Commander of the Central Command, General Itzhak Eitan, will award medals of honour to twelve Israeli soldiers who participated in the massacre in Jenin and the destruction in the old city of Nablus. The award ceremony will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, 5 June in Jerusalem.
Amongst those receiving the awards are Captain Elon Mandes, commander of the paratroopers company brigade, which led the house-to-house fighting in Nablus. During this fighting Israeli soldiers destroyed large sections of the old city of Nablus, prevented the civilian population (which was under curfew) from having access to medical treatment and ambulances and killed and detained Palestinian medical teams. An additional medal will be given to Captain Nimrod Eloni, commander of the paratroopers commando, for his actions in the Balata refugee camp.
Central Commander Eitan will also give medals of honour to the engineering platoon of the central command, which was responsible for the operation of the D-9 bulldozers in Jenin. According to Moshe Nissim, who operated a bulldozer for 75 straight hours in Jenin:
"No one refused an order to take down a house…When they told me to destroy a house I exploited that in order to destroy a few more homes…On the loudspeaker (the Palestinian residents) were warned to get out before I came in. But I didn't give a chance to anyone. I didn't wait…I'm sure that people died inside of those houses… From my perspective we left them a football field, they should play there. The 100x100 was our present to the camp…Jenin will not return to be what it was."
(Yedioth Ahronot, Friday 31 May 2002)
Two of the recipients of the medals of honour were killed in Jenin and the awards will be accepted by their families.
According to statistics of the Palestinian Red Crescent, since the March invasion 318 Palestinians have been killed and 718 injured. The humanitarian organisation notes that it's possible the numbers are higher due to the vast number of missing persons from the Jenin refugee camp and the inability to reach numerous places that were and are under attack.