What really happened here?
July 2002
Published in "Haaretz" Daily -on 5 July 2002
The last week, following the events of Operation "Defence Shield" of the Israeli Army, I read a lot of updated information, from Israeli, Palestinian and international sources, including hundreds of e-mails, articles, arguments, reports. I also managed personal conversations. I tried to filter out sheer propaganda, cries of despair, confusion of people under stress.

My conclusion about facts are as follows:
1.There was no systematic elimination of Palestinian civilian population by the Israeli Army, neither in Jenin refugee camp, nor elsewhere. In this sense there was no "massacre".
2.Considering the life of Palestinian civilians; Although in some cases Palestinian civilians were intentionally shot by Israeli soldiers, this happened - as it seems - very rarely. On the other hand their presence was mostly ignored in fighting against armed Palestinians. On this way many civilians were wounded or killed.
3.Using civilians as "living shields": Israeli soldiers used civilian males when searching apartments, to knock on doors. To my question a soldier said me, that the main reason for this (usual) practice was to make the inhabitants to open the door in peace. Almost no Israeli soldier speak fair Arabic, so when one of the local neighbors call to open the door, things go more smooth.
4.Preventing medical and humanitarian aid from Palestinians; True. The army prevented in many cases from anybody to enter to just conquered areas or to neighborhoods under closure. Nobody could explain to me what was the reason - or pretext - for this inhuman practice.
5.Using ambulances to smuggle weapon or fighters; in rare occasion both side used this practice. The outcome for the Palestinian side was devastating: In some cases ambulances were attacked by Israeli soldiers, many of them were prevented to approach to combat area.
6.Looting: it was a well proved plague of this war. Especially in Ramallah and Betlehem private valuables were stolen from apartments, shops were robbed, equipment and money from offices disappeared. The Israeli military command tried to deny this ugly phenomenon, especially because widespread looting proves lack of discipline among the soldiers, but lately more and more voices are heard that admitted occurrence of looting.
7.Vandalism; In private homes it was occasional, not very widespread. Tanks smashed - just for fun - great number of private cars. It was systematic in offices, especially those associated in any way with the P.A. including NGOs, educational and research institutes. I can charge that almost every office that could have a future use for the P.A or to any extension of the Palestinian civil society has been systematically eliminated.
8.Fighting against infrastructure of terror: Many amateur workshops for producing explosives and weapon was found and destroyed. The main attack was directed against the "Tanzim" and this organization suffered great damage. The "Az a Din el Kassem" organization of "Hamas" was hurt much less and it remained with most of its potential to renew terror attack against Israeli population. (Hard not to wonder, how the most consistent terror organization that ideologically oppose the very existence of Israel was not the main target of "Operation Defense Shield" but rather the one that is connected to the "Fatah" and has no such ideological position).
To sum up: when considering the result of this Operation, its main target becomes clear: elimination of the P.A. - As simple as that.

Moreover: at the present the Israeli Army withdrew from most of the territories that conquered the last month, but total closure is still keeping on. The result in practice is, that on one hand Israel by inhuman total closure and by smashing all executive arms of the P.A. prevents every possibility to manage normal daily life of the Palestinian society (no social services, no communication, no school system, great difficulties to run the health system, no banks, no police etc. ), on the other hand it denies any responsibility for the situation.

Conclusion: The Israeli Government and the Army are interested to drag the Palestinian society into a state of chaos. What for? Because this will cause total despair, that will bring on one hand to mass - emigration of Palestinian population, on other hand to renewal of terror, that will bring to re-occupation of the West Bank. We are going to prove to the world, that the Palestinians are incapable to manage themselves: they are "not yet ripe" for this…

Back to My Articles