BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Middle East
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 3 May, 2002, 00:19 GMT 01:19 UK
'No Jenin massacre' says rights group
A mother holds her child in Jenin
The report claims that war crimes were committed
test hello test
By Paul Wood
BBC Middle East correspondent in Jerusalem

The campaigning group Human Rights Watch has completed a report into the Israeli army's operation in the Palestinian town of Jenin.

Palestinian civilians were used as human shields and the Israeli army employed indiscriminate and excessive force

Human Rights Watch report
The report says there was no massacre as the Palestinians have claimed, but it does accuse the Israeli army of committing war crimes.

Human Rights Watch has done a separate report on suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians as well.

The UN may not be coming to investigate what happened in Jenin but the respected group human rights watch has finished its own report.

Death toll questions

Much of the controversy about Jenin has concerned the number of dead with the Palestinians claiming hundreds and the Israelis saying less than 45, and all of them fighters.

Human Rights Watch says at least 52 Palestinians died of whom 22 were civilians. Many of the civilians were killed wilfully and unlawfully the report says.

Israeli soldier
Israel opted to use infantry rather than aerial bombs

Palestinian civilians were used as human shields and the Israeli army employed indiscriminate and excessive force, the report says.

The report gives examples - it says that a 57-year-old Palestinian man Kamil Sagir was shot and then run over by Israeli tanks even though his wheelchair was flying a white flag.

Another case is that of 37-year-old Jamil Fayed, a paralysed man who was crushed in the rubble of his home.

Human shields

Human Rights Watch says the Israeli army refused to allow the family time to remove him from their home before a bulldozer destroyed it.

The Israelis have denied committing atrocities. They say that Palestinian gunmen used their own people as shields against incoming fire.

Many Israelis will tell you they could just have bombed Jenin from the air. The fact that infantry troops were risked is evidence of Israel's concern for civilians, it is argued.

Nevertheless, Human Rights Watch insists that some Israeli soldiers must face prosecution for what happened in Jenin.

The BBC's Paul Wood reports from Jerusalem
"Human Rights Watch is calling for a criminal investigation"
Miranda Sissons, Human Rights Watch
"We have documented cases of the IDF using human shields"
See also:

02 May 02 | Middle East
UN abandons Jenin probe
29 Apr 02 | Middle East
Expert weighs up Jenin 'massacre'
20 Apr 02 | Middle East
In pictures: Return to Jenin
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories