"Jenin Camp Is a Scene of Devastation But Yields No Evidence of a Massacre." --Headline, front page, The Washington Post, April 16.

"There is simply no evidence of a massacre." -- Peter Bouckaert, senior researcher, Human Rights Watch, Jenin. Jerusalem Post, April 28.

"Holley told Agence France-Presse that he did not see 'any evidence of a massacre. The Israeli army was fighting against some desperate [Palestinian] fighters here.' " -- Agence France-Presse, quoting Maj. David Holley, British military adviser to Amnesty International, April 28.

A massacre is the deliberate mass murder of the defenseless. The "Jenin massacre" is more than a fiction. It is a hoax. "Palestinian Authority allegations," reported the Boston Globe (April 29), "...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 until the final hours of the fighting... All said they were allowed to surrender or evacuate."

And yet for weeks the world has been seized with the question of the "Jenin massacre." The U.N. Security Council called emergency meetings. The secretary general appointed a special investigating committee (now disbanded). The European press published the most lurid allegations. To say nothing, of course, of al-Jazeera TV.

All this for a phantom massacre. Yet this same Middle East conflict yields no shortage of real massacres:

  • April 27: Adora, Palestinian gunmen enter residential quarters shooting everyone, including a 5-year-old girl shot through the head in her bed.
  • April 12: Jerusalem, suicide bombing at a bus stop, 6 murdered.
  • April 10: Yagor, suicide bombing on a bus, 8 murdered.
  • March 31: Haifa, suicide bombing in a restaurant, 15 murdered.
  • March 28: Eilon Moreh, shooting attack, 4 murdered.
  • March 27: Netanya, suicide bombing at a Passover seder, 28 murdered.

These are massacres -- actual, recent massacres. Massacres for which the evidence is hard. Massacres for which the perpetrators claimed credit. Where was the Security Council? Where was the Kofi Annan commission? Where was the world?

The United Nations' excuse will be that these murders were perpetrated not by states but by groups. But this is nonsense. The Palestinian Authority is a recognized government. The links of its top leadership to these murders is precisely the kind of question that warrants investigation. Yet the very idea that the United Nations would investigate Palestinian massacres is absurd.

The despair comes from the bewilderment of living in a world of monstrous moral inversion.

The fact that such an undertaking is unimaginable is what has made the past several months so deeply, despairingly troubling. The despair comes from the bewilderment of living in a world of monstrous moral inversion.

Take Jenin. What was the real story? That hand-to-hand, door-to-door combat, in an intensely built-up shantytown, among dozens of houses booby-trapped by Palestinian fighters, should have yielded somewhere between seven and 21 scattered civilian casualties is nothing less than astonishing. It testifies to the extraordinary scrupulousness of the Israeli army, which lost 23 soldiers in the battle, precisely because it did not want to cause the civilian casualties that come with aerial bombardment, as has happened everywhere from Grozny to Kabul. And yet Israel was investigated precisely for defending itself against massacres that warrant no investigation.

Palestinian apologists wave away this double standard with the magic mantra of "occupation."

More nonsense. Twenty-one months ago, Israel offered a total end to the occupation, ceding 100 percent of Gaza and 97 percent of the West Bank to the first Palestinian state ever. The Palestinians turned that down and took up the suicide bomb. By the Orwellian logic of today, the Palestinians are justified in perpetrating one massacre after another to end an occupation that Israel offered to remove almost two years ago.

For the "international community," as embodied by the United Nations, such inverted moral logic is the norm. This is what it must have been like living in the false consciousness of Soviet communism, where everyone had to publicly and constantly pretend to believe the official lies, all the while knowing they were lies. This is what it must have been like living in the 1930s, as the necessities of appeasement created a gradual inversion of right and wrong -- the Czechs, for example, pilloried by official opinion in Britain and France for selfishly standing in the way of peace at Munich.

Churchill's great gift to civilization was not just that he rallied good against evil but also that he pierced a suffocating fog of self-deception by speaking truth to lies. Where is the Churchill of today, the official of any government, prepared to tell the United Nations that its frantic hunt for a phantom massacre by Jews -- while ignoring massacre after massacre of Jews -- is grotesque and perverse?

 


 

BEHIND THE SCENES IN JENIN

By Saul Kramer


A reserve soldier speaks about child weapons-carriers, and bodies dug up after 2 years.

April 25, 2002

During the Defensive Shield Operation, my reserve battalion was stationed on the border of Jenin with the purpose of ensuring the enclosure of the area. Together with 11 other soldiers, I manned a small roadblock at the northern tip of Jenin, which was one of the main thoroughfares for traffic entering and exiting the area.

Last Sunday, my good friend Ben and I were on duty at the roadblock at a time when no press were allowed to enter Jenin. We spotted a jeep trying to evade the roadblock through an adjacent field. We managed to stop the jeep and discovered a group of French Journalists who had managed to enter Jenin and were now trying to leave.

We followed the normal procedure of questioning them, checking their vehicle and identification. This process sometimes takes a while because we have to phone another army base who then checks the identities with the Israeli authorities which includes the intelligence operations.

One of the supposed French journalists was actually a Palestinian terrorist on Israel's wanted list.

It turned out that one of the supposed "French journalists" was actually a Palestinian terrorist on Israel's wanted list. He was taken away by the police, together with the other real French journalists. But you never hear about that on TV.

Last Thursday, friends on duty at another outpost a few kilometers away spotted two young kids walking in the middle of the day carrying black backpacks. The two kids entered an abandoned structure about 800 meters away from the outpost, and left without the bags. The kids thought they had gone unnoticed.

It was later discovered that the bags contained weapons, explosives -- and an Israeli army uniform with a red paratrooper beret. The plan was for a terrorist to pick up the loot at night, dress up as an Israeli soldier, and attack the outpost. We had already received intelligence reports 5 days earlier warning of a terrorist dressing up as a soldier and entering one of the outposts.

RECYCLING THE DEAD

Avi, a good friend who studies with me at university, was stationed in Nablus during this operation and told me the following: The soldiers took over a house in Nablus as a stronghold in order to clear out the terrorist infrastructure there. While in the house, they did not use the electricity to charge their cell phones. They did not touch or eat any food in the house. They made a concerted effort not to use any furniture in the house. When they left the house later during the pullout of Nablus, they cleaned the house and left money on the table.

When the soldiers left, they cleaned the house and left money on the table.

The idea of Israeli soldiers leaving "rent money" for the Palestinian residents is amazing. What's more amazing is that I have heard similar stories reported from soldiers who were in Bethlehem, Tulkarm, Kalkilya and Jenin.

On Monday morning this week, a UN bus entered Jenin carrying a UN rescue team from Britain. The team included doctors and other personnel who get dispatched around the world to help with rescue operations. Four hours later, when the bus returned through our roadblock, they stopped and we had a chance to chat. The first thing they said is that this was the biggest waste of time for them and they would be catching the next flight out of Israel. One of the doctors told us that one of the "massacred" bodies he examined was that of a man who had been dead for two years. What a shame that the Palestinians dug him up to add to the death toll.

In the fighting that took place in the refugee camp, children were used as human shields by the terrorists. One of the brigade commanders told us last Saturday night that soldiers were shot at in the small alleys of the camp. They returned fire, only to hear the cries of young children. They immediately stopped shooting and prayed that they had not killed any children. They hadn't.

The army's respect and consideration for the lives of civilians is of the highest standard. For this reason, 23 of our own boys were killed in the Jenin fighting. If we had no regard for the lives of innocent civilians, 23 sons, husbands and fathers would be at home with their families right now. They were the price we paid for the high moral and ethical standards of our Jewish army.