Bulletin #15

From: Francis Feeley <Francis.Feeley@u-grenoble3.fr>
Subject: War Crimes.

17 April 2002
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues:

We have just received this message forwarded to us from our research
associate, Professor Richard Du Boff of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.


F. Feeley
Director of Research
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
Université Stendhal
Grenoble, France

From: "Richard B. Du Boff" <rduboff@brynmawr.edu>
Subject: War crimes

Now the US opposition to the International Criminal Court is making more
sense: we care not only about defending ourselves against arbitrary
charges by enemies of freedom, but also our true friends . . .


The Independent  16 April 2002
Amid the ruins of Jenin, the grisly evidence of a war crime.
From Phil Reeves in Jenin

A monstrous war crime that Israel has tried to cover up for a fortnight
has finally been exposed. Its troops have caused devastation in the centre
of the Jenin refugee camp, reached yesterday by The Independent, where
thousands of people are still living amid the ruins.

A residential area roughly 160,000 square yards about a third of a mile
wide has been reduced to dust. Rubble has been shovelled by bulldozers
into 30ft piles. The sweet and ghastly reek of rotting human bodies is
everywhere, evidence that it is a human tomb. The people, who spent days
hiding in basements crowded into single rooms as the rockets pounded in,
say there are hundreds of corpses, entombed beneath the dust, under a
field of debris, criss-crossed with tank and bulldozer treadmarks.

In one nearby half-wrecked building, gutted by fire, lies the fly-blown
corpse of a man covered by a tartan rug. In another we found the remains
of 23-year-old Ashraf Abu Hejar beneath the ruins of a fire-blackened room
that collapsed on him after being hit by a rocket. His head is shrunken
and blackened. In a third, five long-dead men lay under blankets.

A quiet. sad-looking young man called Kamal Anis led us across the
wasteland, littered now with detritus of what were once households, foam
rubber, torn clothes, shoes, tin cans, children's toys. He suddenly
stopped. This was a mass grave, he said, pointing.

We stared at a mound of debris. Here, he said, he saw the Israeli soldiers
pile 30 bodies beneath a half-wrecked house. When the pile was complete,
they bulldozed the building, bringing its ruins down on the corpses. Then
they flattened the area with a tank. We could not see the bodies. But we
ould smell them.

A few days ago, we might not have believed Kamal Anis. But the
escriptions given by the many other refugees who escaped from Jenin camp
were understated, not, as many feared and Israel encouraged us to believe,
exaggerations. Their stories had not prepared me for what I saw yesterday.
believe them now.

Until two weeks ago, there were several hundred tightly-packed homes in
this neighbourhood called Hanat al-Hawashim. They no longer exist.

Around the central ruins, there are many hundreds of half-wrecked homes.
Much of the camp - once home to 15,000 Palestinian refugees from the 1948
war - is falling down. Every wall is speckled and torn with bullet holes
and shrapnel, testimony of the awesome, random firepower of Cobra and
Apache helicopters that hovered over the camp.

Building after building has been torn apart, their contents of cheap fake
furnishings, mattresses, white plastic chairs spewed out into the road.
Every other building bears the giant, charred, impact mark of a helicopter
missile. Last night there were still many families and weeping children
still living amid the ruins, cut off from the humanitarian aid. Ominously,
we found no wounded, although there was a report of a man being rescued
from beneath ruins only an hour before we arrived.

Those who did not flee the camp, or not detained by the army, have spent
the bombardment in basements, enduring day after day of terror. Some were
forced into rooms by the soldiers, who smashed their way into houses
through the walls. The UN says half of the camp's 15,000 residents were
under 18. As the evening hush fell over these killing fields, we could
suddenly hear the children chattering. The mosques, once so noisy at
prayer time, were silent.

Israel was still trying to conceal these scenes yesterday. It had refused
entry to Red Cross ambulances for nearly a week, in violation of the
Geneva Convention. Yesterday it continued to try to keep us out.

Jenin, in the northern end of the occupied West Bank, remained "a closed
military zone", was ringed Merkava tanks, army Jeep patrols, and armoured
personnel carriers. Reporters caught trying to get in were escorted out. A
day earlier the Israeli armed forces took in a few selected journalists to
see sanitised parts of the camp. We simply walked across the fields,
flitted through an olive orchard overlooked by two Israeli tanks, and into
the camp itself.

We were led in by hands gesturing at windows. Hidden, whispering people
directed us through narrow alleys they thought were clear. When there were
soldiers about, a finger would raise in warning, or a hand waved us back.
We were welcomed by people desperate to tell what had occurred. They spoke
of executions, and bulldozers wrecking homes with people inside. "This is
mass murder committed by Ariel Sharon," Jamel Saleh, 43, said. "We feel
more hate for Israel now than ever. Look at this boy." He placed his hand
on the tousled head of a little boy, Mohammed, the eight-year-old son of a
friend. "He saw all this evil. He will remember it all." So will everyone
else who saw the horror of Jenin refugee camp. Palestinians who entered
the camp yesterday were almost speechless.

Rajib Ahmed, from the Palestinian Energy Authority, came to try to repair
the power lines. He was trembling with fury and shock. "This is mass
murder. I have come here to help by I have found nothing but devastation.
Just look for yourself." All had the same message: tell the world.