Journalists View Slaughter As Sharon Declares Withdrawal Plans
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared this morning that he will withdraw troops from “some” Palestinian towns over the next few weeks. Meanwhile reports of mass killings, of war crime proportions, are filtering out of refugee camps as journalists wander through rubble that were once homes to thousands. Aid agencies in the Middle East are preparing to provide food and clothing to the thousands of displaced people.
The announcement raises hopes that Israel will now ease back on its offensive that has left possibly thousands dead in Palestinian cities, towns and camps throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
Sharon’s announcement however in no way means this murderous rampage is over. Israeli soldiers remain in Jenin, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and other Palestinian centres. Eyewitnesses say killings are continuing as Palestinian people reel at the brutality and force that the Israeli offensive has brought down on them. Israel’s actions are indefensible. The indefensible continues. We fear that this insult to humanity has only begun.
Independent journalists are getting their first glimpses of Jenin. The town resembles an earthquake zone. Rubble, twisted concrete, iron and blood-stained dust is what remains of civilian homes. Grotesque parched human forms sit, lie, decompose, where people once carved out an existence, a life.
One journalist writes: “Some were defiant, like the young girl, who stood outside a devastated building, her hand resting lightly on the picture frame [of Saddam Hussein] until she caught the eye of foreign journalists and held up the painting in a forlorn show of resistance. Others wandered aimlessly, faces frozen in blank shock.”
The journalists are getting inside Jenin now – but only after Israeli soldiers buried the dead in mass graves – others, scores of dead people, were trucked off to no man’s land for burial. War crimes occurred there. We are certain of that. The Geneva Convention was torn to shreds.
The consequence: Children are clawing through the destruction, looking for pieces of yesterday, searching for things that were once familiar but were blown away from them – trinkets, toys, bowls that served food, a favourite piece of clothing, loved ones, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers… anyone. They have seen horrors. Enough said.
One can almost hear voices from this “holy land”… voices that Israel ought to heed. Here are today’s children, left clinging to blood and dirt. Tomorrow… will be their’s to seek justice.First published on Spectator.co.nz…By Selwyn Manning.