Anniversary of Ginine Camp Massacre
The memory of Ginine Massacre, this black spot in the human history, is a clear testimony for the international reluctance and, even, collusion with the Israeli colonial project, which has committed a great many crimes, including killing, evacuation, etc., overlooking the simplest laws of human rights. The anniversary comes as pressures from everywhere continue to be practiced against the Palestinians, foreshadowing a new human crisis to come.
So as not to forget the great suffering experienced by the Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation, it was believed necessary to review this massacre, specially that the situation in Palestine suggests that a huge human crisis is about to happen, a crisis even bigger than that incurred by any other massacre.
Only a few days had elapsed since the Israeli forces have attacked the West Bank in 29/3/2002, when Israel sent a vicious military unit to fortify its siege on Ginine Camp. A squadron of helicopters and tanks then covered the camp, heavily bombarding houses, even those existent in the smallest alleys of the quarter. The Israeli tanks cordoned Ginine Camp: about 20 tanks collected around Barqin Valley, about 20 other tanks collected around the western entrance to the camp and the foot of the western mountain, and about 100 tanks were spread along the main street running between Genine and Hifa. The tanks were generating big amounts of dust accompanied by a heart-rending growl. Furthermore, the occupation forces displaced 800 citizens, men and women, who went to the neighboring village Ramana. They also detained men of ages ranging from 15 to 65 in the open air.
“The Camp turned into a heap of remains engulfed by the silence of graves. Those who survived kept inside the remaining houses out fear of any further raids or attacks”, says Magda Al-Buttsh, correspondent of the French News Agency, describing Ginine Camp.
The attack, claimed by Israel to be a military one, was actually an attack against the unarmed citizens. For the Israeli bulldozers set off sweeping houses in order to open up a route for the Israeli tanks and soldiers so that they can reach Al-Hawasheen Alley, existing in the middle of the camp.
Witnesses say that the majority of women and children were driven out of the camp by the Israeli soldiers. Houses were demolished by Israeli soldiers and people were chased from one house to another and were eventually forced to flee naked and bare-footed.
Gamal Abu-l-Heeja, one of the resistants, says, “the soldiers are demolishing houses over their residents, and the bulldozers are removing debris intermingled with dead bodies”.
Abdullah Salih, 25, says, pointing to water containers full of contaminated water in which small worms could be seen, “the first thing that the Israeli troops did was bombing the water reservoirs in the camp”.
For 9 consecutive days, the Israeli occupation troops kept pouring raids using helicopters and tanks over about 12,000 Palestinians in Genine Camp so as to weaken a group of militants who refused to surrender and preferred to fight until the end.
It was not until 9/4/2002 that a turning point had come. Thirteen Israeli soldiers had been killed in an ambush made by a group of Palestinian resistants. A few hours after this happened, the Israeli troops were reinforced and they started escalating their air and ground raids over the camp, which claimed the lives of over 500 Palestinians.
In the first official confession of the terrible practices made by the occupation forces, Shimon Peres, the Israeli Foreign Minister, described the incident as a “massacre”. Also, some Palestinian resistants informed the French News Agency that streets were teaming with dead bodies and injured people. Despite this, the Israeli forces would not allow ambulance cars to carry the injured, nor would they allow the Palestinians to bury their relatives.
In his first visit to Ginine, after the raids were over, Terry Larson, a UN delegate said, “the amount of destruction in Ginine is more than one could imagine”. In spite of such declaration, made by a UN official, the investigating commission set up by the Security Council had another stance on the issue. It never mentioned in its report any criticism against Israel, and it never visited Ginine Camp in the first place. Rather, the commission settled for listening to some witnesses. The resulting report was thus far from credible as it contained only distorted facts.