- We entered Jenin camp on the morning of the 14th. It
was and still is a closed zone, but we didn,t ask permission to go in,
and the few soldiers that saw us, did not intervene.
- The lower portion of the camp appears to be almost completely
deserted, except for some wandering chickens and goats, and it looks like
every house has been damaged in some way by fire, or tank, or rockets...
but most are still standing.
- The destruction in the center of the camp though is totala
huge area that is nothing but rubble in what was once the densest, most
populous, and poorest area of the campit was also the area of the strongest
resistance in the camp. Estimates form inside the camp varied between 250
350 homes demolished, or 450 to 600 families, or something 2000 people
with no home at all.
- The soldiers were working on this area with heavy equipment
for over a week, demolishing the houses, digging a huge trench, and filling
it with debris
- This is the area where the horrible stories of people
having their houses pushed down on top of them were. We heard theses stories
as well from people who had escaped, many who had lost children or other
family in the attacks. Some people said they were given a warning and time
to flee, others heard no such warning and just found the house collapsing
around them as they hid in what they thought was the safest room of the
housemost often the one nearest the bottom with no window or escape route.
- None knows the number of dead buried under the debris,
but at this point it would take an sifting operation something similar
in technique to the efforts at the world trade center to collect all of
the bodies and body parts..everything that is under there has been crushed
to small pieces by the 70 ton Macerva tanks.
- Total numbers of dead inside the camp range from 200
to 500. No one really has any realistic idea yet and no one here knows
how many where removed by the Israelis, but witnesses in the camp saw at
least two large refrigerated semi trailers in the camp, and the UN aid
people here maintain it is a relatively open secret that the Israelis
maintain an "enemies graveyard in the Jordan valley for events like
- There are still many families living in the top of the
camp, and probably 2/3rds of the houses there are still relatively intact.
There are still perhaps 2000 to 3000 people there, and we stayed inside
the camp with a family over night there and were able to talk to lot,s
of people there.
- Many women took us inside their or the family members
home to show us the damage caused bytthe soldiers. What was particulary
upsetting to most women was the damaged caused by the soldiers in their
house to house searches. Some houses were completely ransacked inside and
everything of value destroyed,..tv,s, radios, glass ware, etc. Even old
linens destroyed or used in the bathrooms by the soldiers.
- In other houses the actions did not appear to be quite
as malicious, they just tore everything apart in the search. In other
houses the sodliers camped out, left Israeli packaged food trash everywhere,
ate the Palestinian food in the house, and used the WC in inappropriate
- One universal complaint though was the looting of valuables
by the Israeli soldiers. Every woman complained of valuables being stolen;
gold, money, a camera etc. This has been a very common story all over the
west bank, people describing having their valuables or money stolen in
- No one really has good numbers for the numbers dead or
homeless. Not he hospitals, or aid agencies, or the red crescent. None
of them has officially been allowed back in the camp to do real aid work
yet, though yesterday they allowed two ambulances in to collect some of
the remaining bodies under Israeli escort, and they took out around ten.
They are hoping for more acess today. It appears the Israelis are finally
relaxing their control a bit, and several press went in yesterday as well.
The people inside the camp spent much of the last two weeks hidden in
their homes, so their information is not good eitherand they have no real
idea of the dead. There are volunteers going in now the last couple of
days, without permission like us, and yesterday they carried a dehydrated
women down to the hospital by hand. Today there will be an attempt made
to drive in a truck full of food.
- There are probably still several dozen bodies laying
in houses and even in the streets. Some women and children took us to
photograph some of these people, many dead for two weeks now. Some were
burned, some half buried, some laying under blankets in bed where they
clearly died wounded in their sleep. The smell in many areas of the camp
is of course very bad...