The Incredible Shrinking Massacre
The New York Post - August 5, 2002 (Opinion)
So much for that "massacre" in Jenin that Israel was accused of perpetrating in April. Now even the United Nations is admitting it never happened.

What a cry from the spring, when Israel was subjected to blistering accusations from the Palestinians, human-rights groups and the United Nations itself that Israeli troops had murdered at least 500 innocent civilians at the Jenin refugee camp. The savagery supposedly recalled the killing fields of Kosovo.

Now, the United Nations has released the results of its investigation into what happened at Jenin. And what does its report say? Uh, about that massacre, folks? . . . Never mind. And, remember, the United Nations is hardly a whitewasher of Israel.

Nonetheless, the report did find that Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority stockpiled weapons at Jenin and allowed it to be used as a haven for some 200 armed terrorists and numerous explosives labs. Palestinians deliberately "placed their combatants and installations among civilians" and "widely booby-trapped civilian homes."

As for the number of Palestinians killed, it was nowhere near the 500 claimed, even now, by Palestinians. The real number? Try: 52 [the same death toll reported by Israel]- and at least half of them were combatants [terrorists]. Recall also that 23 Israeli soldiers died in Jenin's intense fighting - more than half of them when a booby-trapped home collapsed on them.

Indeed, Israel suffered heavy casualties precisely because it refused to conduct indiscriminate bombing attacks - choosing instead the more dangerous course of house-to-house searches. Still, Israel comes in for criticism in the report, mostly for refusing to allow journalists and human-rights groups into the camp and for blocking access to ambulances (which the Israelis insist were routinely used to transport terrorists and their weapons).

But those accusations pale in comparison to the report's bottom line: Israel, justifiably provoked, moved swiftly to eradicate a hotbed of terrorism. And charges that Israeli troops engaged in a wholesale massacre are nothing more than Yasser Arafat's Big Lie.

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