International pressure is building for Israel to grant entry to a UN investigative mission to Jenin. The mission’s current composition and lack of a clear mandate lead some to conclude that it may result in a kangaroo court judgment against Israel. A Washington Post editorial spoke of the “unbalanced mission to Jenin” (April 26), and repeated Israel’s concerns “about the mission’s fairness and objectivity.”
For example, UNRWA commissioner general Peter Hansen has given dozens of interviews about Jenin, recounting “wholesale obliteration,” “a human catastrophe that has few parallels in recent history,” “helicopters… strafing civilian residential areas,” and “bodies… piling up” in “mass graves.” Some of this carnage Hansen even claims to have seen “with my own eyes.” (The Weekly Standard May 6, 2002)
UNRWA is the United Nations group that operates the schools of Jenin, where children learn from textbooks that make no mention of Israel’s existence. UNRWA allows its food warehouses in Jenin to double as munitions dumps. And UNRWA public shelters in Jenin are used as bomb factories.
HonestReporting encourages members to write their local media, questioning if the UN can be relied upon to make a fair investigation.
===== RULES OF COMBAT =====
Israel insists that any inquiry into the events in Jenin must include details of the Palestinian forces and weaponry deployed in the town. Observers with military background — and not relief or political credentials — are essential for carrying out the mission’s mandate.
An American military observer is likely to know how the U.S. Army deals with similar situations of urban warfare. The U.S. Army field manual No. 3-06.11, “Combined Arms Operations in Urban Terrain” (February 2002), instructs soldiers how to enter a hostile town. The following excerpt in effect describes the battlefield faced by Israeli soldiers:
“When entering a building at lower levels, soldiers avoid entering through windows and doors since both can be easily booby trapped and are usually covered by enemy fire… When entering at lower levels, demolitions, artillery, tank fire, anti-armor weapons fire, or similar means can be used to create a new entrance to avoid booby traps… When the only entry to a building is through a window or door, supporting fire is directed at that location to destroy or drive away enemy forces… Before entering, soldiers may throw a cooked off hand grenade into the new entrance to reinforce the effects of the original blast.”
See the U.S. Army manual at:
===== 7 MORE JENIN REVELATIONS =====
(1) The Associated Press filed a revealing report entitled: “Jenin Graffiti Artists Adopt English for Benefit of VIP Visitors.”
In an effort to project a moderate image in advance of the arrival of the UN investigative team, the PA has orchestrated a painting-over of radical graffiti, such as the one declaring: “Osama bin Laden is a hero.” It has replaced them with placid slogans in English for the succession of VIP visitors now parading through the camp, such as members of the European Parliament, U.S. church leaders, Amnesty International Secretary-General Irene Khan, and Bianca Jagger, ex-wife of pop music star Mick Jagger.
AP reports that the polite, English graffiti is “very different from the venomous and warlike graffiti that has for years threatened ‘rivers of blood’ or ‘opening the gates of hell’ on the walls of every Palestinian town, village and refugee camp.”
(2) Photo Manipulation
In a dispatch entitled “Israel Rejects U.N. Jenin Probe,” Reuters uses a photo showing a body being dragged through the street. There’s no caption, so readers would naturally assume the photo is from Jenin — but in fact it is from Hebron, and depicts an Arab “collaborator” lynched by his fellow Arabs. (info from opinionjournal.com)
(3) Who Massacred Who?
An investigation published in the Boston Globe (April 29) concludes that Palestinian allegations “that a large-scale massacre of civilians was committed [in Jenin] appear to be crumbling under the weight of eyewitness accounts from Palestinian fighters who participated in the battle and camp residents who remained in their homes.”
In interviews with civilians and fighters in Jenin, the Globe says that “none reported seeing large numbers of civilians killed.” On the other hand, referring to the deaths of Israeli soldiers in Jenin, Abdel Rahman Sa’adi, a 14-year-old Islamic Jihad grenade-thrower, said “This was a massacre of the Jews, not of us.”
The Globe also quotes a spokesman for the Israeli army who says that Palestinians are moving bodies of people not killed in the Jenin fighting into graveyards around the camp “to score points with the UN committee.”
(4) A refreshingly straight article appears in the Globe and Mail (Canada) by Marcus Gee, “What really happened? The myth of Jenin grows” (April 27). Gee writes:
“Only after those deaths did the army send in bulldozers to knock down the booby-trapped buildings where terrorists were hiding, and even then it made frequent announcements by loud-hailer that civilians would be allowed to leave, as some did.
“That is considerably more than Hamas does when it dispatches killers to blow themselves up in Israeli buses, banquet halls and cafes. Yet militant leaders have the gall to blame Israel for attacking non-combatants.”
(5) What has become of all the bombs spread throughout the Jenin camp by Palestinians trying to booby-trapped buildings and alleyways?
Since Israel withdrew from Jenin on April 12, Palestinian medical sources reported that 14 camp residents — among them six children — have been wounded by explosives going off, with one child dying of his injuries.
Bertrand Bainvel of UNICEF told AFP that Palestinian schoolboys were “digging through the rubble for lost belongings and exposing themselves to dangerous explosives by doing so.”
Did your local media report this story?
Who is responsible for these casualties?
(6) Who are the 200 men holed up with Arafat? Arutz 7 reports that one of the Palestinian terrorists being sheltered in Arafat’s Ramallah compound is Mahmoud Damra, a leader of Arafat’s Force 17 who is responsible for the murder of three American citizens.
Last year, Israel Police captured three murderers who confessed to being part of a gang led by Damra. Aish-Kodesh Gilmore, a U.S. citizen and children of parents from Cleveland and Englewood, NJ, was murdered in Jerusalem on October 30, 2000. Binyamin and Talia Kahane were murdered in a drive-by shooting near Ofrah two months later, an attack that also wounded five of their children.
(7) “The Findings are Known in Advance,” an article by Ze’ev Segal in the liberal Israeli daily Ha’aretz, points out that the findings of the commission of inquiry into Sabra and Chatilla are regularly misreported in the Western media (to exaggerate the responsibility of Israel and Ariel Sharon, and to vastly exaggerate the number of civilians that died there), and that Israel should not expose itself to another fake, impartial inquiry which will “open the gates to war crimes tribunals and other investigations, and serve as the basis for anti-Israel decisions in UN institutions.”
HonestReporting asks: How is your local media presenting the Jenin issue? If you spot inconstancies or lack of balanced coverage, please alert your local editors.
Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.