U.S. Muslims say "War Crimes" committed in Jenin
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today condemned what it called "war crimes" by Israeli occupation forces in the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin. According to media reports, the Israelis are preparing to raze the camp using bulldozers. The Washington-based Islamic advocacy group asked that President Bush stop the destruction of Jenin in order to prevent civilian deaths and to keep evidence of atrocities from being destroyed.
CNN's Rula Amin reported this morning: "…bulldozers now are knocking down houses there. And we have been hearing earlier in the day confirmed by units of officers in the field that the residents were asked through the loudspeakers by the Israeli army to leave their houses and to gather in locations on the outskirts of the camp. There is a lot of concern among the residents that what's happening is that Israeli bulldozers are bulldozing the houses. They are flattening the camp."
The French news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) reports that the Israeli army expelled some 800 women and children from the Jenin refugee camp on Wednesday. AFP quoted UNICEF officials who said, "The women and children were forced out on the streets of Jenin, where they have no protection, food or clothing." The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment cites eyewitness reports that Israeli forces are now digging what may be mass graves in the camp. Israel is refusing to allow aid groups or the media into Jenin.
Even Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres termed the army's actions in Jenin a "massacre."
"These war crimes, carried out using American-taxpayer-funded weapons, are being driven by blood lust and a thirst for revenge. We call on President Bush to stop this state-sponsored terror against innocent Palestinian civilians," said CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad.
Ahmad added that Israel's actions recall the destruction of more than 400 Palestinian towns and villages since 1948 and the 1982 massacre at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. He reiterated Muslim support for President Bush's demand that Israel withdraw from the cities it has invaded, end settlement activity and cease its daily humiliation of Palestinian Muslims and Christians.