One generation later, another war crime

The rubble of a home destroyed during a massive military raid in Jenin, leaving one man dead, 18 January.

Shadi Jarar’ah APA images

An overnight military operation between Wednesday night and Thursday morning in Jenin, a city in the northern occupied West Bank, was not the first time Israel committed a war crime while pursuing a member of the Jarrar family.

More than 15 years ago, Israeli soldiers used a Palestinian civilian as a human shield when they raided the hideout of Hamas military leader Nasser Jarrar, the father of Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, who Israel claims to have killed during this week’s lethal operation.

Both the Palestinian civilian, shot by Jarrar, who believed him to be an Israeli soldier, and the wanted fighter were killed during the 14 August 2002 incident in the West Bank town of Tubas.

The slain civilian was Nidal Abu Muheisen, 19. Abu Muheisen happens to be the nephew of Ali Daraghmeh, a field researcher with the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

“Daraghmeh, who was present at the scene, said that his nephew was taken by the soldiers and was forced to go to Jarrar’s house at gunpoint,” B’Tselem stated at the time.

Israel made frequent use of Palestinian civilians as human shields during the second intifada, during which time Abu Muheisen and Nasser Jarrar were killed.

Known as the “neighbor procedure,” Palestinians living near targeted homes would be forced to “knock on doors, check suspicious objects, and to walk in front of soldiers as the occupation army surrounds its targets,” according to the rights group Adalah.

Israeli forces have repeatedly used Palestinian children as human shields during invasions of Gaza.

Using civilians as human shields is a war crime under international law.

Construction equipment used in lethal raid

Instead of using a human shield during this week’s raid, Israel’s military brought with them heavy construction and earth-moving equipment when they invaded Jenin:

The army claimed that they were seeking members of a cell responsible for the shooting death of an Israeli settler in the northern West Bank last week.

Israel may have used the so-called pressure cooker procedure in Jenin, in which construction machinery is used as a weapon, along with firearms and explosives, to compel wanted Palestinians to surrender themselves from a building in which they are hiding.

The videos posted above from Jenin this week appear to show the Israeli army transporting equipment made by the US firm Caterpillar. This includes a Bagger E-349 armored excavator, a weaponized version of Caterpillar’s 349E Hydraulic Excavator.

The same Caterpillar machinery was used in an apparent extrajudicial execution in the West Bank town of Surif in July 2016 and in punitive home demolitions.

Under the pressure cooker procedure, Palestinians who refuse to surrender themselves are killed when construction equipment and other weaponry is progressively used to destroy the building on top of them.

Witnesses told media that Israeli forces destroyed the Jenin home in which Palestinians had barricaded themselves.

Israeli media reported that a firefight erupted when occupation forces arrived to the home in which the military said wanted persons were hiding.

Three homes belonging to the Jarrar family were destroyed during the raid.

Israel routinely demolishes homes belonging to the families of suspected attackers. Punitive home demolitions are an act of collective punishment, and are a war crime under international law.

Conflicting reports

There were conflicting reports on Thursday over the identity of the man killed during this week’s raid.

Israel claims it killed Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, the son of the Hamas fighter killed in 2002, and who Israel says is responsible for killing a settlement rabbi last week.

But Jarrar’s family announced that Ahmad Nasser Jarrar managed to flee before the raid and escaped unharmed.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry identified the slain man as Ahmad Ismail Jarrar, a cousin of Ahmad Nasser Jarrar.

Ahmad Nasser Jarrar’s mother told media that she saw a body when leaving her home “but I could not identify it and I cannot confirm that it was my son’s.”

Five additional Palestinians were injured during the raid. Two Israeli soldiers were injured, one of them seriously.

Hundreds of Palestinians confronted Israeli soldiers during the massive raid which lasted several hours.

Five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far this year, three of them children. The settler killed last week is the sole Israeli killed by Palestinians so far in 2018.

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Israeli's criminal forces should be given a “Medal of bigotry and disgrace” for all the outrages they have committed to Palestinians including the destruction of their homes, nightly invasions and killing their family members. There are no international laws - Zionists have their own laws and when it comes to Palestinians, they follow the Laws of atrocities and crimes. But one thing is destined for them for a very long time and they know it, they will never have their own land due to their corruption, mischief, injustice and aggression to the people of the world and especially for their local Palestinians.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.