Palestinians insist Jenin was ‘massacre’ despite UN denial


Palestinian officials have insisted a massacre occurred in Israel's invasion of Jenin refugee camp, despite the findings of a UN report.

The report criticised Israel for not allowing access to rescue services in the battle but rejected charges of a massacre of civilians.

Mr Nabil Abu Rudeina, a top aide to Mr Yasser Arafat, said the Authority (PA) wanted an extraordinary session of the UN General Assembly to review the UN report on the battle with a view to "incriminating Israel".

Palestinian negotiator Mr Saeb Erakat insisted a massacre occurred, although the officials admitted there was little chance of winning a change in the UN reports' wording.

"How many civilians must be killed to speak of a massacre?" asked Mr Erakat. "The Israeli massacre in Jenin's refugee camp clearly happened and this is a war crime and crimes against humanity also took place".

Mr Erakat had accused Israel during the battle of killing up to 500 people in Jenin, a figure the UN report dismissed, saying 52 Palestinians and 23 Israeli soldiers died in the fighting.

"The UN should have used the word "massacre" or "war crime", especially because the Jenin's camp is managed by the UN," Erakat said.

Mr Rudeina said the PA would take issue with the United Nations, focusing on the report's criticism that Israeli troops refused access to aid workers, UN officials and journalists.