Thursday, April 25, 2002

The accusations about Jenin are still breathless - and contain no clarifications or apologies regarding previous charges. Mary Robinson's UNHRC has issued a new report accusing the IDF of using "human shields" when searching houses or opening suspicious packages and interfering with ambulances. They also offer a number of Palestinian casualties (much higher than the one given by the IDF), and a number of Israeli casualties from the most recent wave of human Jihad bombings (UNHRC says 62, Israeli media has been saying - and showing snapshot photos - of more than 100). Details

They also criticize the IDF for damaging infrastructure and imposing curfews etc. - though it doesn't sound like they're much interested in whether the damage etc. was "inordinate". When it comes to judging Israel, the UN seems to think that war itself is a "war crime".

I'm wondering how they got to only 62 Israeli casualties... maybe that excludes casualties from shooting incidents, soldiers in uniform who were riding civilian buses, and foreign workers. The higher number of Palestinian casualties must derive from the number of people reported missing, and no doubt includes terrorists galore.

The "human shields" charge, as reported, is characteristically vague. They make it sound like the IDF dragged innocent people with them to (futilely) avoid getting shot at, but a closer reading suggests they required people to open packages that they were carrying.
Let's hear the facts first.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Paranoia? I don't think so. Reuters reports: Israeli Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer says that the trend of the UN Jenin probe is `how to entrap Israel so it could be put on trial`.

Can anybody really disagree with him at this point?
Barry Rubin is an academic and columnist. He writes clear and pedantic explanations of the "situation" - often addressing the basic issues that are skirted by the Euros and the Western media.

Here he lists some current assumptions of Israeli policymakers.
CNN interviewed a Palestinian fighter from Jenin whose account sounds a lot like the Israeli one. He also says that he expected to be attacked from the air and that Israel's sending in ground troops was "a gift". link courtesy of Diane E.
This just in: Israel has decided not to cooperate with the UN fact-finding mission into the Jenin events. Israel says that the UN has reneged on its agreements regarding the mission. details

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

This is strange .. Several people involved in the killing of Minisher Rehavam Zeevi have been taking refuge with Arafat in his Ramallah compound. Now supposedly they are being tried by an impromptu court that the Palestinians have set up on the spot. details

Monday, April 22, 2002

I'm in the USA now for work (in a large city in the South). I couldn't find the NY Sun in the Newark airport.. I'll be here all week, so posts might be a bit irregular.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Overheard as the elevator doors were closing: "What, you're back from reserve duty!"
Several people sent me this link from an Egyptian newspaper which describes Jenin as the "City of the Bombers" where the "fighters" staged a proud last stand. I thought that it went without saying that Jenin was the site of fierce fighting between the IDF and Hamas/Jihad/Fatah folk who vowed to fight to the end. That's why the IDF lost 23 soldiers there - much more than in the fighting any place else. But apparently, this was news to many - including Sarge. Maybe I should write something about "things that go without saying to most Israelis".

Here is an editorial from the left-wing Haaretz about reactions to Jenin. Two good essays by Israeli academics: this one describes why aid agencies the Palestinian agencies are often mouthpieces for the PA. This one by Mark Heller tries to understand the background to European policies on current events here.

To the people who thought I sounded anxious on Friday - thanks for the kind emails.