LEADING TO DOOMSDAY – 2

February 25, 2011 at 6:41 am 2 comments

(Continued from: https://truthandsurvival.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/leading-to-doomsday/   )

WHY JENIN?

 By RALPH DOBRIN

 Excerpts from his book “How to avoid Armageddon”
Available through Amazon
Click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid armageddon

 In 2002 a battle took place in Jenin, which turned out to be a classic example of how this collaboration is done. Jenin is a town in northern Samaria with a population of 120,000. The refugee camp, where the battle took place has a population of about 35,000. As usual, whenever there is a major battle involving the Israeli army, most media sources all over the world promptly report Arab claims that a massacre of innocent people has been perpetrated by the Israelis, while downplaying Israel’s version of the events and indeed ignoring what had preceded the battle. For almost ten years before the battle in Jenin, Israel’s citizens had been subjected to literally hundreds of armed attacks launched from towns and villages in the West Bank. Ironically, it was after the beginning of the peace talks with the Palestinians that the attacks had escalated on an unprecedented scale. Almost every day dozens of Israelis were blown up by suicide bombers in buses, restaurants, shopping malls and wedding halls; there had also been knifings, shootings and ambushes on the roads. These attacks reached a peak at a Passover dinner in a hotel in Netanya on March 27, 2002, when 30 Israelis were killed and 140 were injured in a suicide bombing.

There was a national consensus in Israel that these terror attacks had to be stopped, no matter what it took. On March 29, 2002 the Israeli Army began a campaign to rout out militant groups from six major Palestinian towns in Judea and Samaria, from where most of the attacks had been launched. Seven years earlier, as part of the Oslo Peace Process, complete self-rule of these towns had been turned over to the Palestinian Authority by Israel, as part of the process that was to lead to a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel had occupied Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip as a result of the Six Day War in 1967 (see Chapter 8 – The enforced Arab refugee problem).

On April 3, the Israeli Army entered the Jenin refugee camp, where the militants were dug in. They had set up strong defensive positions to entrap the Israeli soldiers, including hundreds of booby traps and mines. The only way the area could be taken without incurring heavy losses, was by heavy artillery and air bombardment. But this the Israeli high command refused to order because of the proximity of Arab civilians, even though it meant risking the lives of its soldiers. Because the  Israeli Army refrained from using carpet bombardment, which most, if not all other armies would have used in similar circumstances, the battle for Jenin lasted much longer than it needed to. During the nine days of fierce, often close-combat fighting Israel lost 23 soldiers and 52 were wounded, figures that would have been much lower had Israel been unconcerned about Arab civilian casualties.

However, from the outset, rumors of terrible massacres and colossal destruction in Jenin, spread throughout the Arab world. The Secretary-General of the Palestinian Authority, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, declared that thousands of Palestinians had been killed. Palestinian Information Minister, Yasser Abed Rabbo, claimed mass graves for 900 Palestinians in the camp.

Nevertheless, subsequent investigations and reports by the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Time Magazine and the BBC (none particularly sympathetic towards Israel) confirmed the death toll of combatants and non-combatants on the Arab side to have been less than 60. Also, they all concluded there had not been a wholesale massacre of civilians.

Despite the subsequent clarification of the true number of casualties (53), and the limitations that Israel had imposed on itself in the use of firepower, there was widespread denunciation of Israel throughout the world by governments, international agencies and media sources.

Israel was accused of war crimes by many human rights organizations and western newspapers. Amnesty International (which had admitted that Arab reports were grossly inflated) nevertheless reported that there was “clear evidence” that the IDF committed war crimes against Palestinian civilians, including unlawful killings and torture. The report also accused Israel of blocking medical care, using people as human shields and bulldozing houses with residents inside, as well as beating prisoners, and preventing ambulances and aid organizations from reaching the areas of combat even after the fighting had reportedly been stopped.

Even though I wasn’t there I can believe that some if not all of Amnesty International’s claims are true. Because that’s what happens in every war. This might sound callous, but when sitting comfortably in a quiet room far away from a terrible, raging battle, one can readily be appalled by such a report. One can also understand the indignation felt by those investigating the facts on the spot, assailed by the sight of terrible devastation and the lingering stench of cordite and death. Clearly, because of the terrible scenes after the battle, impartiality on the part of the investigators was impossible. Also, eyewitness accounts by locals, which provide most of the evidence are invariably, to put it mildly, unreliable – especially in the Middle East.

Furthermore, in the midst of battle, a soldier tries to adhere to the rules of legally acceptable carnage, which generally means shooting only at armed belligerents, avoiding harm to civilians and undue damage to property, allowing free movement of ambulances and treating prisoners according to the Geneva Convention. There are other international rules of warfare, as stipulated in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and amended with a number of Declarations and the Geneva Protocol of 1925. According to these rules it seems that in every single battle in the last hundred years up to the present day, all the rules regarding warfare have been broken by all  belligerent nations, even the most enlightened ones. And seldom is there any widespread censure, although notable exceptions have been the Nazi War Crimes Tribunal, and cases held in the International Court of Justice for crimes in Bosnia and Kosovo.

But against Israel, the moral outrage expressed throughout the world is always immediate, global and intense, as was the case after the Battle of Jenin.

The United Nations General Assembly subsequently passed a scathing resolution condemning Israel’s military action in Jenin by 74 votes to 4, with 54 abstentions. Even though background reports issued to the delegates included mention of many of the terror acts that provoked Israel’s response (albeit referred to as attacks by militants), Israel was exclusively slammed in the General Assembly vote.

No one noted that Israel had the military capability of destroying the militants’ bases in Jenin in a few hours and with very little loss of its own forces simply by using artillery and aerial bombardment – like the Coalition Forces had employed in the two Gulf Wars against Iraq (1991 and 2003), or Nato forces had employed in Serbia (1999). No one found it relevant that in order to minimize civilian casualties, Israel chose to root out the terrorists, not with intense artillery and aerial bombardment as it could easily have done, but by using mainly ground forces – a tactic infinitely more dangerous for her own combatants because of Israel’s concern for Arab civilian lives. The UN vote also ignored the usual terrorists’ method of positioning themselves in the midst of unarmed fellow-Arab civilians.

When considering the nature of the battle in Jenin – with the narrow alleyways, hundreds of booby-traps and mines that the Israeli soldiers needed to cope with, the resoluteness of their adversaries, and Israel’s decision not to use artillery or aerial bombings, one can appreciate that the damage, while seeming dreadful, was actually minimized. Furthermore, much of the damage was probably caused by booby traps and mines which the militants themselves had placed around their homes.

Also, surely any fair-minded person should have asked, what alternative did Israel have to engaging the terrorists in their own stronghold? One wonders how long any democratic government in the world, being subjected on a daily basis to terror attacks, would have refrained from rooting out the sources of that terror and employing any necessary means – including artillery and aerial bombardment even if civilians were present. Indeed, many Arab countries have done just that time and again to fellow-Arabs in their own countries or across the borders, and for reasons decidedly more innocuous than terrorism.

Another question any decent person should have asked was what was the reason for the attacks on Israeli citizens in the first place. After all, Israel had withdrawn its forces from these areas years beforehand as part of the purported peace process. Even if there were still issues on which the Palestinian leadership and the Israelis had not yet agreed upon, was that a reason to blow up innocent civilians in Israeli buses, supermarkets and wedding halls?

And finally, why had all these voices been silent during the years that Israel’s citizens were being blown to smithereens in their cities by terror groups? Why had the newspaper editorials not dealt with the terror directed at Israeli citizens for over a decade? Why had the United Nations with all its many bureaus and committees failed to bring the militants to account? Can it be because of a one-sided approach to the Arab-Israel conflict? And is one-sidedness a sign of prejudice? It’s hard to shake off these telling questions. It should be remembered that one-sidedness and prejudice also imply the acceptance of falsehood as evidence. And falsehood, as we have seen is a central theme in the Arab-Israel conflict.

To order the book click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid Armageddon

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, In order to survive, Solutions for Palestine. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

LEADING TO DOOMSDAY – 1 LEADING TO DOOMSDAY – 3

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