IDF Bulldozers Buried Jenin
Dead Say Palestinians

By Anat Cygielman, Amos Harel and Amira Hass
Friday, April 12, 2002

The IDF buried the bodies of dozens of Palestinians killed in fighting in the Jenin refugee camp in a huge mass grave and used bulldozers to cover them up, Palestinian sources said yesterday. The army vehemently denied the allegations.
The IDF intends to bury today Palestinians killed in the West Bank camp. Around 200 Palestinians are believed to have been killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers since the start of the operation last week, although it is unclear how many of the bodies can be buried.
Military sources said until now the IDF has not buried any of the bodies. The sources said that two infantry companies, along with members of the military rabbinate, will enter the camp today to collect the bodies. Those who can be identified as civilians will be moved to a hospital in Jenin, and then on to burial, while those identified as terrorists will be buried at a special cemetery in the Jordan Valley.
One Israeli source said that the decision to bury the bodies was taken to prevent the Palestinians from using the bodies for propaganda purposes. Another source said the reason for the burial is for sanitation purposes, since some of the bodies have been in the camp for days on end.
The Palestinian Authority has expressed concerns that Israel is trying to hide the large number of dead, since it has blocked Palestinian medical teams from evacuating the dead and wounded from the camp during the past week.
Residents of the camp said yesterday that the IDF had cleared the bodies of dozens of Palestinians killed during the clashes in a ditch and used bulldozers to cover it up. The residents said the bodies had been pushed into their final resting place by the bulldozers. The Palestinians have informed international organizations, such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), about their claims.
Television networks yesterday carried the first pictures from the camp since the IDF offensive began. In the pictures, apparently shot by Palestinian crews, destruction can be throughout the camp's streets, although no bodies were spotted. One Palestinian woman, speaking to a reporter, said "they [IDF soldiers] dragged the bodies of our young martyrs and threw them into the gutter so that you reporters wouldn't see them."
The IDF claimed a couple of times this week that repeated calls to groups such as the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to clear the dead and injured went unanswered. Israeli public relations officials expressed concern that the Palestinians wanted to leave the bodies in the camp and use the images for their own purposes. The humanitarian organizations said the IDF had not allowed them into the camp.

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