Jenin 'massacre' reduced to death toll of 56.
May 1, 2002 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Jenin 'massacre' reduced to death toll of 56. Propoganda over, it's now official. I guess people will always believe what they want, but this comes straight from the Palestinian Authority.

I'm curious to know if this makes anyone in here feel the slightest bit regretful for jumping to conclusions (since we all know what happens when one assumes...).
posted by crustbuster (56 comments total)
can anyone find confirmation of this in another media source? i don't believe anything the Washington Times says.
posted by boltman at 12:14 PM on May 1, 2002

...and talking of coming straight from authorities, here is what one Israeli soldier confesses "However the soldier, who spoke to the paper anonymously, revealed that his unit had received orders to fire even if they could not see their targets. " (via BBC News).

Must make it kind of hard to know how many folks you've killed. Guess I'll wait until Israel lets the UN investigators in before jumping to any conclusions - except, of course, Israel is not letting them in right now.
posted by RichLyon at 12:19 PM on May 1, 2002

Jenin 'massacre' reduced to death toll of 56

The Boston 'massacre' was only 7 dead, 4 wounded. I think massacre is still a good word for it.
posted by plaino at 12:21 PM on May 1, 2002

~56! I kill more than that when I get popcorn shrimp for lunch. I can't believe anyone made a fuss over something that isn't even into the triple digits. ~

Massacre sounds pretty good to me
posted by thirteen at 12:27 PM on May 1, 2002

Also straight from the Palestinian Authority:

""The decision not to receive or cooperate with the UN fact-finding is further proof that Israel committed grave war crimes and massacres against Palestinian civilians. It also invalidates the Israeli government's repeated allegations that it has nothing to hide or fear. Moreover, the Israeli governments endless preconditions as well as its unrelenting efforts to dictate the mission's mandate and duties uncover Israel's intentions and demonstrates that it acted to ensure that the fact finding mission does not arrive to carry out its duties, thus ensuring that these atrocious crimes remain unknown to the world", added the spokesperson."

If the Washington Times article is to be believed, then you would think it would be the Palestinians who would be protesting the Jenin fact-finding team. Also someone didn't get the official statement, but with most of the PA infrastructure destroyed, that's not surprising!
posted by cell divide at 12:29 PM on May 1, 2002

56 Palestinian dead vs. 33 Israeli dead in this particular instance. While it's a horrible thing that 89 people are dead, I don't think this particular battle is so one-sided as to be called a massacre. In my opinion of course.
posted by kokogiak at 12:33 PM on May 1, 2002

Hey, just 56 deads!

Fine, fine, fine, as long as you are not one of them, or have a close relative, friend, etc among them.

Yes, 56 is pretty cool

Next in line please!
posted by samelborp at 12:38 PM on May 1, 2002

Oh, and by the way the official quoted in the WashTimes article is not part of the Palestinian Authority (which would explain the disconnect between his words and those of the PA) but rather a leader of Fatah (political party) in the Northern West Bank.

So far neither the Israelis or the Palestinians have released any official numbers.
posted by cell divide at 12:43 PM on May 1, 2002

From what I remember, this is the body count, and so doesn't include anybody crushed under a house, etc.

And the Washington Post has such a Zionistic slant, it's scary.
posted by taumeson at 12:44 PM on May 1, 2002

Ok, so Israelis and Palestinians killing each other is bad, but it's ok for us as a nation to go killing whoever we want? I know where the question will lead: the same reactionary crap about we were attacked and how I'm a big pussy, but let's be real. Killing is just fine by this audience so long as it's officially sanctioned Amer'cuns doing it.

Massacre or not, 56 are still dead.
posted by shagoth at 12:47 PM on May 1, 2002

Listen people, this is a war. Israel was accused of war crimes during a massacre of some 500 innocents (or were you not paying attention). 50 or so armed men killed in battle does not constitute war crimes. It just doesn't.

Israel will never win the propoganda battle, and in this case they lose no matter what happens. If the UN does send a team of investigators it will be constituted partly by a seeming anti-semite, Cornelio Sommaruga, and an individual who's already made up his mind, Terje Larson. So if they come, you can seem to see how it'd turn out. If they don't come, the myth (i.e. lie) continues.
posted by crustbuster at 12:50 PM on May 1, 2002

taumeson, it's the Washington Times. As an aside, The Post has actually been more Pro-Palestinian than many.
posted by crustbuster at 12:52 PM on May 1, 2002

One more thing, the operation that just occurred came directly after one solid week (and sometimes more than one a day) of suicide bombers. Culminating with the one at the Passover seder in Netanya where 28 people were killed and 150 injured. That was of course followed by 15 who were killed in a Haifa restaurant. It goes on.

We don't live in a vacuum. Things often happen in response to something else (especially in the middle east). But I've never heard the outrage here in Mefi, or out there in the media as I did when the Palestinians lied and claimed to have been 'massacred.'
posted by crustbuster at 1:03 PM on May 1, 2002

when the Palestinians lied and claimed to have been 'massacred.

How on earth can you, oh wise one who is chastising some invisible people for jumping to conclusions, leap to the completely unsubstantiated premise that the Palestinians who have made claims regarding the actions in Jenin are lying. To say that the article you point to completely clears up this issue to the point where we can start calling people liars betrays the fact that you have already made up your mind about what has happened.

I can't say with any certainty whether a massacre occurred in Jenin or not, and I'd say its a safe bet to say you can't either. Which is precisely the reason independent fact finding missions are necessary to unearth what has actually happened (and no they don't have to be UN sponsored). Also, as has been pointed out previously in this thread, it is not just the number of dead that will substantiate claims of a 'massacre', but also the methods used in the fighting and how the civilian population was treated.
posted by buddha9090 at 1:25 PM on May 1, 2002

What crustbuster said.
posted by xammerboy at 1:25 PM on May 1, 2002

A solder was to shoot at a target whether or not he could see anyone? wow. Have you ever been in the military? Somebody shooting from a building you shoot back.
posted by Postroad at 1:36 PM on May 1, 2002

As I said earlier and as far as "the methods used in the fighting and how the civilian population was treated,"please see the US Army manual for procedure in urban warfare.
posted by semmi at 1:39 PM on May 1, 2002

Miss me yet?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:45 PM on May 1, 2002

actually buddha, irregardless of the what the media says, I (the wise one) can say they lied. three of my friends were there. two in jenin. one in ramallah. thankfully they all came back. the stories they told were not pretty and they were definitely not happy to be there, but I can tell you there was no massacre. of course, I do agree that for a consesus to be built my words, as wise as they may be, are not enough. we will wait for more articles, releases, pictures, etc.

and by the way, of which 'methods' do you speak? the fact that soldier were sent on foot into the narrow streets of jenin that scream ambush? (it wasn't until 13 went into a booby trapped block of houses and didn't come out that bulldozers were used) it's been said before that if this had been the US, the place would have just been carpet bombed and that would be the end of that. and, of course, if this had been another arab country they would have have been gassed a la Iraq under Sadaam, or completely obliterated and turned into a landfill a la Jordan of the late 60s. what you also never hear is that announcements were made repeatedly for people to leave freely (well, somewhat freely I guess). not to be too cold hearted, but those who stayed knew what to expect. this really could have turned out much worse for the Palestinians, with many more dead and much more destruction.
posted by crustbuster at 1:46 PM on May 1, 2002

er, there was actually more than just one 'soldier.'
posted by crustbuster at 1:47 PM on May 1, 2002

25% and rising. Don't know who you remind me of.
posted by Zootoon at 1:56 PM on May 1, 2002

50 or so armed men killed in battle does not constitute war crimes.

From CNN:
An official from Human Rights Watch said Sunday his group had documented the cases of 52 people who died in the fighting at the camp and that 21 of those were thought to be noncombatants.

21 non-combatants doesn't make much of a massacre either, at least by the standards of our own American tragedy at My Lai (300+, less we become self-righteous). 21 innocent human beings dead is still not inconsequential, but I think Sharon was foolish to bar the UN team if this was all that the investigators would find.

it will be constituted partly by a seeming anti-semite

You do realize that Arabs are Semites as well as Jews, don't you, crustbuster?
posted by norm29 at 1:59 PM on May 1, 2002

yes, norm I do. you do realize the word is used to connote jews, right?
posted by crustbuster at 2:07 PM on May 1, 2002

crustbuster, We have had no independent report on what happened in Jenin. So lets keep it there. But your assertion of a lie having its own life would make us believe that even Sabra and Chatilla are propoganda master pieces. Sharon is gonna go, soon. Then the next government will have to deal with what he has done.
posted by adnanbwp at 2:10 PM on May 1, 2002

Having a political, military indifference with India doesnt make Pakistanis anti-Hindu and vice versa. Similarly having a political, military indifference with Israel doesnt make any one anti-semite. Too much time and energy has been spent to hush people. I hate it when anti-semitism is used as a tool to gain higher ground in a debate. If criticizing Israel is anti-semitism then I am a big one. And therefore screw political correctness.
posted by adnanbwp at 2:16 PM on May 1, 2002

Note that the Washington Times report differs very much from the wire reports it's indebted to. ( has a selection of recent AP pieces, if you search for 'Jenin'.) The Fatah spokesperson reported 56 bodies recovered so far, not a final total of 56 killed. There's a rather big difference, as everyone knows from the fluctuating numbers put forward in NYC post-Sept 11th. Anyway, that's just one example of dubious reporting in the piece. A few more source names would help, too.

Oh, and the next time I read 'listen, this is a war' or its variants, I'll be tempted to use it in the context of Auschwitz. It's no more a contribution to discussion than a throat-clearing gob of phlegm.
posted by riviera at 2:19 PM on May 1, 2002

adnanbwp, I was referring to Charles Krauthammer's article regarding the ICRC and Sommaruga's feelings about Israel. is this merely politics? even if it is (which I doubt), this is one of the men whom Annan wants to judge what happened. does he sound biased to you?
posted by crustbuster at 2:31 PM on May 1, 2002

crustbuster, you write as if Israel has been treated as some poor helpless victim of the mean nasty Palestinians. As if they weren't just as culpable for for all the war and killing. Neither side is innocent.

Yes you sound very biased.

You may find a more receptive audience if you work on that.
posted by Red58 at 2:44 PM on May 1, 2002

Postroad: Have you ever been in the military? Yes. Somebody shooting from a building you shoot back.
I think the problem is that the buildings were in a civilian population center, the legitimate inhabitants of which the Israeli forces had prevented from leaving and then systematically denied access to medical assistance, food and water (this much was reported by foreign press before they were expelled "for their own safety"). I don't think I would shoot back, in that instance, and on that basis regard their behaviour as indistinguishable from thuggery. But maybe some more facts would help me to decide.

Would you say the Jewish lobby was an influential one in US politics?
posted by RichLyon at 3:24 PM on May 1, 2002

..."intentional demolition of structures can change the topography of an area and destroy reference points, create obstacles to mobility, and provide additional defensive postions for defenders."

U.S Army Manual: 'Comined Arms operations in Urban Terrain, Urban Terrain Analysis Matrix- Special Terrain Conditions.' (chap. 2)

so...the IDF was providing cover for the enemy? or where they just obscuring their own reference points?
posted by clavdivs at 4:18 PM on May 1, 2002

Massacre or not, 56 are still dead.

And about 3000 people are still dead from 9/11 attacks. I say both are related. The Palestinians celebrated the 9/11 attacks. Why do weep for those who advocate death of innocent Americans?
posted by Rastafari at 4:18 PM on May 1, 2002

section: b
posted by clavdivs at 4:19 PM on May 1, 2002

i'd like to impose a ban on the use of the 'i saw them brown fella's on tv dancin' becus we americans got killed - let's get em boys'

every country on earth has reactionary racist idiots, and you can be sure the camera crews of cnn etc will find them.

i'm sure the first bomb dropped by america was celebrated which just as much simplistic blood lust by idiotic patriots in bars throughout the west.
posted by mrben at 5:10 PM on May 1, 2002

i'm sorry Rastafari i wasn't singling you out specifically, more your comments reminded me of many many others i've read here over the months echoing the same sentiments but with more blood lust
posted by mrben at 5:14 PM on May 1, 2002

" least by the standards of our own American tragedy at My Lai"

Or Nagasaki or Hiroshima, both of which were civilian targets with gruesome long-term consequences from radiation poisoning.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:18 PM on May 1, 2002

A news portal for all sides: MidEast Web
posted by sheauga at 5:45 PM on May 1, 2002

we'll be back after this word from our sponsors...
posted by quonsar at 5:46 PM on May 1, 2002

Is there an equivalent to Godwin's law and invoking the word "Anti-Semite" to win a point?

Any way, I thought that this analysis of those satellite pictures of Jenin was interesting. Basically until an independent investigation is held we can only claim to be ignorant about the facts.
posted by lagado at 6:38 PM on May 1, 2002

You taunt me.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:45 PM on May 1, 2002

Chandler is no doubt a learned scholar, few rival his work concerning Cambodia. but he was wrong in alot of his reports just after the fall of Phenom Pehn. It starts when he says ...'There were reports...'
posted by clavdivs at 7:43 PM on May 1, 2002

"gruesome long-term consequences from radiation poisoning' In 93' WTC attack had a device that was intended to poison the air within the tower, but Yousef made a bomb to powerful, thus the device incinerated rather then delivered its payload...i suspect FFF has an inferiority complex concerning body count. by this pathetic argument, we should charge Richard the Lionheart with war crimes-assault with a rotting corpse by catapult.
posted by clavdivs at 8:00 PM on May 1, 2002

Miss me yet?

posted by ook at 8:04 PM on May 1, 2002

Miss me yet?

posted by onegoodmove at 8:56 PM on May 1, 2002

The facts will eventually come out... but facts seem to have little or no place in this conflict.
posted by chaz at 9:26 PM on May 1, 2002

Miss me yet?

are you serious?

You taunt me.

No, taunting you would be to say, "Shut up, you scrub, and don't show up until your "self-imposed" ban appears to be legitimate". Taunting would be, "How pathetic are you to not comment on the situation but instead comment on your own hiatus." But, hey, I'm a nice guy. I wouldn't taunt you.

Instead I say, massacre is a term used to create sympathy for the idiot public. People died before and people will continue to die until we put behind our biases and realize that both sides are wrong. Enough with the debate; the polls are in: both sides will continue to kill each other until WE, the US and the Free World, decide that violence is not the damn solution. Oil is, bwah ha ha.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:21 PM on May 1, 2002

I've posted this before but here it goes again:
From an article by Mouin Rabbani:
"...Does the atrocity perpetrated by Israeli forces qualify as a massacre? If one equates this term with the systematic slaughter of virtually every man, woman, and child with whom the Israeli military came into contact, the answer is a clear no. Given the methods used by Israel to conquer Jenin, it also seems unlikely that most civilian victims were first clearly identified as such and subsequently deliberately killed on this basis. Rather, it appears to be the case that a minimum of many dozens of Palestinian civilians were killed through a combination of the deliberate and indiscriminate use of excessive and disproportionate force in a densely-populated residential area, in a number of cases for purely punitive purposes; sniper fire; summary executions; and last but certainly not least the systematic interdiction of medical and rescue services from the very outset of the invasion until many days after the final cessation of hostilities. Many would indeed characterise the grim results of the sum total of these measures as a "massacre" - particularly if persistent allegations that Israel surreptitiously removed corpses or dug mass graves are proven true. Others would suffice with terming such conduct an "atrocity". In view of what we already know about what happened in Jenin, it is a semantic rather than substantive distinction, which will prove of little use to those responsible if they ever face a court of law..."
posted by talos at 2:31 AM on May 2, 2002

tell me talos, is it also an atrocity or crime against humanity to convince a people that the only way to heaven (and all those virgins) is to die while killing others? never mind that an obvious goal seems to be to kill as many children, teenagers, and elderly as possible (i.e. not soldiers). Look to the Dolphinarium, Sbarro, and Seder night attacks for insight.
posted by crustbuster at 5:02 AM on May 2, 2002

crustbuster: I'm having a hard time understanding your position. I don't detect anyone here making the point that only the Israeli's are guilty of thuggish behaviour. The point has been (well) made several times that both sides are (or appear to be from the evidence available to us) wrong. But atrocities by Palestinian terrorists neither justify nor negate the need to investigate whether Iraeli military have also conducted atrocities. The need is even more urgent as the Israeli military enjoy an annual stipend from the US of nearly $2 billion...
posted by RichLyon at 8:40 AM on May 2, 2002

Rich, I guess you haven't read any of the multiple posts here or newspapers that printed that over 500 people were killed in an Israeli massacre at Jenin. Granted, we don't know the facts yet, but what crustbuster was asking was now that it appears those papers might be wrong, does anyone here feel the need to retract any of the nastier opinions they posted immediately after this story broke?

The answer is no. Instead, thise people are verging toward a grayer and grayer definition of massacre. God forbid there is an investigation and they find no one was killed, I would hate to see the mind-bending rationalistic arguments that would be presented here in order to still define this battle as a "massacre".

It's a joke. When will Israel be allowed to defend itself, and under what circumstances? When thousands of people are killed? We're there already. When children are used as weapons? We're there already. Let's face it, the terror will never be enough, the situation never good enough. Try explaining this is a war, and that Jenin was a battle in which (perhaps) 56 people were killed as casualties, and you'll get a nice response like this one:

the next time I read 'listen, this is a war' or its variants, I'll be tempted to use it in the context of Auschwitz. It's no more a contribution to discussion than a throat-clearing gob of phlegm.

56 dead = Auschwitz? Riiiight.

I would laugh were it not clear that a lot of the world agrees. Think its funny that many French people believe that the WTC bombing is a staged event that the United States made up to garner support for Israel? How about the "Kosher Conspiracy" article on the cover of England's "The Statesmen", a magazine that has the prestige and readership of the "Times" here in the U.S? Israeli papers may be pretty polarized, but I haven't read anything as funny in them, as the stories being printed about Israelis eating the blood of Israeli children.

I hope that these beautiful bleeding hearts who've come up with all the answers in their warm armchairs one day find themselves fighting for survival with a sick, twisted culture of violence and death. If they ever did, though, they'd probably just blame it on Israel.
posted by xammerboy at 11:03 AM on May 2, 2002

xammerboy: My (admittedly hazy) recollection of the history of the region is that the current Israeli state was created on territory originally belonging to the Palestinians, and began their occupation at the instigation of the British originally in 1870 and then substantially after 1945. The indiginous Palestinians were forced (at risk of violence) to leave and take up residence in refugee camps including, amongst other places, Jenin.

From this perspective, Israel doesn't appear to be defending itself so much as occupying, using overwhelming military force bankrolled by the US. The Palestinians, on this account, would appear to be fighting for their freedom from a platform of extreme economic disadvantage (which does not justify the means they employ but one is left to ponder what other methods they have at their disposal).

I am therefore quite at a loss to understand either the moral basis of the Israeli claim to legitimate occupation of the entire region without negotiation, or the US's continued support of that position (hence my enquiry as to the nature of the influence of the Jewish lobby on US foregn policy).

Any more erudite MeFi luminaries care to correct/enlighten me?
posted by RichLyon at 1:55 PM on May 2, 2002

... territory originally belonging to the Palestinians...

No. And all of the answers to all of your questions, whatever you want the answer to be, are already contained in previous threads on this subject. I may never contribute to another I/P thread again. Gee, maybe that SSRI is working. But don't provoke me.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:29 PM on May 2, 2002

is it also an atrocity or crime against humanity to convince a people that the only way to heaven (and all those virgins) is to die while killing others?
Yes, if by others you mean civilians it is an atrocity. How does that negate what I posted? The so called Racak massacre in Kosovo (which has not been conclusively proven) involved less than 56 caualties. It was the excuse that triggered the bombardment of Yugoslavia. Notice the similarity of situations: Yugoslav army responds to the targetting of police stations and Serb civilians by the KLA by a show of force, civilian casualties among the ethnic Albanian populations ensue, this is immediately called a massacre and Yugoslavia as a whole is punished... While... anyway you get the picture.
Other than that what Rich Lyon said.
Human Rights Watch BTW pretty much agrees with Rabani's assesment.
posted by talos at 7:17 AM on May 3, 2002

Just found this article making the comparison between the coverage of Racak and Jenin in the mainstream Western media.
posted by talos at 8:00 AM on May 3, 2002

ParisParamus: I've taken my response over to metatalk. It seemed like the constructive thing to do.
posted by RichLyon at 11:22 AM on May 3, 2002

This diary of an Israeli soldier, taken from a Web site of the Chasidic group Chabad may dispell some of the defamatory remarks of this thread.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:28 PM on May 5, 2002

I like this news. It suggests, perhaps, that the worst is over, at least in the West Bank. On the other hand, I'm not looking forward to what the IDF will find in Gaza. Since Gaza borders on Egypt, rather than Jordan (which takes terrorism seriously, and does not have its main population centers separated from Israel by a desert), you'd think the worst terrorism infrastructure would be there.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:29 AM on May 10, 2002

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