The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, April 15, 2002  


The aftermath of Israel's attack on the town of Jenin is not pretty.

Just a few observations from the article: "There's the Fashafsheh family. According to their relatives, the mother, father and son, 9, were killed when a tank fired a shell through their walls in downtown Jenin and a bulldozer plowed into their home, smashing it down on top of them."

"There's Rina Zayyed, 15, who said she was struck in the chest by a bullet as she sat at home with her father and brother. An Israeli helicopter gunship opened fire on a man in the street below who was recharging a cell phone from his car battery, she recounted, and a fragment hit her."

"There's Khadra Samara, 33, who said she shepherded more than a dozen children as she fled from house to house in the adjacent Jenin refugee camp, under repeated assault from bulldozers and missiles that, house by house, nearly toppled the walls on top of them."

"From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the army lifted the curfew for the first time since last weekend. The adjacent camp -- now largely empty -- stayed locked down. In those hours, movement on the roads was allowed but risky. Shortly after 10, a tank opened fire with its heavy machine gun on a boy, Fares Einad Zaben, 13, who ventured too close, doctors at Jenin's Razi hospital said. Struck in the chest, he died."

There's more. The following selections come from a report filed by Reuters.

"The once-teeming Jenin refugee camp was a scene of devastation yesterday, its houses and passageways smashed and riddled with bullet holes after fierce fighting against Israeli occupation. Several bodies lay decaying in the camp, the epicenter of resistance to Israel's two-week-old West Bank campaign, two days after the last diehard fighters were killed or had surrendered. Women and children struggled to survive in the ruins of the camp, cut off from the world by the Israeli army as it crushed Palestinian militants there."

"The contorted bodies of four Palestinian men lay in the ruins of a living room that had apparently been hit by a missile. In a room of a house 100 yards away, the bloated body of a middle-age man lay next to a bookcase."

"Spent rocket and bullet casings and glass shards speckled the twisting lanes, living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms of homes seen in a tour of the refugee camp, where only a few hundred of an original 13,000 residents remain. Residents said the army arrested most men in the camp and, using loudspeakers, told those remaining they should leave unless they wanted to end up in the rubble of their homes. The army said residents either left of their own accord or gunmen forced them out in order to booby-trap their homes. [Ed.: That has a ring of familiarity to it.] Some houses not damaged in the fighting appeared to have been ransacked."

"The camp perimeter is guarded round the clock by tanks and armored vehicles to keep outsiders, including reporters and aid workers, away. Jenin is under a general military curfew, lifted for a couple of hours periodically to allow residents to stock up on essentials. No males from the ages of around 15 to 50 were seen in the camp. Women said males of that age had either been killed or taken prisoner. Women said they were surviving on basic food stores and had some access to well water, but there had been no electricity for over a week. Children were filthy and some looked ill."

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