vandalistic urge of a soldier whose buddies didn't dare stop him.
There was a decision made to vandalize the civic, administrative, cultural
infrastructure developed by Palestinian society. Was it an explicit order or
one given with a wink? Was it an order or was it the result of permission
given to soldiers to do what they want? Did the order - or wink - come down
from the battalion commander or from the brigadier? Was it from the
headquarters of IDF forces in the West Bank or from IDF Operations? Did it
come from the general in command of the Central Command or from general

Either way, the scenes of systematic destruction show how the IDF translated
into the field the instructions inherent in the political echelon's policies:
Israel must destroy Palestinian civil institutions, sabotaging for years to
come the Palestinian goal for independence, sending all of Palestinian
society backward. It's so easy and comforting to think of the entire
Palestinian society as primitive, bloodthirsty terrorists, after the raw
material and product of their intellectual, cultural, social and economic
activity has been destroyed. That way, the Israeli public can continue to be
deceived into believing that terror is a genetic problem and not a
sociological and political mutation, horrific as it may be, derived from the
horrors of the occupation.

And farther back in reality
01 May 2002
Why was there no cry for get-out when the Hashemite Kingdom occupied the West Bank from 1948-1967?

A question that has never been answered by Yasser Arafat's American and European Apologists.
Reality Redux
01 May 2002
Oh please.

Your little attempt at delegitimizing the obvious human rights tragedy in Jenin failed; so, now you want to switch the subject? Cute. You want to move back to discussions of Jabotinsky and other Jewish brownshirt types in Mandate Palestine, too? Or to the Balfour Declaration? I'm happy to clean your clock for you historically, but I don't think debating with someone who is probably a paid flack for AIPAC for an audience of probably a few dozen a day on Boston Indymedia is worth my time.

And, for the record, Palestinians always had as many political factions as the Israelis or anyone else. Some could live with Jordanian rule prior to '67, some definitely could not. How thoughtful of you to speak for the entire Palestinian people on that matter. Not that the Palestinians would've been under Jordanian rule at all if the Israelis hadn't stolen their country from them in '48. But hey, that's just a minor technicality, right? Still, the Jordanians never sucked as bad as the Israelis when it came to relations with the Palestinians. I think the world is pretty clear on that these days. Even if the U.S. government isn't quite on the stick yet.