"horrific beyond belief"
April 18, 2002 5:33 PM   Subscribe

"horrific beyond belief" says United Nations envoy. Strong stuff from the BBC this time. Personally I suspect Jenin may end up being a turning point, i just wish I knew towards what.
posted by Leonard (81 comments total)
And yet Bush continues to describe Sharon as "a man of peace". I shudder to think what Dubya's idea of war is.
posted by MAYORBOB at 5:57 PM on April 18, 2002

"I shudder to think what Dubya's idea of war is." perhaps its people shuddering
posted by clavdivs at 6:10 PM on April 18, 2002

Mayorbob: when was the last time he said that?

Anyway, is this going to be worse then the Other stuff Sharon was partialy held responsible for? (the slaughter of a refugy camp by some chritian millitas under Sharon's command. It was quite a while ago).

More americans are starting to turn against Isreal, but the majority still supports them. Has there been another suicide bombing since Arafat asked them to stop?

I don't know, I'd like it to stop, but I suspect it'll just be more of the same... a cease fire, more settlements, more bombs.
posted by delmoi at 6:44 PM on April 18, 2002

delmoi -- I believe that Bush used those words, or close to it, to describe Sharon before he sent Powell on Mission Impossible.

And yes, I do think that this one is worse than some of the other stuff that Sharon was partially held responsible for. The incidents in the camps in Lebanon, Sharon had a sliver of plausible deniability. Not this time. This time there is no doubt who was in charge and who gave the orders to send the IDF into the towns in the West Bank. This time the responsibility lies with Sharon.
posted by MAYORBOB at 6:52 PM on April 18, 2002

Hmmm... Not that this article really says anything new or terribly factual, but does this mean that Andrew Sullivan will take back his statement that "The New York Times version [of Jenin events] is harrowing but doesn't find evidence of anything but collateral civilian deaths."

Oh, just collateral civilian deaths! Super!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:04 PM on April 18, 2002

Mayorbob: true (and reading the article, it quotes bush literally as saying Sharon is a man of peace.... guh)

I think most of this is going to fizzle out. Sharon is pulling out, and then what will there be left to do?

but who knows, maybe bin-laden will get his wish.

has anyone else noticed, that this intefada is like 19 months old, no one really covered it until after sept. 11th? The first recent violence I remember was by the Israelis a few days after. Before that the US media talked about nothing but Sharks and Gary Condit.)
posted by delmoi at 7:07 PM on April 18, 2002

Statistical profile - Who lives in Jenin Refugee Camp?
Two newsfeeds for those following this situation:
Middle East Wire
Red Rock Eater Digest
posted by sheauga at 7:09 PM on April 18, 2002

But it had to be done, didn't it?

Many say, you have to stop shooting first, and just live with the bombers. That's the only way it will ever end.

But look at Chechnya. The Russians gave up. They left. The Chechans got what they wanted. And you know what happened then? They invaded Russia. They invaded the second most powerful country in the world, for Christ's sake! What makes the Palestinians so different from the Chechans that they wouldn't do the same to Israel?

I'm really curious. What plan of action would you have suggested, considering that doing nothing would risk nothing less than a very literal invasion?
posted by Ptrin at 7:09 PM on April 18, 2002

Wow, the same events you posted a few days back are still "Strong stuff"?

I suppose if they had been different events it'd be stronger or weaker stuff. Considering what happened, I'm still glad to see it is strong stuff! If it wasn't strong, now THAT would be a scoop.

posted by Settle at 7:12 PM on April 18, 2002

Actually, Settle, a couple days ago it was strong stuff from the Independent. Now, its strong stuff from the BBC. I'm sure Leonard will keep us informed as this turns up in major news sources.
posted by vacapinta at 7:26 PM on April 18, 2002

The Israelis are going to continue to defend themselves and it has become obvious that the protestations of the UN, the media and, yes, even the sages here on Metafilter are completely and totally irrelevant. Cool.
posted by mikegre at 7:27 PM on April 18, 2002

A thing or two needs to be said. First, it was the UN that yestrerday said (voted for) all forms of terroism are ok if used to gain national rights---The UN as moral leader?
Second: That town was the hotbed of terrorist activity. If all there so peaceful, how to explain that 21 Israeli soldiers shot dead while there? third: That Independent says nothing that is not anit-Israel and more often than not supported by any evidence of any kind.
If a "massacre" did in fact take place, I would be most upset and angry. I will wait, though, before taking the word of a UN representative on this or anything.
posted by Postroad at 7:41 PM on April 18, 2002

I hate to be the one to finally bring this up, but the selfish yet pragmatic American average-Joe-Flagwaver view towards Jenin et al should be and underneath the media radar probably is already:

how many Americans in skyscrapers are going to perish in retaliation for Jenin?

my tax dollars go towards many things of which I don't approve, I'll concede, and I keep paying them, but I get so incensed when we give billions of dollars every year to the Sharon & Bibi Likud Show, and in return for what?... "state violence state control" and we buy a bunch of new enemies, including the 9/11 maniacs and to be sure hundreds more who want to follow in their footsteps.

Ariel Sharon can do whatever he damn well pleases, except when it's on my dime, and I'm the one who's going to end up paying the price for his fanatical indiscretions, in the next 9/11 fostered in the name of Jenin.
posted by ssdecontrol at 7:48 PM on April 18, 2002

sorry to post back again on this topic but just came across this, which gives a very different foucs to the "story" and is worth reading while, at the same time, not jumping to any conclusions till facts are available. Facts.
posted by Postroad at 7:51 PM on April 18, 2002

how many Americans in skyscrapers are going to perish in retaliation for Jenin?

How many Americans in skyscrapers are going to perish in retaliation for Afghanistan?

How many Americans in skyscrapers are going to perish in retaliation for Iraq?

How many Americans in skyscrapers are going to perish in retaliation for Guantanamo Bay?

How many Americans in skyscrapers are going to perish in retaliation for keeping American troops in Saudi Arabia?

How many Americans in skyscrapers are going to perish before you realize that it's the terrorists that have to be destroyed, not their excuses?
posted by boaz at 8:24 PM on April 18, 2002

Postroad: a serious question. What would you accept as 'facts'? Because there's a pattern of instinctive denial here, and a concerted damning of independent monitors, which makes me wonder whether the only 'proof' that'd be accepted right now by some people is a confession from Sharon himself. And even then, I suspect it'd be regarded with the same scepticism that many Arabs view the role of bin Laden in the September 11th attacks.

Oh, and mikegre: how about a deep, long draught of shut-the-fuck-up?
posted by riviera at 8:26 PM on April 18, 2002

How many Americans in skyscrapers are going to perish in retaliation for Afghanistan?

well, that's our fight now, isn't it? Jenin is not our fight.
posted by ssdecontrol at 8:33 PM on April 18, 2002

From the earlier thread: ...we need to wait for at least a modicum of evidence before we brand this a massacre. ...our well-founded fears of war crimes must not be inflated into outright accusations until we have a better idea of what transpired.

Do we have a modicum of evidence yet? Can we start making outright accusations?

From the article: " 'We have expert people here who have been in war zones and earthquakes and they say they have never seen anything like it,' he [Roed-Larsen, a 'highly regarded' UN Special Co-ordinator] added."
posted by five fresh fish at 8:33 PM on April 18, 2002

ssdecontrol, since you are concerned about where your tax money goes, you might find this two-for-one deal interesting. In hopes of gaining votes from Senators who otherwise won't support a bill allowing oil drilling in Alaska, Senator Murkowski "has crafted language that will tie ANWR exploration to Israeli aid." Oil produced in ANWR will be exported to Israel and US will extend for 10 more years the existing guarantee of uninterrupted oil supply to Israel.
[Via: FARK. Bill[s]: S.388, S.389; 107th Congress.]
posted by tamim at 8:36 PM on April 18, 2002

If Jenin was a hotbed of terrorism and filled with Palestinian fighters, it is a fair bet that almost all of those Palestinian fighters are alive somewhere else right now, waiting to retaliate, while the ordinary civilians they lived with lie as stinking corpses under the bulldozed rubble.

None other than William F. Buckley has said it best: the Israelis have given way to venting their rage and hatred. If history teaches us anything it is that this kind of fury is repaid tenfold over time.

While we play geopolitical chess over here, two peoples living together in ancient Palestine are reduced to thinking of each other as as cockroaches and using hi-tech tools of horror to try and wipe each other out. Nothing will alleviate this evil but leadership, and that is in short supply.
posted by anser at 8:51 PM on April 18, 2002

"I'm the one who's going to end up paying the price for his fanatical indiscretions"....im thinking...'NEVER AGAIN'. ssdecontrol, figure out your taxes, come up with a formula or percentage of your money that could have gone to foreighn aid, e-mail me and i'll do mine damned best to get you that money lost to Israel. I can find enough people to cover what it is, but it has to be public, we will bring in the media and see where your thin dimes get you."and we buy a bunch of new enemies" no, you make enemies, you buy friends;) These terrorists took two things you dont take from americans blood andmoney."but the selfish yet pragmatic American average-Joe-Flagwaver" Your confusing america with Switzerland. Do you have an Inkling of what would happen if an arab army invaded Israel. There would be no arab world. these people have nukes, they have spirit.
o.k. In 1935, Dutch Schultz (jewish by the way) was gettin squeezed from the cops, his 'peers' and Dewey. So Dutch wants Dewey whacked. Dutch brings this up to Charlie and the guys who agree that Dewey must go. But to do it would be worse for everyone. So...Those lovable bunch at newly formed Murder Inc. decide to remove Dutch from the board, 'poymanent like'. They do, dutch was sucking air through his lungs that night, saying ..."Please crackdown on the chinamans friends and Hitlers commander..."(he was lucid, trying to talk himself alive) so... ironically, the mafia saved Deweys life.
Moral, none really. i just found it a really ironic comparison. Because, the mafia still went on, dewey went on and faded to obscurity...so what was gained or lost in the long run...nothing and everything...follow? You cant make a stand when the crap aint flying then decide to bail when the tough are learning to fly. and your statement is bailing. Because it is YOUR money, that bought tanks for The IDF.
posted by clavdivs at 8:54 PM on April 18, 2002

and they say they have never seen anything like it

Perhaps that's because the world has never seem a mafia as disgusting, violent and corrupt as what goes on in the territories. Offer some firm evidence of massive, unarmed civilian casualties, and I'll send a donation to a Palestinian Arab relief fund.

It's obvious hatred of, and bias against Jews lives in 2002.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:56 PM on April 18, 2002

'and they say they have never seen anything like it'... did the man in the stupid blue helmet forget that filmstrip in grade school about Aushwitz?
posted by clavdivs at 9:27 PM on April 18, 2002

You cant make a stand when the crap aint flying then decide to bail when the tough are learning to fly. and your statement is bailing.

clavdivs I know your taxes only buy you persimmons and mechanized awnings in Fiume, but I don't live in Fiume and I don't support the IDF and I'm not "bailing."
posted by ssdecontrol at 9:34 PM on April 18, 2002

Paris: How much would I have to pay to make you go away? Your pathological hatred of Palestinians is disgusting. You do the Israeli cause far more harm than good. Go, go away, you small and hate-filled little man.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:19 PM on April 18, 2002

Omar sits restlessly on his chair in the safe-house. He is an "engineer" from Jenin refugee camp: one of the revered bomb-makers from the City of the Bombers. To the Israelis he is the most lethal, and wanted, of terrorists. The poison from the Cobra's head.

From al-Ahram, the Egyptian Daily.

We meet late last Thursday, hours after he escaped from the camp as Israeli soldiers took control .... We are still close enough to see the constant stream of illumination flares, three launched at a time, that light up the soldiers' dark work in the city below.

But Omar will not be staying long. He is going to ground deeper in the West Bank before regrouping with his comrades from Jenin.

There may not be too many. Even according to Israeli army sources, at least a hundred fighters were killed and hundreds more wounded and captured during the eight days of savage fighting.

Omar will not give his name or age. He is slim, in his mid-20s, with a closely cropped beard. He is a member of Islamic Jihad, but says in Jenin all the factions were loyal to only one cause: liberation or death.

Visible beneath a blue bomber jacket is the tightly bandaged stump of his right arm, the end of which he rubs distractedly.

How did he lose it? During the previous invasion of Jenin by the Israeli army several weeks ago, he says. He was hiding with only his arm visible as he tried to throw a 'kwa' -- a home-made pipe bomb -- at a tank. Shrapnel from a shell severed it, he says.

But as a bomb-maker, one of the most highly respected positions in the Palestinian resistance, he could equally have lost the arm in less glorious circumstances: in one of the explosions that are a professional hazard of his job.

Omar admits he is one of only a few dozen fighters not to emerge either dead or in plastic handcuffs from the fiercest battle waged by the Palestinians during the Israeli army's invasion of the West Bank.

Of his group of 30 gunmen, only four escaped from the camp on Wednesday, after the Palestinian arsenal ran dry. Most of the others were shot dead.

"Of all the fighters in the West Bank we were the best prepared," he says. "We started working on our plan: to trap the invading soldiers and blow them up from the moment the Israeli tanks pulled out of Jenin last month."

Omar and other "engineers" made hundreds of explosive devices and carefully chose their locations.

"We had more than 50 houses booby-trapped around the camp. We chose old and empty buildings and the houses of men who were wanted by Israel because we knew the soldiers would search for them," he said.

"We cut off lengths of mains water pipes and packed them with explosives and nails. Then we placed them about four metres apart throughout the houses -- in cupboards, under sinks, in sofas."

The fighters hoped to disable the Israeli army's tanks with much more powerful bombs placed inside rubbish bins on the street. More explosives were hidden inside the cars of Jenin's most wanted men.

Connected by wires, the bombs were set off remotely, triggered by the current from a car battery.

According to Omar, everyone in the camp, including the children, knew where the explosives were located so that there was no danger of civilians being injured. It was the one weakness in the plan.

"We were betrayed by the spies among us," he says. The wires to more than a third of the bombs were cut by soldiers accompanied by collaborators. "If it hadn't been for the spies, the soldiers would never have been able to enter the camp. Once they penetrated the camp, it was much harder to defend."

And what about the explosion and ambush last Tuesday which killed 13 soldiers?

"They were lured there," he says. "We all stopped shooting and the women went out to tell the soldiers that we had run out of bullets and were leaving." The women alerted the fighters as the soldiers reached the booby- trapped area.

"When the senior officers realised what had happened, they shouted through megaphones that they wanted an immediate cease-fire. We let them approach to retrieve the men and then opened fire.

"Some of the soldiers were so shocked and frightened that they mistakenly ran towards us."

On Wednesday, after the fighters ran out of ammunition, he says, armoured vehicles roamed the streets calling out to them in Arabic: "You are finished and can't win against us. We are more powerful than you. Surrender."

He saw one fighter who went down to the street with his hands in the air shot dead by snipers. He chose to flee the camp, although he will not say how.

Using his left arm, Omar shot a revolver during the gun battles.

With a new intensity on his face, he leans forward to ask a question. Do I think the doctors will be able to give him a strong new artificial arm with fingers he can operate. I don't know, I say. Why?

"Because I want to be able to hold a heavy rifle again. That way I can kill more Israeli soldiers. It's that or become a suicide bomber."

posted by dhartung at 10:21 PM on April 18, 2002

According to Bush black is now white and up is now down.
posted by yertledaturtle at 11:13 PM on April 18, 2002

I'm sure one of the many spy satellites up there can see exactly what's going on, maybe even Ikonos could show us something, wonder if it's time has been bought as it has in Afghanistan.
posted by zeoslap at 11:32 PM on April 18, 2002

Part of the making spy satellites legal way back when was that they can't sell pictures of Israel.
posted by jaek at 11:47 PM on April 18, 2002

The Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs is a good site. They have been telling the truth for a long time now... Support Israel as a democracy and someone who has often been loyal to the US, but don't give it blind support. The credibility of the US is so badly damaged by blind support, calling Sharon a man of peace at this point in time. Blind support is dangerous, and bad for Israel, America, and the entire world.
posted by chaz at 1:23 AM on April 19, 2002

While our president preaches about peace in the middle east, who is keeping an eye on his brother?
posted by Sqwerty at 1:29 AM on April 19, 2002

...Salon, apparently.
posted by gleemax at 2:05 AM on April 19, 2002

There's been lots of noise at the Church of the Nativity - (via Liberal Arts Mafia).
posted by sheauga at 4:15 AM on April 19, 2002

Delmoi, I don't know where you are mate but pre-Sept 11th the second intifada was getting plenty of coverage in the UK. In the last two years it has been the main news item probably about as many times as Sept 11th itself.
posted by vbfg at 4:16 AM on April 19, 2002

If the US had no coverage pre Sept11th, maybe that's why it's virtually the only place that believes in Sharon. For those who have this in deeper context they will remember that Sharon came to power spoiling for a fight and kicked things off with his pointless jaunt up the Temple Mount - of which, the only credible explanation is as a right-wing, anti-Palestinian rallying cry.
posted by niceness at 5:53 AM on April 19, 2002

Guess what: Israel is morally correct. The UN is controlled by disgusting, undemocratic forces. And the European Union is a joke. It's fully possible for most of the world to be wrong. Majority does not rule on issues of morality and justice. 50 million Frenchman are probably wrong
posted by ParisParamus at 6:18 AM on April 19, 2002

Guess what: assertion isn't argument.
posted by Summer at 6:50 AM on April 19, 2002

Guess what: Religious righeousness does not equal morally correct.
posted by lampshade at 7:12 AM on April 19, 2002

Sorry to interrupt this exchange .. but what kind of war is this?. The best reporting from Jenin so far (but that's not saying much). Verdict - not a massacre, more like large scale vandalism - and to what end?
posted by grahamwell at 7:26 AM on April 19, 2002

Sorry for disagreeing ParisParamus, of course YOU are right - your pragmatic, well-researched and humble arguments have convinced me that I am utterly, utterly wrong, how could I have been so stupid? Could you let me know your religion, political afiliations and favourite breakfast cereal so I can mend my ways.
posted by niceness at 7:53 AM on April 19, 2002

Anyone thinking Jenin might be an intentional false positive? Would be a canny plan. Relief that the unthinkable didn't happen would narcotize perceptions of everything that has happened.
posted by Opus Dark at 7:56 AM on April 19, 2002

I was wondering about that. Reading the first article that grahamwell linked to it struck me that even if it wasn't technically a massacre, it was still an act of extraordinary brutality.

The whole thing reminds me of those stories about evil landlords persecuting their tenants in order that they can be replaced with better-paying tenants. I wonder why.
posted by Grangousier at 8:09 AM on April 19, 2002

Anyone else see the OpinionJournal yesterday? Here's what they said about Jenin:

A headline in today's London Independent promises "Fresh Evidence of Jenin Atrocities." The evidence? An autopsy conducted on a Palestinian man killed at the "refugee camp" found that he had been shot twice, once in the foot and once in the back. Oh, and a Scottish doctor says: "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."

That's it. One guy with two bullet wounds and some old "reports" is the extent of the Independent's "fresh evidence." But then the guys at the Independent seem to consider themselves independent from the need for evidence. As we noted Tuesday, they've already declared the Jewish state guilty of "a monstrous war crime" based on nothing more than Palestinian rumors.

A pair of Reuters dispatches from this morning illustrate the peril of relying on residents' claims of Israeli atrocities. The first, which hit Yahoo news at 5:08 a.m. EDT, leads with this news: "Palestinians dug five survivors from the rubble of the shattered refugee camp in Jenin Thursday and said they had heard others crying out for help, witnesses said." But the second, from 8:20 a.m., reports: "Palestinian health officials denied a report that five survivors had been dug from the rubble of Jenin refugee camp Thursday."

No doubt a substantial number of Arabs died in the battle of Jenin; there is, after all, a war on. And when you're dealing with an enemy whose chief tactic is terrorism, it's hard to distinguish between soldiers and civilians, a point this Jerusalem Post report underscores:

The soldiers operated slowly and cautiously, he said, moving from house to house. "We covered 600 meters in three days due to the intense gun battles," [Hagai Tal, an Israeli soldier who is also a Post employee] said. "In one of the buildings we entered we found two women and children who were screaming and yelling. We offered them sweets and then placed them in one of the rooms in accordance with regulations.

"One of the women told us there was no one else in the house, but when we told them to remain in the room she called out to her husband that soldiers were inside and told him to run away. They began shooting at us--soldiers in a house opposite opened fire and killed them," said Tal.
posted by stormy at 8:20 AM on April 19, 2002

And the WSJ's op-ed page is such a model of objectivity?
posted by riviera at 8:22 AM on April 19, 2002

Anyone thinking Jenin might be an intentional false positive? Would be a canny plan. Relief that the unthinkable didn't happen would narcotize perceptions of everything that has happened.

It's a subtle game those Elders of Zion are playing.
posted by boaz at 8:25 AM on April 19, 2002

Boaz....sssshhhh....you'll give away the secret!
posted by mikegre at 8:39 AM on April 19, 2002

It's a subtle game those Elders of Zion are playing.

A snivelling implication, dude. Should've known better than to wander into a comic book morality play. How dare we diaspora mess with the Diaspora. Carry on - frankenstein another bigot - the day's still young.
posted by Opus Dark at 8:44 AM on April 19, 2002

As the great Bob Dobbs said: 'F*ck 'em if they can't take a joke.'

I'm perfectly happy to concede that you're merely a humorless, mushy-headed conspiracymonger rather than a bigot if that'll make you happy.
posted by boaz at 9:22 AM on April 19, 2002

I'm perfectly happy to concede that you're merely a humorless, mushy-headed conspiracymonger rather than a bigot if that'll make you happy.

Faux sheen, wannabe. Discussion to dust, mite.
posted by Opus Dark at 9:42 AM on April 19, 2002

no opus, im glad your here. You tend to put a coda on things. WHAT DHART SAID. ssdecontrol. normally i'd assassinate your character but you ... Ive been at MeFi a year and a day, just a newbie really. Ive angered more people here then I care to recall, apoligizing gets one so far, ya know the moods swings get old to people and tune you out....capice. but your cheap injokes are like the cheap arguments that the Palestinians use. I'm making an effort to play nice. I did not get ugly with your post, just using a little shame. "I'm not bailing", "im not 'supporting". you sound like you have the IRS up your ass, no? too.bad. Sounds like you may have alot of control over your money. write your rep and have them put a little box on your 1040 EZ. ya know, check here if you want to hold back money going to Israel. Mecanized awnings? thats...bad. and your links? well its too bad about the 'innocent'....ya know, just this morning a stray bullet flew into a classroom full of children near where i live (flint). another comparison? no, im to frikin tired man. You care that people are getting killed, this is good. But open your lids man. supporters of Israel may feel she has gone a bit cowboy with that old hawk Sharon...but they are still supporting her...the Arab are not supporting The Palestineans with the same degree of committment....why, because if The honor code was really the benchmark of the arab world, they would already be assembling there armoured divisons- nukes be damned. naw, there just playing terrorist, using oil as a extortion tool and handing out cash to homicide bombers....eheheheh....yes alot of arabs are giving to the humanitarian cause, no doubt, they feel terrible about the sit-rep. they should, its a mess. But the commitment to Israel is stronger at least to me. I did not mean to cheapen your money, taxes, living and all that, just shame a little because we dont have much control over events, and it sounds like you are dead set...blah, blah, blah. Heres a persimmon.
posted by clavdivs at 9:51 AM on April 19, 2002

The Economist pitches in with a good summary What happened at Jenin. In another article there's the following table

Whom do you sympathise with %?
                USA     France     Germany  Italy      UK
Israel            41       19       24         14      17
Palestinians      13       36       26         30      28 
The full article is here.

I'm curious as to what didn't happen at Jenin. Not one single reporter, scruffy notebook, sattelite phone or camera during the crucial days. Israel is lousy with the international press and Jenin was clearly where the action was going to be - as Gaza will be over the next few days. Seems they preferred a short taxi ride to Bethlehem rather than the hazards of the real story. Shame.
posted by grahamwell at 10:31 AM on April 19, 2002

What happened at Jenin is what happened when the Israelis destroyed Iraq's (French) nuclear reactor, is what happened when the US put new nuclear warheads in Germany to balance out the Soviets, is what happends when blame the United States for (alleged) starving children in Iraq. Apparently, the world is filled with people who can't accept that terrorists are terrorists; and who can't accept that the path of least resistance is not the correct path. Thankfully, those people are not in power, and ultimately, their feable opinions don't matter.

I also wonder what would have happened if the former American President was currenty in office. Somehow I suspect the outcry over the pseudo-masacre would be about 20 decibels lower: how much of the "masacre" is stealth loathing of the American President?
posted by ParisParamus at 11:22 AM on April 19, 2002

grahamwell, the IDF imposed a complete media ban on all areas of military activity during this operation. You can read the complaints in Ha'aretz and elsewhere. The first reports we had were from reporters who indeed sneaked in at personal risk as the troops were withdrawing. that's an unwarranted swipe, not all reporters are as lazy as American TV anchors :)
posted by anser at 11:23 AM on April 19, 2002

ParisParamus: The outcry over people being disabled people being bulldozed over whilst still alive is "stealth loathing" of Bush. You really are sick.
posted by laukf at 12:04 PM on April 19, 2002

The Palestinian/Israeli conflict does not resolve into right and wrong or black and white, and its doubtful that any one of us can fully understand what has been a decades long struggle through the looking glass of a single event, whose truth has become obscure. We do not yet know what happenned in Jenin.

I do know this. There is no bartering with terrorists factions that claim no interest in negotiation, whose sole purpose for living is to destroy you. That is not all the Palestinians, its a faction that is hidden and supported by their government. All the same, were I Israeli, I would probably come to the same conclusion that America has in the face of terrorism: zero tolerance, not because its the best solution, but because its the only solution so far as I can see.

I have heard that there are many civilians dead in Jenin, and that Israeli soldiers refused to let the Palestinian civilians bury the bodies. Only, I'm trying to place myself in the situation of an Israeli soldier. How do I tell who is a civilian and who is not? How can I put a child in an ambulance when I know that it may be a ruse? That that child may have a bomb strapped to their back, as has happened so often in the past?

How does one convince this country to stop the suicide bombings when streets are named after the bombers, 96 million is raised in a Saudi telethon to support families that have (*cough) lost their sole breadwinner, terrorists hide in churches, and Mrs Arafat herself claims she wants her son to grow up to be a bomber?

Frankly, I don't think the Israelis treat the Palestinians half bad, at least, not incomparison to some of their other neighbours. Kuwait ethnically cleansed all Palestinians -- perhaps a third of a million -- just a decade ago. Well after the 1967 Six Day War, the Jordanians themselves slaughtered thousands. Before the intifada more Palestinians sought work in a hated Israel than in a beloved Egypt. And if Palestinians suffer second-class citizenship under Israeli occupation, they are worse off in occupied Lebanon where, as helots, they are denied basic rights to employment, health care and government services.

Without dignity, independence and security for Palestinians there can be no dignity, idependence, or security for Israelis, but the road to peace does not include legitimizing the trampling of the values make up that dignity. For me, I'm American, I committed to this nation's war against terror, and I meant it.
posted by xammerboy at 12:05 PM on April 19, 2002

I also wonder what would have happened if the former American President was currenty in office. Somehow I suspect the outcry over the pseudo-masacre would be about 20 decibels lower...

Somehow I suspect that under those circumstances, whatever happened in Jenin wouldn't have happened: the situation would never have deteriorated so badly. Though Clinton's rush to glory at Camp David in late 2000 probably forced things too much -- and I'd urge people to read this piece from Slate, especially for the reported comment from Arafat on not wanting to upset things for the Nov 2000 elections -- his persistent engagement with the region (as opposed to certain other occupants of the White House) usually made the situation better rather than worse.

And I'm still waiting for someone to answer the question I asked earlier: from what sources, and on what basis, would people accept an account of what happened in Jenin? Until certain people can answer that, it's hard to treat them as anything other than knee-jerk apologists, prepared to give St Peter a run for his money in the Categorical Denial Top 10.
posted by riviera at 1:01 PM on April 19, 2002

It seems that the final result will be massacre? No. Disregard for Palestinian civilian life? Yes. Mass killings of innocents? No. Many deaths of innocents? Yes. Measures that will reduce terrorism? No. Measures that will cost Israel dearly and make lasting peace even more elusive? Yes.
posted by cell divide at 1:30 PM on April 19, 2002

Riviera, the burden of proof is on those claiming there was a massacre, not on those claiming there wasn't. And so far, there's nothing. Yes, Jenin may have been devastated, but no more than necessary to erase yesterday's, and next week's, and possibly, next month's Kamikaze.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:35 PM on April 19, 2002

'There is no bartering with terrorists factions that claim no interest in negotiation, whose sole purpose for living is to destroy you.'

That's what we said.

Welcome to the War on Terror - at last.
posted by grahamwell at 1:40 PM on April 19, 2002

Beyond belief
posted by ParisParamus at 1:40 PM on April 19, 2002

You didn't answer my question, PP. You're a good lawyer, but a bad judge. Try again?
posted by riviera at 2:05 PM on April 19, 2002

Again, I didn't start this post, or any, claiming no one died in Jenin. The premise of the post is that something other than the necessary consequences of war happened there. Beyond the premise that Israel saw it fit to clean out the place because of the number of bombers who came from Jenin, and the understanding the place was loaded with munitions (and it was), I'm not claiming anything in this thread.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:09 PM on April 19, 2002

Palestinian civilian life

In a place so chock full of munitions and rule by mob and force, this term is essentially meaningless.

If only the energy and money spent creating bombs and destruction was spent creating an educated, civilized society in the territories.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:19 PM on April 19, 2002

Third time's a charm: who would you trust to account for what happened in Jenin? Please provide an answer.
posted by riviera at 2:48 PM on April 19, 2002

I'll trust the consensus view once American and European journalists and relief groups have assessed what happened. But for the moment, you have a small cadre of naive, sensationalist journalists expressing their astonishment that buildings were leveled (Gee! If only these same journalists were as astonished over the sheer amount of explosives discovered there). Wait a week or two.

PS: Here's a bias base line: it has now been established beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Israelis intercepted a ship carrying 50 tons of explosives headed towards Yasser Arafat. How much of a stink did the European media make over that? What did the UN do when that happened?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:58 PM on April 19, 2002

the burden of proof is on those claiming there was a massacre, not on those claiming there wasn't.

Why, exactly? This isn't a criminal trial. The thing to do here is look at the evidence and decide what the most likely cause of that evidence was. I don't know how many people died in Jenin, but I belive that it was over a hundred, and that 'several' of them were civilians crushed in their houses.

"Palestinian civilian life"

In a place so chock full of munitions and rule by mob and force, this term is essentially meaningless.

Ah, so your racism shows through. There are no palestiniean civilians, ergo, none were killed. You can define away problems all you want, but that dosn't mean they are solved.

I'm begining to think you are actualy an anti-semite out trolling.
posted by delmoi at 4:52 PM on April 19, 2002

Paris is either
a. an ultra-Jew who is so far-gone over the edge and beyond in his fervent, blind support of All Things Israel that he's certifiably insane, and can't be trusted to speak anything remotely truthful;
b. a would-be mole or troll engaged in reverse-psychology attacks on Israel, in hopes of swaying people's sympathies to the side of the Palestinians, in which case he can't be trusted to speak anything remotely truthful.

Doesn't much matter which he is, in the end.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:31 PM on April 19, 2002

Hey Paris, I think the Israeli army still has many more explosives.
posted by Settle at 7:28 PM on April 19, 2002

Oh, and you're debating I/P over TCP/IP. Wuhhhhhhhhhhhh this is delicious.
posted by Settle at 7:29 PM on April 19, 2002

No, it's not a criminal trial, but basic logic dictates you prove what you claim; not me.

As for civilian life, is there any in a region of Lebanon controlled by Hizbolah? At some point subordination to a wacky, militaristic credo negates civilian life. That was the case in Jenin. And that is why Americans know the Israelis are right, and the Palestinians, however tragically delluded, are wrong.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:50 AM on April 20, 2002

argumentum ad populum, I believe. And it's not as if General Sharon doesn't bring a tank-commander's mentality to governing Israel, as one of the UK's most prominent Jewish MPs noted this week.
posted by riviera at 1:27 PM on April 20, 2002

Half the people on metafilter really annoy me with this whole terrorism thing: The point of terrorism is NOT to terrorize. If it were that, terrorism would be no different from anarchy. Until you realize the point of terrorism is for specific human rights, you will never be able to attenuate it. This is what half of metafilter and half of america does not perceive. This is the problem.
posted by wantwit at 3:36 PM on April 20, 2002

that is why Americans know the Israelis are right
So I can take it you're representative of all Americans? I don't think the rest of them will be pleased, being labelled as a bunch of racist bullshitting... I just don't know how to end this ParisPamarus, please don't leave Metafilter ever, you're the greatest argument there is against Israel's actions. Luckily I know some people from Israel who do the country a favour and act like human beings. As with most people I'm beginning to think you're a Palestinian troll.
posted by Zootoon at 4:09 PM on April 20, 2002

ParisPamarus, you claim what you expect to prove and will do anything within your power to prove your claim against all odds, against all fact. You are definitely a troll, as are the world leaders implicated in this horrendous situation.

News of this sort is debated for the pure hell of it. We will rarely - dare I say never - be able to prove to opposing parties their claim is equally valid. Now that the world is wired, metafilter is becoming a war of words with even less a point than a real war. I will continue to reiterate my displeasure with these threads. Unfortunately, name calling only perpetuates their intensity.
posted by wantwit at 4:43 PM on April 20, 2002

'and they say they have never seen anything like it'...

Where was Roed-Larsen and the UN when in Srebrenica, a town that had been designated a protected United Nations area, Bosnian Serb forces first deported thousands of women and children and then, according to United Nations investigators, executed more than 7,000 unarmed men and boys, in the worst massacre of the Bosnian war.
posted by semmi at 10:36 PM on April 20, 2002

Today's dose of non-CNN.

posted by ParisParamus at 5:26 AM on April 22, 2002

Thanks for the pointer to Podhoretz, very helpful.
posted by sheauga at 6:47 AM on April 22, 2002

please, paris is not a troll. this MeFi war is is nothing like intellectual aruguments that take place else where, here, they tend to fade and none gets shot at, elsewhere they go on and on...wantwit does have a point. But these threads can be good, if only to enlighten a few. (this could take the form of a black lump in the stomach when arguing a subject full of emotion)
posted by clavdivs at 8:14 AM on April 22, 2002

Is the "massacre" down to 100 from 500 yet? Can I tell my broker to buy fake, massacre futures (FMFs)? I'll sell at 67. Or maybe I'll Shekel Cost Average out.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:44 PM on April 23, 2002

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