Evidence Speaks for Itself
have been to several regions of the world and have seen destruction of
various kinds, but the scenes in the Jenin camp were different, terrible
and tragic. We retrieved charred corpses and others that were rotting,
and they all belonged to civilians, including women, children and elderly
persons. Some bodies were buried under the rubble of houses destroyed
by the army. It was a real massacre and the scenes were terrible."
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the man found responsible for the Sabra and
Shatila massacre two decades ago, revealed his intentions four weeks prior
to the assault on Jenin in the Yedioth Aharonot (March 5, 2002): "The
Palestinians must be hit and it must be very painful. We must cause them
losses, victims so that they feel the heavy price."
without warning, civilians found Israeli bulldozers crushing their homes
while they were inside. HRW reports that soldiers refused to allow relatives
to remove a paralyzed man, and bulldozed on top of him. An elderly man
pleaded with a soldier to stop demolishing his home while his family was
inside; when he returned he was shot dead. Helicopters fired anti-tank
missiles into houses, and families trying to escape were shot at. HRW
found that "the destruction extended well beyond any conceivable
purpose of gaining access to fighters and was vastly disproportionate
to the military objectives pursued."
Medical relief workers were targeted and HRW states that Israeli forces shot a 27-year-old uniformed nurse in the heart, while she was aiding a wounded civilian. The hospital and ambulances were shot at repeatedly and suffered much damage. Use of civilians as "human shields" was common, especially in opening doors that were suspected of being booby-trapped. Kamal Tawalbi described how soldiers rested their guns on his and his fourteen-year-old son's shoulders as they fired for hours. The report also documents cases of summary executions, a clear war crime.
April 9, 2002, Ha'artez reported that Shimon Peres referred to the attack
as a massacre and was worried about world opinion. Accordingly, the Israeli
army is believed to have "cleaned up" before allowing observers
to enter the camps and there have been reports of trucks taking bodies
away to mass graves. Brian Wood, a human rights activist from Colorado,
reported that "the Israeli military has confirmed they have taken
bodies to the Jordan Valley," and a large number of missing persons
remain unaccounted for.
have been calling for an international protection force, and the international
community has a responsibility to provide such protection. However, the
U.S. government is adamantly blocking this initiative, and its support
for Israel's crimes only guarantees continued human tragedies on both