Jenin's trapped people

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 09:21:21 +0100

 Palestinian woman overlooks Jenin
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1920000/images/_1922902_palestwomanjenin3
00.jpg> 
Refugees are leaving the camp with few supplies

As tanks manoeuvre at an Israeli checkpoint on the main road into Jenin,
soldiers are stopping journalists going any further. 



 Refugee from Jenin rests on a makeshift bed in a mosque
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1920000/images/_1922902_palestman150.jpg>

Many were forced to seek refuge in mosques

While Israeli armour pushes down the road to reinforce the army's grip
on Jenin, just up the hill here in the Arab Israeli village of Salam a
quite different operation is under way. 


Relief supplies are being unloaded for refugees from Jenin who have
taken shelter in a village beyond the next hill, just inside the West
Bank. 


A man called Saeb Younis told me what was going on. 


'Many hundreds' 


"A lot of refugees are leaving Jenin and the Jenin camp with no basic
things like bread, water...they are totally homeless," he said. 


"So we came from our town. We collected from everybody's house whatever
they had - mattresses, blankets, food, medicine - hopefully to give that
over to the West Bank, to the area of Jenin." 


I asked him if he had managed to discover from these refugees how
desperate the situation is. 


"I just spoke with a relative of mine, a cousin of mine, and he told me
that...in the town of Zbouba, they don't have anything, literally
anything, and they are receiving refugees," he said. 


"So they have to share whatever they have, whatever the leftovers that
they still have, with these many hundreds of refugees." 


'Torture' 


Later a man called Mouad told me that other Palestinians from
surrounding villages here on the Israeli side of the line have brought
all kinds of relief here: wheat, oil, bedding and clothing. 




 Blindfolded Palestinian prisoners are bussed away as Israeli soldiers
look on
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1920000/images/_1922902_palestprisoners15
0.jpg> 
The Israeli army has been conducting security sweeps of Jenin

He tells me that he saw people who had been tortured. 


Some had cigarette burns, others had been forced to come virtually
naked, wearing nothing other than their underwear, to the mosque where
they are staying, he said. 


I asked him if this made him worried about Israeli soldiers, and he said
of course. 


However he said he feels that he has to make the journey - they have got
nothing and he can take them what they need, he said. 


Just down the hillside from the Salam village, we watched journalists en
route to the refugee village being detained in the olive groves by
Israeli soldiers. 


'Human shields' 


But one journalist who did manage to evade the patrols was Alan Philps
of the British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph. 

  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/startquote.gif> 


Some of them say they had to act as human shields in front of the
armoured vehicles, walking in front of the tanks...or indeed walking in
front of Israeli soldiers till they got to a safer place 
  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/endquote.gif> 


Journalist Alan Philps 

"There are about 600 young men who have been detained by the Israeli
army and then put through the filtration process and then released at
the checkpoint," he told me. 


"They were all told that if they went to the village called Romani they
would get food and shelter. And that's true, they are providing three
meals a day and they seem to be sleeping mainly in the mosque." 


However Mr Philps corroborated much of what Mouad had told me. 


"The most significant thing is that all the men were made to undress to
their underclothes," he said. 


"Some of them say they had to act as human shields in front of the
armoured vehicles, walking in front of the tanks...or indeed walking in
front of Israeli soldiers till they got to a safer place." 


Mr Philps said the men were held for between one and three days, with
much of that time spent sitting on the ground blindfolded, mostly with
their faces between their knees, not being allowed to move and not given
anything to eat. 


As the sun sets on another tense day in the West Bank, the men of Salam
village gathered to watch the Israeli helicopter gunships circle over
Jenin in the distance. 


And tomorrow, they will make yet more attempts to run supplies through
to refugees from the beleaguered city.

Source: BBC online

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