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Palestinians admit the battle for the Jenin refugee camp that was touted as a massacre of thousands of innocent civilians was actually a “military to military battle” between Israeli forces and Palestinian “armed terrorists,” in which most of the 52 casualties were fighters.

A study to be released next month by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, or JCPA, reveals Palestinian sources have confirmed the massacre myth, reports the Jerusalem Post, which obtained a copy of the 35-page analysis.

According to the Post, researchers examined a wide variety of recent Palestinian newspapers, books and websites, and found that terror groups Fatah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas armed themselves with automatic weapons, grenades, anti-tank missiles and explosives in preparation for confrontation with IDF troops during Israel’s eight-day offensive against terror in April 2002.

The study illustrates the three terror groups set up a joint military operations room, created a bomb-making facility in Jenin which produced over two tons of explosives and turned the refugee camp into a “reinforced fortress” where nearly 200 Palestinian terrorists gathered for battle.

“The study directly contradicts the baseless charges made by PA leaders including Saeb Erekat, that Israel had massacred 500 Palestinians in Jenin,” former United Nations ambassador and JCPA director Dore Gold told the Post. “That blatant lie made its way from the screens of CNN to the U.N. Security Council.”

WorldNetDaily reported in the aftermath of the incident that testimonies in Arab media from Palestinian commanders supported Israel’s contention that its soldiers fought fierce battles at the Jenin refugee camp with gunmen who used booby traps and civilians, including children, to engage in “guerrilla warfare,” according to translations by the Middle East Media Research Institute in Washington, D.C.

“The truth is that the fighting is being conducted from neighborhood to neighborhood, like guerrilla warfare,” Sheikh Jamal Abu Al-Hija, the commander of the Hamas Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades in the Jenin refugee camp, told the Qatari television channel Al-Jazeera during the fighting.

“Believe me, there are children stationed in the houses with explosive belts at their sides,” said Abu Jandal, commander of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad at the Jenin camp, in an interview during the battle with Al-Jazeera. “Today, one of the children came to me with his school bag. I asked him what he wanted, and he replied, ‘Instead of books, I want an explosive device, in order to attack … .’”

Abu Jandal said, “I, the commander of the battle of the Jenin camp, have chosen for myself the name ‘The Martyr Abu Jandal,’ because all the fighters around me are martyrs.”

WorldNetDaily cited the Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat as reporting that in Jenin a Palestinian woman named Ilham ‘Ali Dasouqi had blown herself up among Israeli soldiers, killing two and wounding six. Also, the Egyptian government-sponsored Al-Ahram Weekly published an interview with “Omar,” a young, one-armed Islamic Jihad bomb maker who told how the Palestinians booby-trapped Jenin and included women and children in the battles:

“We had more than 50 houses booby-trapped around the camp. We chose old and empty buildings and the houses of men who were wanted by Israel because we knew the soldiers would search for them,” Al-Ahram quoted Omar as saying. “We cut off lengths of main water pipes and packed them with explosives and nails. Then we placed them about four meters apart throughout the houses – in cupboards, under sinks, in sofas.”

According to Omar, everyone in the camp, including the children, knew where the explosives were located so that there was no danger of civilians being injured.

The Post reports the JCPA study found similar testimony in recent publications that confirmed civilians were intentionally used as human shields and that both women and children were deployed by Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad to divert IDF troops into ambushes and booby-trapped areas.

A U.N. fact-finding commission which looked into the massacre claims last year condemned Palestinian “militants” for operating inside civilian refugee camps.

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