Fw: [ANSWER]: EYEWITNESS JENIN: Evidence of a massacre

From: "A.N.S.W.E.R." <answer.general at action-mail.org>
To: <answer.general at action-mail.org>
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2002 10:06 PM
Subject: [ANSWER]: EYEWITNESS JENIN: Evidence of a massacre

 Evidence of Massacre in Jenin
 -Report from Friday, May 23-
 A fact-finding delegation dispatched to the West Bank and 
 Gaza that includes legal and public health experts and 
 human rights activists 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. The delegation will 
 prepare a report describing its findings in the coming 
 weeks. Below is their initial dispatch from Jenin.
 Jenin, Like Qibya in 1953, Is Another Massacre by Ariel 

 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 camp.

 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 
 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 
 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.
 Other field reports from the A.N.W.E.R. delegation are 
 available online:
 - Gaza: 
 - Ramallah: 
 The A.N.S.W.E.R. fact-finding delegation will give direct 
 testimony on the findings of its trip at the June 1 
 Emergency National Anti-War Conference. For more details 
 about this conference, go to 
 http://www.internationalanswer.org . This will include the 
 presentation of photographs, video, written documents and 
 a report.