We fear summary executions in Jenin refugee camp

AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Unprotected, that is what Palestinians are. Palestinians are unprotected against war crimes being committed against them, they are unprotected against assaults on their lives, health, and they are unprotected against torture, degrading treatment, and humiliation. The international community has failed for so long to provide international protection. Palestinians but also international organizations and various UN bodies have called for such, but the international community prefers to make written statements and verbal declarations, instead of actually preventing and protection human beings against war crimes and human rights violations.

This afternoon, we received information from witnesses in Jenin refugee camp that indicate that from those Palestinians resisting the Israeli military assault on Jenin refugee camp, a number of those sought to surrender to Israeli forces and were summarily executed.

It has been difficult to confirm exact numbers of those executed, due to the fact that Israeli forces prevent any of the residents of the refugee camp or any independent monitors from returning or entering the refugee camp.

The names of two of those, who were apparently executed after their surrender are known: Ala’ Sabagh and Mahmoud al-Hilou. Reports we received indicate that other Palestinians remaining within the refugee camp, who have stopped their resistance, and seek to surrender, are being summarily executed.

Witnesses have told us that when leaving the refugee camp, they saw bodies of residents that appeared to be run over by military bulldozers and bodies within the rubble of homes and shelters that had been destroyed. They expressed their fears that they did not know whether all the bodies in the rubble were dead or injured persons. The majority of the residents from the camp, after being forcibly expelled by Israeli forces, earlier today, have still not been allowed to return. These refugees are now currently scattered throughout the area, surrounding the refugee camp. Various sources from the refugee camp, have estimated that at least 30 percent of the total area of the camp, including homes and shelters, have been totally destroyed.

The picture shows UN staff, who wait to be searched by Israeli soldiers before entering a yard with hundreds of Palestinian detainees in Al Ain refugee camp in Nablus. Last night, Israeli forces have used tanks and helicopter gunships to shell the camp and after daybreak, Israeli soldiers called, using loudspeakers, on teenage boys and men to come out of their homes and gather in the yard.