Al Aqsa fighter

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Interview with militant?

Jon: We'll do his story and then tomorrow, your story?

Voice 1: You want the story of the Jenin camp?

J: Of the camp. Absolutely. Arabic and speak.. Tell us as much as you want. Tell us about your friends..

V1 [quietly to Interviewee]: You have to bring up how the situation was in the dead of the siege.. how things..

Interviewee [also quietly]: Well, I want to tell him how the siege was.

V1 [even more quietly to Interviewee]: Look.. Listen to me: Gather your strength and tell them that "I am <jannaan>, and I used to jump on [the backs] of tanks". Do you understand?

I [in protest]: But it wasn't us...

V1 [Interrupting and now louder and more dramatic]: Tell him everything! Tell him everything! [In english] Tell him everything!

J [quietly, probably nodding in agreement]: everything..

I: Of course.. [In english] I'll try.

[1:00]

On the first day, news came to us that the Israelis would invade Jenin and its refugee camp and lay a complete siege. We gathered up our forces, and tried to make all the preparations that we could. Of course I mean some improvised explosives and light weapons: M16s and Klashnikovs. You know, light arms. Anyway... When did they come in? 3 April, right? So, on 3 April 2001 [TL: wrong; it's 2002], [hashado] their [hushood] around Jenin. They came in on 3 April at around 3 or 3:30 in the morning. Of course, around 40 or 50 tanks came into the refugee camp and laid siege to it.

[2:00]

They closed off all of the roads, and didn't leave any path open [into or out of the camp]. Naturally, there were 6 helicopters in the air. Approximately... maybe... more than 10 000 to 15 000 soldiers...

V1: 23 [000]

I: You know, between 15 000 and 20 000 soldiers, they were. They decided to come in, so they entered at 3 or 3:30 in the morning. The first day, they didn't come into the refugee camp - all of their activity was in the city.

They started bombarding from from the air and from tanks before they entered the southern part of the camp.

[3:00]

Of couse, we have no military way of challenging the planes, helicopters or tanks, so we never fired our guns at the tanks. Instead, we had locally made bombs, which we call "Kwa'". So, some of the younger men without guns would carry them and throw them at the tanks, which really helped us in the epic battle of the refugee camp. Some of the snipers took over the higher houses, and we were based in the camp.

We were split into several groups, with each group stayed in and protected a part of the camp. If [the Israelis] tried to come into their area, they would resist.

[4:00]

[TL: In the below paragraph, it is literally translated as "they were there on the invitation of the Shabab". This is an attempt to say that they were on the terms of the resistance fighters, and that the shabab welcomed them like a hunter welcomes his prey]

On the first day, they [the Israelis] tried and failed to enter the camp, since they were there on the invitation of the Shabab [resistance fighters], and they were committed to fighting and defending the camp by any means necessary.

We were able to stifle every attempt to enter the camp. This went on for four or five days before they were finally able to enter the camp. We were resisting, and they incurred huge losses. Some of the Shabab died, and others were wounded, though we could do nothing for those who were wounded - we just left them bleeding. We didn't have any medical equipment, and few of us had any medical knowledge.

[5:00]

So, we left them bleeding, which left the shabab in a state... a state that's difficult to forget. Anyway... they tried to enter more than once, and we were able to stifle them and cost them big, even by the admissions of some of the officers of the Israeli army. They used to say that "Lebanon was a picnic for us; we never expected this sort of thing in the camp."

We continued the resistance for three days and nights [after]. In those eight days, we used to barely sleep two hours a day - barely worth calling sleep. We'd take turns - some fighters resting and some watching guard, and then changing over regularly.

[6:00]

Like I said, there were 8 days where they couldn't get into the camp. They bombed heavily; there were tanks; there were snipers. The bombardment was terrifying... I tell you that not even in the movies do you see what happened in the camp.

On the eighth or ninth day, after failing to take over the refugee camp, they brought in the large bulldozers, which started bulldozing the Dammaj neighbourhood. They didn't leave a single house, and they demolished the houses with people inside.

[7:00]

Many died under the rubble, and of course a lot of fighters died. They surrounded the whole region that we were in, so the fighters decided that we had two choices: either we would die together, or we would surrender. Some people decided to surrender, and those who could escape did.

[8:00]

Let me tell you about our food and water. We drank from the sewage, and we would sometimes eat a stale piece of bread so that maybe we could mute the pain, and try to stay alive.

Of course after the decision was taken for some of the people to surrender, some of the fighters hid under some of the rubble, like under stairs. Some houses were completely destroyed except for the stair case, so some of the fighters hid under the staircases, and escaped, neither captured nor killed.

[9:00]

We would eat canned foods, and like I said, after our water ran out, we would drink sewage water just to stay alive. After the bulldozers came in, we couldn't find a weapon to stop them.

This all ended after 14 or 15 days. The arrested were arrested; the dead were dead; and the wounded lay wounded. It was a large number, maybe more than 50 people killed.

[10:00]

But, like they say it, we didn't skimp [TL: This relates directly to the statement that the Israelis were there on invitation. So, it is said that "We didn't stop short" or "We gave it our all", but in the context of pleasing the guest. It is a beautiful piece of black humour.]

We killed and wounded many, and we saw with our own eyes their refrigeration trucks as they came to collect the bodies of the Shabab who died [TL: Is this respect to call the Israelis by 'shabab' just like they call themselves?] to take them into Israel.

When the [Israelis] left and finally allowed the Red Cross and the ambulances to enter the refugee camp, about 13 people were pulled from the rubble alive. How? Naturally, this was by the power of God.

We - like I told you <garbled> we used to lay traps for them.

[11:00]

We made some traps... May God bless Sheik Mahmoud Tawalbe and Abu Jandal. Lots of men died in the prime of their lives.

We made some traps, and thirteen members of the Golan company - an elite Israeli company (?batallion?) - walked into the trap. It was a very successful trap, and exploded killing 13 - which is not to speak of the wounded.

We caught a lot of spies, but sadly we weren't able to execute them. Because we caught a lot of spies who went around cutting the wires from our improvised explosives that we planted inside the camp.

Of course all of this all of it <??????can't figure out???????>

[12:00]

It was an epic battle that history will always remember. By the grace of God, the battle honours the Arabic and Muslim peoples.

[crying]


Jon: (Not sure if this is right??) Like a bad dream?

I: [In English] Yeah... I can't believe how I live... I still alive... I still alive...