remember Jenin?

For the same reasons which make us ignorant of our own and everyone else's past, most Americans don't remember the Israeli invasion of Jenin just one year ago. But now there's a book out in English, and it gamely attempts to get our attention. Because of the powerful politics behind the ownership of truth in the middle east, it may be recorded history's only hope, and, as this review by a prominent Israeli academic suggests, it may tell as much as we will ever know about what really happened.

Each reader will take something different from this book. For me as an Israeli, I find the description of the soldiers' conduct the most disturbing and most convincing part of the evidence. It is a story of the dehumanization that raged in Jenin. This is so well epitomized in the chronicles of Nidal Abu al-Hayjah as reported by Ihab Ayadi. After Nidal was wounded and lay crying for help, anyone who tried to come to his rescue was shot by Israeli snipers. He bled to death as so many others. Technically, he was not massacred, he was tortured to death. The deadly precision of the snipers as a means of deterring rescue operations is being reported in other testimonies in this book, such as that of Taha Zbyde, who was killed eventually by a sniper. This mode of action was and still is enacted wherever there is an Israeli operation in the occupied territories. It is part of the vicious repertoire of the inhuman occupation - the daily physical harassment and mental abuse at checkpoints, the prevention from pregnant mothers or the wounded to get to hospitals, the starvation and the confiscation of water. No wonder some Israelis felt this brings back memories from the darker days of the Second World War. I remembered Anna Frank's diary when I read Um Sirri's horrorific recollection of how women tried to swallow a cough that irritated the Israeli soldiers standing above them, pointing their loaded guns at them.
[thanks to Anees]

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Published on May 8, 2003 1:11 PM.

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