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New Left Review 19, January-February 2003

Slicing through the alleys and markets of the West Bank, Israeli bulldozers as the cutting edge of today’s counter-insurgency tactics—the destruction of houses, camps and townships as condition of political and ethnic sweeps.



In April 2002 the Israeli Defence Force bulldozed a 40,000 square-metre area in the centre of the Jenin refugee camp in the Northern West Bank. A UN report estimated that some 52 Palestinians were killed in the attack, about half of them civilians. In a detailed investigation, Human Rights Watch found that several civilians, including a disabled man, were crushed to death in their homes, because Israeli forces failed to allow relatives time to help them escape; others were used as human shields by the advancing Israelis. Operation Defensive Shield left 140 multi-family housing blocks completely destroyed, 1,500 damaged, and some 4,000 residents homeless, out of a population of 14,000. [1] UN, Report of the Secretary-General Prepared Pursuant to General Assembly Resolution ES-10/10, New York, 30 July 2002; ‘Jenin: IDF Military Operations’, Human Rights Watch, vol. 14, no. 3, May 2002. During the operation, lesser demolitions were also carried out in Nablus, Hebron and Ramallah. Destruction of material infrastructure and cultural and administrative facilities was also widespread.

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Stephen Graham, ‘Lessons in Urbicide’, NLR 19: £3

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