uploaded : Wednesday 17th Apr 2002 at 18:56
by : Sheila Raviv
The View from Here.
I bumped into a friend on the street in Netanya today.
He was dressed in a dirty army uniform. He was unshaven, and he had an M-16 slung over his shoulder.
He had been allowed home on a 48 hour leave from his recruited army duty.A week before, he had been thrown into the hell-hole that is known as Jenin.
This mild, unassuming, smiling, young father of two tiny kids told me a little of his experiences there.
"It's unreal!". he told me. "Sort of like a Shwartzeneger movie.
Explosions. Non stop shooting. Burnt out cars."
I pressed him for more.
His shy grin faded. "A couple of guys from my unit were killed in that building that was booby trapped. You are getting shot at from every
direction. It's intense!"
Then he related a little of the causes of the devastation we see on our TV screens.
"We were carefully doing house-to-house searches. We found weapons, explosives, or terrorists in almost every house in the refugee camp. We
came to one house which had four gunmen inside. We ordered them to come out. They refused, so we
fired shots at the building. They fired back. We ordered them to drop their weapons and come out.
Again they refused. So we fired a LOW missile at the house. The front of the house caved in and we saw the four of them staggering about in the rubble, so we captured them and took them in for questioning."
My friend is going back to Jenin tomorrow. I gave him a hug and told him to stay safe.
The battle for the Jenin refugee camp was a dangerous and intense campaign.This place has, for a decade, become a hotbed of Palestinian militancy, and the home of many of the most vicious terrorist groups.
When the IDF responded to the Passover massacre (a true massacre that left the world silent - no sanctions or resolutions against the Palestinian
Authority), the Palestinian terrorists vowed to fight to the last bullet, urged on by cries from their leaders to become shahid (martyrs) to the
Israeli tactics were to proceed cautiously in their house to house search. The return fire was heavy. They encountered mines, car bombs, booby trapped building, sniper fire, suicide bombers. Naturally, civilians were often caught in the crossfire, or caught up in the ensuing battles.
The cautious approach was due to strict orders by the Israeli military and political leaders to avoid inflicting injury to innocent civilians.
The Israeli army proceeded slowly, despite calls from world leaders including President Bush to withdraw, as the resistance was still strong and
they were capturing stockpiles of weapons and wanted terrorists.
The change of tactics occured when thirteeen soldiers were killed in a booby-trapped building. Rescuers were hampered by snipers firing on them
Incidentally, Palestinian snipers were filmed firing on soldiers from the roof of a mosque. This was shown on TV in Israel, but not in other
countries.From that point, and due to the immense international pressure, the army adopted a heavier approach that included demolishing houses that had been used by the terrorists as firing positions, or that had been booby-trapped.
These are considered standard military tactics that are permitted to be applied against a stubborn and aggressive enemy.
There were certainly not any aerial bombardments as used by Allied forced in Iraq, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.
The world is craving to discover a massacre in Jenin in order to isolate Israel.
The EU were shouting about harsh sanctions against Israel simply based on the rumours and lies diseminated by the Palestinian and Arab spokesmen.
I am sorry gentlemen, and Rula Amin of CNN. You will not discover any massacre.You will find some civilian casualties. Their deaths and injuries are regrettable. Yet it remains to be proved if their injuries were not caused by Palestinian fire or explosions.
Israel was roundly condemned over the killing of 12 year old Mohammed Dura a year ago. It was later proved that this boy was shot by Palestinian sniper fire.
The world is quick to condemn Israel - even when the facts prove that the Palestinians are the guilty party.
We can be proud of the IDF for fighting a clean campaign, despite the increased hazard to our soldiers. What you will discover is that large numbers of terrorists have been killed.
In the brutal war against murderous terrorists, it is always preferable that their side suffers more casualties than yours.