On March 29, 2002 the Israeli army launched Operation Defensive Shield, the largest military offensive against Palestinian civilians since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. During the operation, the military used the most advanced weaponry at its disposal: Merkava tanks, Apache attack helicopters and F-15 fighter jets. When the operation ended on April 21, Israel had destroyed the Palestinian economic and social infrastructure, leveled large swathes of residential area, killed 220 people, injured hundreds more and arrested thousands. This book documents these events through a collection of electronic witness narratives written by Palestinians who were under attack and by Israeli and international peace activists who witnessed the results of these attacks. Deeply moving and courageous, these narratives offer a uniquely powerful and intimate account of the daily reality for Palestinians who endured Ariel Sharon's military strategy, and the death and destruction that strategy has caused throughout the Occupied Territories.
Most important, the witnesses' voices bring to life the aggressive nature of this strategy -- they belie the noble motives ascribed to Sharon and those in his government and military who designed and carried it out. The editors argue that Operation Defensive Shield is a prelude to Israel's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. They provide historical context, a chronology, and an analysis of the conflict that situates the horror of these days in their proper perspective. Operation Defensive Shield: Witnesses to Israeli War Crimes is an essential record for those who want to understand what happened in the West Bank in the spring of 2002, and what it portends for the future of the region. "Always compelling, [Hamzeh's writing] movingly conveys these tragedies, and how, in a tight-knit society on a small patch of land, they are all inter-connected.'" The Financial Times on Refugees in our Own Land
Muna Hamzeh is a Palestinian-American journalist whose work on the Palestinian question has appeared in The Economist, Ha'aretz, The Christian Science Monitor, Jerusalem Report, and Middle East International, among others. Hamzeh was born in Jerusalem to a Muslim father and a Christian mother, both of whom were half Palestinian, half Lebanese. She lived in the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethelehm from 1988 - 2000. She is currently based at the Univeresity of Texas at Austin. Todd May is Professor of Philosophy at Clemson University in South Carolina, and the author of five books of philosophy. He has been active in the Palestinian rights movement since 1988, and has also been involved in progressive struggles ranging from divestment from South Africa to gay rights.
Introduction 1. Origins of an Israeli Military Strategy 2. Witnesses to Operation Defensive Shield 3. Effects of Operation Defensive Shield 4. US, European and Arab Responsibility 5. Epilogue: A Prelude to Ethnic Cleansing Appendix I: Selected Websites Appendix II: Selected Peace Groups and Associations. Reference Documents: Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article 8, War Crimes Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Selected Bibliography