The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: The Evidence

 evidence-based reports | authored and compiled by
constantine kaniklidis
scholars for peace in the middle east (spme) | director, progressive voices for peace in the middle east (pvpme)

JENIN - anatomy of a myth 


"Operation “Defensive Shield” was an Israel Defense Force (IDF) response to repeated Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israel (mainly from Jenin, Tulkarm, Nablus and Bethlehem, primarily by Fatah, Tanzim and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade)48-51, culminating in a spree of Palestinian violence in March 28 -31 2002 (Park Hotel, Netanya) during the Passover holiday that claimed the lives of 53 civilians and wounded over 258 others (following, among dozens of others, the terrorists attacks at the Dolphinarium disco in Tel Aviv on 1 June 2001 that killed twenty-one people, and the bombing at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem on 9 August 2001 that killed fifteen). In April 2002, Israeli troops entered the Jenin Refugee Camp from which it was known that the terrorists were operating and served as a launch site for terrorist attacks against Israeli towns and villages.. During the ensuing fighting, the terrorists used human shields extensively47. Understanding the risk to civilians, the IDF chose to mount ground operations rather than aerial attacks. The Secretary-General, Report Prepared Pursuant to General Assembly Resolution ES-10/10, U.N. Doc. A/ES-10/186 (July 30, 2002). The Israeli Supreme Court addressed the incident in H.C. 3114/02, Barake v. Minister of Defense (Apr. 14, 2002).

►The Lies Exposed
It is by now well-known and supported on the evidence that:

(1) Anti-Israel NGOs, international organizations and representatives, several foreign governments, Palestinian reporters and propagandists, filmmakers, and an assortment of gullible journalists who systematically failed to exercise due diligence and journalistic integrity, prematurely and against the facts condemned Israel for committing multiple atrocities in the course of military operations  in April 2002, as part of Operation Defensive Shield (March 29 and April 21, 2002) in the Jenin Refugee Camp, a known Palestinian terrorist/militant stronghold within Jenin (with militants from the Al-Aqsa Brigades, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas, and from which 28 suicide bombers infiltrated Israel and perpetrated atrocities against hundreds of Israeli civilians during the previous 18 months, showing Jenin's deserved reputation as "A'simat Al-Istashidin" (suicider's capital))1,2,28, part and parcel of the widespread and well-documented phenomenon of terrorists based in UNRWA refugee camps28-38,45,46 engaging in a systematic and deliberate campaigns of terror aimed at inflicting as many casualties as possible on the Israeli population. 

(2)  Evidence decisively and unambiguously shows the claimed massacres to have never happened, being part of an elaborate and scurrilous hoax orchestrated to fuel every-ready anti-Israel prejudice and hatred.   The claim from multiple sources was that the Jenin refugee camp was completely destroyed by blanket bombing by Israeli IDF  forces.  This was shown to be false by real-time aerial video and satellite photographs3.  In addition Martin Himel's 2004 documentary "Jenin: Massacring Truth"4 exposes the biased coverage of the non-existent IDF-directed massacre in Jenin in April, illustrating the irresponsible and unsubstantiated reporting of United Nations officials, the BBC, the Times, and the Guardian among  many other European media, and along with Pierre Rehov's film The Road to Jenin5, these expose the lies and distortions of Muhammad Bakri's now discredited propaganda film ("Jenin, Jenin", funded by the  Palestinian Authority who supplied it demonstrably false information, and acknowledged by Bakri himself who admits to the numerous gross fabrications)6

►The Facts: No Massacre
The Palestinians have repeatedly claimed that a massacre had been committed in the days immediately following the battle in the Jenin Refugee Camp: thus Spokesman Saeb Erekat told CNN7 that at least 500 people were massacred and 1,600 people, including women and children, were missing. But when it became manifest that no such evidence could be produced  to support the scurrilous charge, their own review committee (and admitted by Mousa Kadoura, director of Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization for the northern West Bank8) reported a death toll of 56, of whom 34 were combatants, and at least some of the remaining 22 civilians killed were used as human shields by Arab terrorists (a war crime under international Laws of Armed Conflict / LOAC)), and no women or children were reported missing, and that no more than 6 - 10% of the camp was damaged27;3-5.

►The Facts: Palestinian Violations of International Law
Consequently, many Palestinians living in the camp were killed by the booby traps set by Palestinian forces. It should be noted that the setting of traps and explosive charges in a residential area are a direct contravention of the international rules of war, where, under the Geneva Conventions of 1977, Rule 97: Human Shields, it is prohibited to “direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations”,. also under Article 51: Protection of the civilian population, and under The UN Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (1980/3, and under Convention (IV) Article 28 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, which expressly prohibit the use of booby traps against a civilian population40,41. (On the other hand, the  IDF forces of Israel were documented to have made repeated and sustained efforts to warn and allow remaining civilians to leave, and to reduce civilian collateral damage43,44).

The facts above collectively demonstrate the cynical mythology of the "Jenin Massacre" narrative, now one of history's most elaborate and outrageous - and indisputably exposed - hoaxes 3-5;8-13;26,27.       

►The Facts: The Violators In Their Own Words
But key Palestinian participants in Jenin add further evidence, acknowledging show they:

(1) booby-trapped the Jenin Refugee Camp elaborately,
(2) armed themselves and civilians with explosive belts and grenades and
(3) enlisted those women and children into the battle.

These admissions include those from:

(1)  Sheikh Abu Al- Hija, the commander of the Hamas Izza Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades in the Jenin Refugee Camp14-17 (re acknowledgement to Al-Jazeera (Qatar) of booby trapping, with "explosive devices on the roads and in the houses"18).  
(2)  Also Islamic Jihad bomb-maker Omar, in interview in  Egyptian government-sponsored Al-Ahram Weekly,  cross-confirmed how the Palestinians booby-trapped Jenin, with participation of women and children ("We had more than 50 houses booby-trapped around the camp" and "More explosives were hidden inside the cars of Jenin's most wanted men"19). 
(3) Abu Jandal (real name later confirmed: Hazem Ahmad Rayhan Qabha), Islamic Jihad commander of the Jenin Refugee Camp confirmed the abhorrent use of Palestinian children and school bags filled with explosives: "Believe me, there are children stationed in the houses with explosive belts at their sides"20-22
(4)  This (use of children with explosives) is again cross-confirmed by Jamal Huweil, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades commander in the Jenin Refugee Camp23, and by
(5) Muhammad Tawalbeh, Islamic Jihad Commander in Jenin who admits to preventing civilians (men, women and children) from leaving the camp24.     

Further confirmations of these morally repellent violations of international law to assure the highest adverse consequences for Israel are available from multiple independent sources, including the respected Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)25.

In the light therefore of the above evidence:

(1) no claim re an Israeli-directed and implemented massacre in Jenin is sustainable, nor
(2) of any significant violations of international law - except by Palestinians - and that
(3) the repeated invocation of "the Jenin Massacre" represents demonstrable willful falsification of the facts, and exposes the claimant to the charge of morally repugnant anti-Israel prejudice, as instantiated in disproportionate condemnation, asymmetrical and selective application, and distortive or absent equitable context which are the elements used in international law to discover prejudicial acts and expressions (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), among others).

Time finally to put aside the mythological narratives and engage honestly towards the goal of an equitable peace for the competitive nationalist aspirations of two peoples for self-determination in the same land.

1.    Richter, Elihu D. Terror toll before Jenin. Eur J Public Health (February 2005) 15 (1): 105. At:
2.    Erased in A Moment, Suicide Bombing Attacks Against Israeli Civilians. Human Rights Watch, October 2002. At:
3.    Aerial Photographs of Jenin (April 2002). Israel Foreign Ministry. At:
4.    Himel, Martin. Jenin: Massacring Truth. Video, 2004. At:
5.    Rehov, Pierre. The  Road to Jenin. Video, At:
6.    Palestinian producer: "Jenin, Jenin" false film funded by PA. Independent Media Review Analysis (IMRA). January 17, 2005. At:
7.    Erekat, Saeb. Interview by Wolf Blitzer. CNN. April 17, 2002. At:
8.    "Jenin 'massacre' reduced to death toll of 56". The Washington Times. May 1, 2002. At:
9.    Gil-White, Francisco. "The Road to Jenin: The Racak “massacre” hoax, and those whose honesty it places in doubt: Helena Ranta, NATO, the UN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The Associated Press, and Human Rights Watch". Historical and Investigative Research. Oct. 2005. At:
10.  Gross, Tom. "Jeningrad: What the British media said". The National Review. May 13, 2002. At:
11.  Anatomy of Anti-Israel Incitement: Jenin, World Opinion and the Massacre That Wasn't. Anti-Defamation League. May 29, 2002. At:
12.  Gross, Tom. Palestinians confirm: There was no Jenin massacre. Mideast Dispatch Archive. July 14, 2003. At:
13.  BACKGROUNDER: A Study in Palestinian Duplicity and Media Indifference. Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.  August 1, 2002. At:
14., April 20, 2002. [
15.  Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), April 7, 2002. Also cited in ref. [25] below.
16.  Cited in: Al-Shaab (Egypt), April 19, 2002. As translated by MEMRI, ref. [25].
17., April 20, 2002. Cited: MEMRI, ref. [25].
18.  Al-Jazeera (Qatar). April 8, 2002. Cited: MEMRI, ref. [25].
20.  The Palestine Center for Human Rights, Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, April 11-17, 2002. At:
21.  Al-Jazeera (Qatar), April 4, 2002. Cited: MEMRI, ref. [25].
22.  Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), April 7, 2002. Cited: MEMRI, ref. [25].
23.  Al-Hayat (London), April 5, 2002. Cited: MEMRI, ref. [25].
24., April 10, 2002. Cited: MEMRI, ref. [25].
25.  The Palestinian Account of the Battle of Jenin. Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No. 90. Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). April 23, 2002. At:
26. Sadeh, Sharon. How Jenin battle became a 'massacre'. The Guardian, Sunday 5 May 2002.
27.  Malachi, Yair. BBC coverage of the battle of Jenin – the so-called demolition of a refugee camp. Take a Pen. At:
28. Lantos, Tom. Ranking Democratic Member, International Relations Committee, United States House of Representatives. Letter to Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations. May 2002. At: [McGill University List Server].
29.  Kaniklidis, C. False Gods: UNRWA. At:
30.  Romirowsky, Asaf. Defund UNRWA. The Washington Times. May 19, 2008. At: Also published on The Middle East Forum, at:
31.  Kushner, Arlene. Center for Near East Policy Research. UNRWA and Terrorism: Holding Funders Accountable. Gatestone Institute. November 3, 2008. At:
32.  Glazov, Jamie. Blocking UNRWA’s Terror Ties. Frontpage Magazine. October 16, 2009. At:’s-terror-ties-by-jamie-glazov-2/print/.            

33.  Spyer, Jonathan. UNRWA: Barrier to Peace. Perspectives Papers No. 44, May 27, 2008. World Security Network. At:
34.  Romirowsky, Asaf & Joffe, Aalexander H. Defund the UNRWA. The 60-year-old U.N. aid agency is keeping Palestinians from leading normal lives. The Wall Street Journal. Appril 1, 2011. At:
35.  Himelfarb, Joel. How UNRWA Promotes Palestinian Victimhood. Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). July 11, 2012. At:
36.  Romirowsky, Asaf & Joffe, Aalexander H. A Tale of Two Galloways: Notes on the Early History of UNRWA and Zionist Historiography. Middle Eastern Studies Volume 46, Issue 5, 2010. At: [Full-text:]
37.  Nachmias, Nitza. UNRWA Betrays Its Mission. Middle East Quarterly. Fall 2012, pp. 27-35. At:
38.  U.S. Government Accountability Office. Department of State (State) and United Nations relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Actions to Implement Section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 GAO-04-276R, Nov 17, 2003. At:
39.  Matt Rees, “The Battle of Jenin”. Time Magazine Online. At:
40.  Jean-Marie Henckaerts, Louise Doswald-Beck, Customary International Humanitarian Law. Vol 1: Rules (Cambridge University Press 2005), Rule 97. At:
41.  Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977. At:
42.  The UN Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects (1980). At:
43.  Rees, Matt. “The Battle of Jenin”; CNN, April 8, 2000. Subscriber content. Full-text courtesy of Union des Patrons et Professionnels Juif de France, at:
44.  Rees, Matt. "Untangling Jenin's Tale". Time, May 13, 2002.
45.   Cook, Jonathan. “The Engineer,” Al-Ahram Weekly Online, April 18-24, 2002, no. 582. At:
46.  Marcus, Jerome. "Jenin's War Criminals". The Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2002. At:
47.  Schmitt, Michael N. Human Shields in International Humanitarian Law. Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 47, 2009. At:
48.  Waxman, Dov. "Living with terror, not Living in Terror: The Impact of Chronic Terrorism on Israeli Society".  Perspectives on Terrorism. Journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI) and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS). Vol 5, No 5-6 (2011). At:
49.  BBC. "Analysis: Palestinian suicide attacks". BBC News. January 29, 2007. At: 50.  Moghadam, Assaf. Palestinian Suicide Terrorism in the Second Intifada: Motivations and Organizational Aspects. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. 2003 26:65–92.  At: [Subscriber content; full-text at:]
51.  Waxman, Dov. The Domestic Effects of Terrorism: A Case Study of the Impact of Palestinian Terrorism on Israeli Society during the Second Intifada. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association (ISU), San Francisco, CA, March 28, 2008. At:

* All references: last access: August 23, 2013. 

Note: Translations from the Arabic provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Last update: 23 August, 2013.

evidence-based reports: our reporting

Imperative in this context is a new equity in geopolitics that eschews disproportionate approbation of one actor to the exclusion of all others while also acknowledging the competitive narratives of national ambition and identity in the Middle East, with the need for new engagement and negotiation. 

This misplaced and uncritical reliance on ideological and prejudicial sources has evolved to be a formidable obstacle to peace in the Middle East. It has led to what others have termed a new “soft powerlessness” for Israel whose legitimacy has been successively eroded and who stands accused and convicted in the international arena. And it helps account for the current moribund state of peace negotiation. We therefore realized that what is needed to overcome these barriers to peace is effective confrontation through the exposure and refutation of lawfare as practiced by anti-peace NGOs and obstructionist initiatives like BDS. This will in turn require a new rational and equitable discourse in addressing the clash of competitive nationalist aspirations for self-determination in the same land, in order to achieve a fair and durable peace in the Middle East for Israel, and for the Palestinians.

To that end, I as Director of Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East (PVPME) and a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), have authored and compiled a series of evidence-based reports (EBRs) on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict which are founded on an objective critical systemic review of the core issues and a critical appraisal of the relevant arguments, sustained by scrupulous attention to and respect for principles of international and human rights law.  This demands (1) systematic review of all credible sources on an issue, (2) critical appraisal of all sources extracted for factual basis, (3) cross-confirmation of accuracy wherever viable, and (4) use of the highest caliber of sources available, with preference to peer-reviewed literature.

These evidence-based reports hone to the principles of the evidence-based paradigm and methodology as it has evolved from initial domain of application (medicine) into a broad spectrum of evidence-based practice and research
, in the form of evidence-based sociology, evidence-based education and evidence-based teaching, evidence-based psychology, evidence-based crime policy / policing, evidence-based  decision making /policy, evidence-based social work, among many others. We  also commit to industry-standards promulgated by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in their SPJ Code of Ethics, the guidelines for online  journalism issued by Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism in their What are the ethics of online journalism?, and the elements of PIRC (Public-Interest Responsible Communication), especially the Verification Of The Reliability Of Sources, the Independent Verification of Factual Assertions, the Transparency with Sources, and Assessing Objectivity. (For a good summary, see Elements of "Responsible" Journalism of the Canadian Journalism Project, a project of The Canadian Journalism Foundation in collaboration with leading Canadian journalism schools and organizations). 

progressive voices for peace (PVPME)

Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East (PVPME), a Brooklyn based initiative, grew out of the recognition that these next-generation obstacles to peace require effective confrontation through counter-lawfare initiatives and the need for a new rational and equitable discourse in addressing the clash of competitive nationalist aspirations for self-determination in the same land.

Director, Constantine Kaniklidis

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Constantine Kaniklidis | Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East | 2013.  All rights reserved.