An International Relief worker briefed me yesterday on how to identify un–detonated explosives and the Palestinian explosives expert I snuck into Jenin with has given me a crash course in disarming them. Three small children were hospitalized after coming across a live tank shell yesterday and one died. For an hour I heard an explosion every five minutes. There have been at least 14 serious injuries in the past couple of days due to mines, booby-traps, and discarded explosives left behind by Israeli soldiers. The relief worker described the camp as a mine field.
Many Palestinian families are terrified that their homes have been booby-trapped by the soldiers who occupied them during the invasion over the past two weeks. Much of the camp is a dusty rubble pile that was once many homes. People wander through the ruins, some sit and stare. The mosque, which has a kindergarten in the basement, has been desecrated and shot full of bullet holes. Most of the homes that were occupied by Israeli soldiers are still partially standing, but are ruined. In one, the mother’s lipstick was used to draw stars of David on the mirrors. The soldiers blew out the door and I am told handcuffed two family members to the railing where they were beaten. In the living room there are bullet holes everywhere, including a pile of children’s clothes which are also partially burned. Tin cans from soldier’s food litters the floor as does excrement and the belongings of the Palestinian family. The beds are broken and soiled. The children’s toys are dismembered and un–stuffed. The mother handed my American friend the head of a doll and said thanks for what you’ve done.
I met with a student yesterday who laughed and cried and shouted while he told me that his friend’s mother has lost her mind. He told me she watched her son die, handcuffed and blew to bits by a tank shell. He was shaking and said, “A tank against one guy with no gun.” He also congratulated me as an American. He said, “Congratulations for ruining my home, my life, for killing my mother, my brother, and five of my friends.” He looked at me and said, “And you call me a terrorist.”