Are the Israelis Guilty of Mass Murder? The Scotsman Friday 19 Apr 2002 http://www.news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=417052002 By Ben Lynfield and Rory Macmillan in Jenin They left as departing heroes, waving victory salutes and grinning as they went. But even as Israels forces pulled out of the Jenin refugee camp on the West Bank, relief workers were claiming the carnage and destruction left behind was like an earthquake. They spoke of a war crime on the scale of the Bosnia and Kosovo wars. The United Nations, allowed access after 12 days during which ambulances were turned away and scores of injured bled to death, struggled to find words to describe the devastation. Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN special envoy, said simply: We have expert people here who have been in war zones and earthquakes and they say they have never seen anything like it. It is horrifying beyond belief. The UN was at last beginning to extract the corpses and search for survivors beneath the rubble, as well as provide food, water and shelter to camp residents. Its officials were unable to bring to mind a time when they had been so obstructed as they had been by the Israelis. Peter Hansen, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, who had served in the Balkans, said: I and my colleagues working in crisis situations for decades do not recall a situation where co-operation from the authorities has been less than what we have experienced from the Israeli government. It is beyond any human decency to let ambulances, food and water stand outside the camp, as has been the case. Mr Hansen said soldiers had shot up the UN clinic in the camp. Destroyed, along with everything else, was a storage container for vaccines. He was shaken by what he had seen: I today have seen decomposed bodies dug out. One was an 11-year-old child, judging from the size of his rib-cage. In a sense, what Mr Hansen was seeing was the logical outcome of the vow by the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to wipe out the last terror cell in the West Bank. He made similar comments as defence minister before the 1982 Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacres. The West Bank offensive, planned for months, was launched after a series of devastating terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, in busy Israeli street. Most were carried out by Yasser Arafats Fatah movement. Since the Palestinian uprising, or intifada, against Israeli occupation began 20 months ago, almost 2,000 people have died at last count 1,508 Palestinians, and 468 Israelis. The exact number to be added because of events in Jenin might never be known. On Wednesday, as outside agencies were again allowed into Jenin, medical workers removed the charred body of an old woman from the top floor of a building. At one point, the corpse slipped out of its blanket and on to the road. Children watching nearby began to scream. Body parts lay along the side of one alley. Flies and worms crawled on one corpse, before Palestinian Red Crescent workers placed the pieces into a white plastic bag and loaded them on to a trailer. Rory Macmillan, a Scottish lawyer and member of an international volunteer team that hoped its presence would mitigate against such atrocities, saw the horror at first hand: A 15-year-old boy stumbled by me howling, his hand destroyed, trailing blood and his hysterical mother. He had overturned one of many explosives that are still lying around. No camera frame is wide enough to capture the scale and awfulness of what has happened in the Jenin Refugee Camp. It is far worse than the TV pictures. Bodies are crawling with maggots. People are still finding corpses or bits of bodies. Many lie buried under the rubble that was their homes. We carried food, water and nappies, searching for the medical centre that people were too dazed to tell us where it was. One woman wailed, I dont want to drink or eat. I just want my son. The UN is mobilising rescue teams to see if anyone is still alive beneath the rubble. We have to follow the faintest hope, but the hope is faint, Mr Hansen said. The Israeli army prides itself on its teams that rescue people from rubble. It dispatched them to Turkey after an earthquake and to Kenya when the US embassy was blown up by Osama bin Ladens al-Qaeda group. Jenin, it seems, was a disaster too far. The army says the entire camp is booby-trapped. This is a lie, recent visitors say. Last night, international condemnation of Israeli action in Jenin was mounting. The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, called for an investigation into the onslaught. Speaking at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Mr Straw said the Israeli forces appeared to have used excessive and disproportionate force. Such is the scale of the evidence that there is a strong case for Israel to answer, he added. The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, appealed for the deployment of an international armed force in Palestinian areas as the only way to stop the bloodletting. He urged the UN Security Council to pursue the option of a robust force, often advocated by Palestinians, rather than wait for an invitation from Israel. In the US, [Un]President George Bush said Israel was keeping his promise to withdraw from Palestinian areas and was on schedule. He gave me a timetable and he met the timetable, Mr Bush said, dismissing assessments that the mission of his secretary of state, Colin Powell, had failed. Arab states are certain to step up criticism of the US for failing to take a strong enough line against the incursions and effectively offering Mr Sharon carte blanche to do it again. An Israeli colonel, identified only as Didi, who commanded troops in the camp, said soldiers were still surrounding it. They had spent the last few days going from house to house, searching for weapons, suspects and corpses. We did not find a lot of bodies in the houses. We found a terrorist who was wounded by our fire and was trapped. He was alive, he said. Summing up the operation, He told state-run Israel Radio: We have given the terrorists a very serious blow. There was a difficult battle, we lost many fighters, the camp was totally fortified. Until now we have taken out 25 bodies. We think there are 80-100 bodies, most if not all of them terrorists. Many of the fatalities among our soldiers were because we behaved as the most moral army in the world and the most careful army in the world. But this is war. Haaretz newspaper yesterday quoted an army officer as admitting that troops had forced Palestinian civilians at gunpoint to handle items the troops feared were booby-trapped, a violation of the Geneva Convention. http://free.freespeech.org/american...ine/jeninmassacre/IsraeliMassMurderJenin.html And they wonder why people wrap themselves in plastic explosives and try to kill Israelis!!!!