Alberta Arab News
April 15, 2004
What took place in the Jenin refugee camp two years ago on April 3 didn’t happen, if the North American media are to be believed.
No massacre took place. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians weren’t gunned down or buried alive in the rubble of their homes. Arab children didn’t die lingering deaths because they were denied medical attention.
No, none of this happened. Why? The Sharon government said so, and its version of events gained wide acceptance because our media are too afraid or indifferent to stand up to the local zionist lobbies.
One of the worst examples of journalistic bias was the pro-Israeli propaganda was the Time magazine story “The Battle of Jenin”:
“A Time investigation concludes that there was no wanton massacre in Jenin, no deliberate slaughter of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers. …Palestinian officials had said that as many as 800 had been killed. As is the case in the Middle East, the figure was inflated to fit local beliefs of Israeli depravity and Palestinian victimization.”*
The figure might have been high, but these “local beliefs” are well founded. Without depravity and Palestinian victimization, Israel would not exist. From Herzl to Jabotinsky to ben Gurion to Rabin to Sharon, zionists have acknowledged that cruelty toward Arabs is essential to zionism and Israel, e.g.:
• “Neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can be used to disallow terror as a means of war... We are very far from any moral hesitations when concerned with the national struggle. First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today...” (Yitzhak Shamir, August 1943)
• “We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimetre of Eretz Israel…. Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.” (Israeli Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan, April 14, 1983)
A massacre would be consistent with past Israeli practices—Deir Yassin April 9, 1948, and Qana, April 18, 1996—but the Time story repeated the Israeli line that a “battle” took place with armed guerrillas, and that the invasion was specifically targeted at the Palestinians’ “terrorist infrastructure.” Israel has spent its entire existence justifying terror in the name of its “right to exist, and it has found more than enough willing parrots to sell that image.
Compare this version with these two accounts from The Independent:
• “Thousands of terrified civilians, women and children, cowered inside their homes while the Israeli helicopters rained down rockets on them and tanks fired shells into the camp. The wounded were left to die. The Israeli army refused to allow ambulances in to treat them, which is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions... The Independent on Sunday has seen…meticulous handwritten notes, of which several copies have been made. There are records of everybody who used to live in the camp, and it will be possible to match the missing with the accounts of the dead. The Palestinians say there are 200 missing.”†
• “Derrick Pounder, professor of forensic medicine at Dundee University… visited the ruined camp and said: ‘Claims that a large number of civilians died and are under the rubble are highly credible. It is not believable that only a few people have been killed, given the reports we have that a large number of people were inside three- and four-storey buildings when they were demolished.’”**
The Time piece reeked of boosterism, as the reporter openly sided with the Israeli attack and demonized the Palestinians as terrorists.
One particular piece of contentious information concerned the casualty figures. The true number of dead and will never be known for certain because Israel prohibited international aid workers from entering the killing ground, and tried to cover up the extent of the killing.
Israeli Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz gave the first estimates of 200 Palestinians killed and 1,500 wounded. On April 12, Ha’aretz reported the figure of 200 killed. Three days later, it reported that “dozens—not hundreds” had been killed. The new sanitized figures were 54 Palestinians dead and 49 missing in 12 days of fighting.
This bizarre reversal was too much even for Ha’aretz, which said in an April 19 editorial: “In Israel, too, suspicions were raised that there was truth to the Palestinian claims. Many feared that Jenin would be added to the black list of massacres that have shocked the world.”
At Jenin, a military forced visited collective punishment on unarmed civilians and poorly armed resistance fighters. It was a massacre, yet the predominant opinion is that it wasn’t—the Jenin massacre is a myth, a non-massacre, journalistic hysteria.
The UN report was vague and incomplete because investigators were denied access, and the Israelis had literally buried the evidence. Despite the absence of hard data, eyewitness accounts leave no doubt about what happened. The following comes from an American volunteer:
“When the Israeli army authorized us to enter the camp, it was too late. As soon as we set foot on the ground, we smelt the odour of death and of the corpses that the army had left in the streets and alleys and under the rubble.... 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.” ††
The Jenin massacre never happened—just like the Jewish holocaust never happened.
* Matt Rees, “The Battle of Jenin,” Time <www.time.com/time/2002/jenin/story.html>
† Justin Huggler, “The camp that became a slaughterhouse,” The Independent, April 14, 2002.
** Phil Reeves, “Fresh evidence of Jenin atrocities,” The Independent, April 18, 2002.
†† For a comprehensive account, see Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to General Assembly resolution ES-10/10 (Report on Jenin)