April 29, 2002

THE BOSTON GLOBE has done some actual reporting on Jenin — instead of just recycling Palestinian statements uncritically as most reporters seem to have done — and reports that there wasn’t a massacre:

Palestinian Authority allegations that a large-scale massacre of civilians was committed by Israeli troops during their invasion of the refugee camp here appear to be crumbling under the weight of eyewitness accounts from Palestinian fighters who participated in the battle and camp residents who remained in their homes until the final hours of the fighting.

In interviews yesterday with teenage fighters, a leader of Islamic Jihad, an elderly man whose home was at the center of the fighting, and other Palestinian residents, all of whom were in the camp during the battle, none reported seeing large numbers of civilians killed. All said they were allowed to surrender or evacuate when they were ready to do so, though some reported being mistreated while in Israeli detention. . . .

Meanwhile, a British military adviser to Amnesty, Reserve Major David Holley, was quoted yesterday by Reuters news service as dismissing the Palestinian allegations of a massacre and predicting that no evidence would be found to substantiate them.

Of course, almost as lame as the Western reporting on the subject is the Israeli PR operation, which hasn’t done very well at getting this story out.

On the other hand, this should discredit a lot of critics — or it would, if anyone paid attention to the critics’ track records.