Ethnic Cleansing in Jenin Camp

Ethnic Cleansing in Jenin Camp


In the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Israeli forces invaded various cities and villages in the west bank, breaching the core of the Oslo Accords and completely disregarding Palestinian sovereignty by entering Area A. During the month of March 2002, Israel launched its ''Operation Defensive Shield'' with incursions into the seven main Palestinian towns. In each incursion, Israeli troops, tanks and armored vehicles entered the cities and imposed a curfew on their civilian population.

On the 3rd of April 2002 Israeli forces surrounded Jenin city and its refugee camp, controlled all the access roads into and out the city and imposed a curfew while declaring the area as a ''closed military area''. See Map 1


Jenin camp is one of 22 refugee camps in the West Bank; it was the second largest refugee camp in the West Bank comprising a population of about 14000 people. It was established in 1953 to the west of Jenin city. This camp has an estimated area of 1 square kilometer. See map 2


Israeli forces attacked the camp using bulldozers, tanks, and apache helicopters. Serious damage was done to the water, sewage and electrical infrastructure of the camp; moreover the soldiers prevented ambulances and the medical teams from entering the camp.

On April 10th 2002, Israeli army used loudspeakers to advise the civilians to evacuate the camp. Many Palestinians left the camp but others stayed in their homes; about 4000 civilians.  After that they savagely attacked the camp destroying buildings and killing many Palestinians. See map 3 

This operation continued for about 13 days. Many civilians were killed, many buildings were destroyed which housed several families, and, in some cases, some of these buildings had people inside. Many families were left homeless. And Israeli soldiers arrested some of the camp residents. See photo 1, photo 2 & photo 3



Table 1: List of Loses:


 More than 52

Completely Damaged

74 Buildings

To be Knocked Down

61 Buildings

Rehabilitatable Medium Damage             

100 Buildings

Slightly Damaged

197 Buildings

Public Building Medium Damage

5 Buildings 

Homeless Families  

    450 Families

Estimated Cost of Destruction:

 $27 Million

See Map 4 & Map 5



The exact toll of the dead may never be known as many corps may still be lying under the rubble.  Moreover, witnesses mentioned stories of the death of a group of people who where gathering inside their homes.

Israel officials tried to justify this deplorable behavior against a civilian population by claiming there were about 200-armed men from (Tanzeem) Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades hiding inside the camp. However, the Israeli army didn't take steps to avoid injury to civilians; moreover they used some of them as human shields.

Till now the Israeli government still refuses to acknowledge that what happened in Jenin is a Massacre. But the inhabitants of the camp know too well what those 13 days were; they didn't need a fact-finding mission to tell them.


Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Demolition