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[casi] Independent: Israelis trained US troops in Jenin-style urban warfare


Israelis trained US troops in Jenin-style urban warfare

By Justin Huggler
The Independent
March 29 2003

The American military has been asking the Israeli army for advice on
fighting inside cities, and studying fighting in the West Bank city of
Jenin last April, unnamed United States and Israeli sources have
confirmed. Reports that US troops trained with Israeli forces for
street-to-street fighting have been denied.
If the US army believes the road to Baghdad lies through Jenin, there is
reason for Iraqi civilians to be concerned. During fighting in the Jenin
refugee camp last April, more than half the Palestinian dead were
civilians. There was compelling evidence that Israeli soldiers targeted
civilians, including Fadwa Jamma, a Palestinian nurse shot dead as she
tried to treat a wounded man. A 14-year-old boy was killed by Israeli
tank-fire in a crowded street after the curfew was lifted. A Palestinian
in a wheelchair was shot dead, and his body was crushed by an Israeli

Israeli soldiers prevented ambulances from reaching the wounded and
refused the Red Cross access. Using bulldozers, the Israeli army
demolished an entire neighbourhood – home to 800 Palestinian families –
reducing it to dust and rubble.

Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history and strategy at
Jerusalem's internationally respected Hebrew University, has told
reporters that, following his advice to US Marines, the American
military bought nine of the converted bulldozers used in the Jenin
demolitions from Israel.

Professor van Creveld said he gave advice to marines last year in Camp
Lejeune, North Carolina. He said he was questioned about Israeli tactics
in Jenin, and told them the giant D9 bulldozers, manufactured for
civilian use in the US but fitted with armour-plating in Israel, were
among the most useful weapons.

Israeli troops at first found they could not get their tanks and
armoured vehicles into the narrow alleys of the refugee camp, so they
bulldozed wide swaths through houses to get them in.

If the US military intends to use converted D9 bulldozers in Iraqi
cities, there is cause for concern. When reporters got into the Jenin
refugee camp, we found the fronts of houses neatly scythed off so the
insides of the houses were visible from the street, with personal
belongings, sofas, beds, children's toys, hanging precariously from
half-collapsed floors.

Israeli use of the bulldozers has not been limited to clearing the way
for tanks. They have also been used in collective punishment, such as
the destruction of an entire neighbourhood in Jenin after the fighting

In Nablus last April, eight members of the al-Shubi family were killed
when an Israeli soldier bulldozed their home, burying them alive,
despite shouted warnings from neighbours that they were still inside.
The Israeli military has supplied US forces with video of incursions by
Israeli soldiers into Palestinian cities, said unnamed "security
sources". They added that Israeli officers have given their American
counterparts extensive briefings on Israeli tactics.

One of the tactics identified was the Israeli army's practice of moving
from house to house by knocking holes in connecting walls to avoid being
exposed in the streets, a practice that has wrecked the homes of
thousands of Palestinians.

The Israeli army has also routinely used Palestinian civilians as human
shields to protect them as they advance, a practice that has continued
despite Israeli court rulings forbidding it. There was no word on
whether Israeli officers had briefed American troops on this tactic.

There were reports in the US and Israel media last November that
American troops had been trained by Israeli instructors in a mock-up of
a Palestinian city inside an army base in Israel. Those reports have
been denied, but an unnamed Israeli source told the Associated Press
that US officers did visit the mocked-up Palestinian city and attended a
briefing on Israeli training methods.

There have also been reports that Palestinians who have fought against
Israeli forces in Jenin and other Palestinian cities during Israeli
offensives last year have telephoned friends and acquaintances in Iraq
to advise them on tactics to use against American and British forces if
street-to-street fighting begins.

There is another lesson to drawn from Jenin. The Palestinians who
defended the city were armed only with assault rifles and crude,
home-made booby-traps and pipe-bombs, against the massively
better-equipped Israeli army.

But they held out for 11 days, and managed to kill 23 Israeli soldiers,
13 of them in a single ambush. When the Palestinians ran out of
ammunition, they kept fighting and started throwing stones at the
Israeli soldiers. If the much better-equipped Iraqi forces take the same
attitude to defending Baghdad and other cities the battles could be

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