The Jenin Story Will Finally Be Told

SEATTLE - I sat quietly, gazing at a pale concrete wall. The imprint from an absent framed photograph was engraved in the thick, gray dust. The missing framed picture, I imagined, was Palestinian. Instead, a poster, covered with Hebrew writing replaced it, hanging tastelessly, strapped up with duct tape. It didn't belong there, I thought to myself. Yet I didn't dare share my thoughts with anyone, as I was extremely cautious of the Israeli intelligence officer, who was glaring at me, and two other Palestinians. My fellow Palestinians curled up in their chairs, trying to be invisible, and awaited their fate.

This wasn't a trial in an Israeli military court, although it felt that way. It was the border between Amman, Jordan and the West Bank in April, 2002, less than a month after the major invasion of the West Bank, the Jenin atrocities and the mass graves in Nablus. How I wished for the friendly faces of the Palestinian workers to replace these Israeli soldiers, who retook the border point and hung an Israeli flag where a Palestinian flag once waved.

I wasn't out of my mind, as many friends and relatives suggested once they learned that I was heading to the West Bank, which at the time was undergoing a curfew and a bloodbath. In fact, I was very clear about my objective. I was setting out to visit the refugee camp of Jenin.

It was not only the anguish of so many innocents that compelled me to travel to Jenin. It was my concern that Israel might end up re-writing history yet one more time.

When the Israeli army temporarily pulled out of the camp on April 16, 2002, I was busily working on a book dealing with the historic Sabra and Shatilla massacre. I was struck by the similarities of both accounts: the status of the victims, refugees, the Israeli army's style of punishing civilians, the siege, the heavy aerial bombardment, the snipers, the killing, the bulldozing of homes, Sharon and the cover-up.

History repeating itself was no longer an exaggerated statement. It was real. In Lebanon, the Israelis claimed that if it hadn't been for their intervention, more Palestinians would have been killed in the West Beirut refugee camps in 1982. Little did the world know that it was Israel, Sharon in particular, who ordered the Lebanese Phalangists to "mop up" the two camps, killing and raping thousands, as Israeli troops besieged the refugees inside the camps and heavily shelled their homes from the outside. Afterwards, Israeli army bulldozers dug a mass grave, buried the evidence. They rounded up over one thousand men and boys and took them to an unknown destination. They were never seen again.

In Jenin, much of the same happened. An atrocity was carried out, an atrocity whose disturbing details unfolded in following months, and again, cover-up attempts persisted. But concealing the atrocities in Jenin was much more complicated than the Beirut massacre. The UN commission that set out to investigate the incidents was blocked by Israel, who accused the mission of being anti-Semitic. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan caved in, issuing a lame report based on press releases and reports mainly generated by Israeli lobby groups in the US. The US's pressure intensified in an attempt to bale out their Middle East ally, which proved successful. Annan ruled that both Israelis and Palestinians were responsible for the killings. His report disregarded the legitimate war crimes accusations issued by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

As I sat at the West Bank border point, three weeks after the Israeli invasion of Jenin, none of this had happened yet. But I detected every detail of the Jenin cover-up by recalling the details of Sabra and Shatilla. I was determined that this time, Palestinians would record this part of their own history, instead of expecting others to fairly narrate their agony. A team of journalists awaited my arrival, in Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and in East Jerusalem. Consumed by my thoughts, hopes and fears, I didn't feel the presence of an Israeli intelligence officer standing over me. With a tone that left no space for argument, he commanded. "Baroud, you are a liar. You are not here to see your family. Get out of here."

But then there was Mahmoud. Mahmoud was 23, frail, and very shy. He was shot in the throat, and the bullet carved a road all the way down to his spine, leaving him hanging between life and death. Mahmoud Amr was one of those who defended Jenin. He was shot in the leg, and untreated, he returned to fight for his camp and family. Limping on one foot, an Israeli sniper shot him again, this time leaving him completely paralyzed, forever. I sat near Mahmoud in an Amman hospital, two days before I was scheduled to leave the country back to the states. I only had a few questions to ask. "So what do you plan to do once you leave the hospital Mahmoud?"

My question seemed inappropriate. No one knew whether Mahmoud would even make it out alive. Moreover, Mahmoud couldn't talk. Nonetheless, the young man gestured, using a skinny finger, for a pencil and a piece of paper. After a few minutes of struggling to scratch down a few words, he tried to smile and handed me the paper:

"I want to go back to fight for Jenin," the paper said.

I kissed Mahmoud's forehead and left the hospital. I yearned to experience a fraction of the courage and determination that this stricken young man possessed. Thanks to him, I was ready to put up a good fight, for Jenin, and for the sake of truth.

Tomorrow, I intend to call Mahmoud. I will tell him that "Searching Jenin", the "important book" I told him about during my visit, was published. I will tell him that the voices of the victims have finally escaped the Israeli censurer; that the faces, the images, the numbers and the stories will finally be told, that thanks to his inspiration, Palestinians are no longer standing on the periphery, praying that others will narrate their plight. Now, they will convey the stories themselves, the way they ought to.

Thank you Mahmoud, but also thanks to over sixty intellectuals, journalists and activists who took part in making this book a reality. Special thanks to Professor Noam Chomsky for his thoughtful forward to the book, and to professor Robert Jensen, Norman Finkelstein, Francis Boyle, Dr. James Zogby, Dr. Alfred Lilienthal, photojournalist Mahfouz Abu Turk, journalist Ali Samoudi, and the publisher who took a great leap of faith, Scott Davis. Thanks to all of you, the Jenin story will finally be told without political pressure, without censorship and without fear.

To obtain a copy of the book, please visit:, or visit for more information. 50 percent of the editor's royalties will go directly to assist in the relief efforts in Jenin.

Baroud is the editor-in-Chief of

  Category: Featured, Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Jenin, Occupation, Palestine
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Older Comments:
THE United Nations could not stop a war, which looks more and more unjustified by the day.

A very sad day for Islam

I would insult too it would be so easy and so fun, but some of us are better at it than others and it is my duty to drown the idiots words in facts since my gift is attetion to mundane pieces of trivia. I truely laughed and laughed hard at your latest BTW.
This is because I grew up with the type we deal with here, even, sadly related to a few.
There are potential Muslims who come here to see truth and I try my best to make sure Their eyes are opened like mine have been. If I insult others even if their opinions are idiotic beyond reason and don't provide facts to counter their idiocy then we lose just a little bit. Allah has placed the spread of his words upon us.

Thanks Amin. Civil discussion is out of the door when hate mongers and frauds jump in fudge the facts and promote blatant lies. I have no respect for people like Lind who know nothing and utter rubbish...typical falwell and robertson follower.
Ignorance is forgivable, but maliciousness should be dealt with in a thrashing fashion.

GMAX, normally your insults on Mr. Lind would receive a tongue lashing but today they are just too funny...

Robert Lind, grow up and learn some basic facts before throwing your worthless 2 cents in. There was a massacre in Jenin, period. Despite intense israeli supression and media lies the truth is out. This is one event to which there is only 1 side.
Now I realize, that Israel-worshipping "christian conservatives" are crooked, evil, and immoral folk who want their little armageddon, but you're completely out of your mind if you think Palestinians are going to roll over and allow their lands to seized by a bunch of zionist thugs and gangsters. You obviously know nothing about the man you worship or his ministry.
The truth will be told whether you backward trailer park primates like it or not!

Mr. Lind
I'm sorry to say it but that point of view is simply naive. Christians don't participate in turn the other cheek nor love thy neighbor, nor have their cultures ever done so. Rome was conquered because Roman citizens didn't want to build large Armies anymore to protect what they had earned because of Christianity. The reason the treatises of St Augustine are so important because he authorizes a time for war something Muslims have always been allowed for self protection (since the zionists are foreign colonists occupying land ilegally I would call any action for autonomy self defense) You watch your neighbors houses bulldozed little children shot for leaving the house at curfew or throwing dangerous stones at steel armored tanks. You be unemployed and malnurished for two years. You watch the Apartment building next door get blown up with a cruise missle, killing 15 people, mostly women and children, because Israel SUSPECTS there is "terrorist" living there. Israeli terror has killed 5 times as many Palestinians and a larger percentage of women and children than suicide bombers.
Lets make a deal. I don't like suicide bombings, so I will work on getting my people to act peacefully if westerners stop trying to get my people to act peacfully and work on their western Israeli brothers peacefulness.

This article is not to believed. Every story has a view point and here is just one. Learn to live together and love thy neighbor. It's the only way. Stop fighting the Israelis and you and your people will suffer no longer. Don't you get it?

Seems to me that "Johnny Walker" has been drinking on his brand.
Or is it Mr. John Norman...using yet another fake ID to diversify his nonsense.

We are so happy that someone has taken up the courageous task of presenting the palestinian side of the story to the world of the naked Israeli agression against the palestian people. It will show to the world the double standard of the united Nations and the bias of the western media of what happened in Jenin. May Allah grant victory to the Muslims in Palestine against their Zionist agressors.

Peace be upon you Montana Skies. Just a couple of notes: The reference I read stated that Constantine didn't convert to Tritheism until upon his death bed the day before he died. This was well over a decade after he made tritheism an officially sanctioned religion in the roman spear of influence. It is recorded that he patronized and even dedicated pagan temples between those two events. The sanctioning of tritheism gained Constantine a larger base of supporters but also triggered the war that gives the english language the word "internecine" from when the tritheists killed off most of the monotheistic Christians of the time. Constantine tried to cause a reversal of the theology at the second council due to the civil war within his power base but it was too late.
The other point is that The Creator has commanded humanity to cease using the other tri... word as it is considered insulting to associate (even in passing) other things with The Creator. And frankly I doubt either of us want to get on the wrong side of a being capable of creating multiple universes one of which is hell.
On another note (not yours), I don't think we should discount the sheer inhumanity of the slaughter of innocents in the gas chambers. Nor should we ever consider it in any way justified. Consider that if the Jews of the time had been treated with the respect any human deserves the survivors most likely would not have taken up such a belligerent attitude toward anyone that stood in the way of the creation of Israel. Palestine would probably still exist and most likely in peace. What we see in Israel is a distinctive difference between the Jews that lived under Christian influence in Europe (the Ashkenazim) and those that lived under Islamic influence in pre-Christian Spain and the Magrib (the Sephardim). The latter are willing to live in peace with the Muslims while the former consider them traitors. As you sow so shall you (and many others unfortunately) reap.
Peace be upon you all.

Johny Walker: Did you know there are other sources of news other than CNN/FOX/ABC/American Media?

Man, how dumb can a person be? are you potty trained?

Gmax, I would strongly encourage you NOT to classify all Jews as one people and treat the entire community with the same cookie cutter. Yes there are people such as John and Sharon who are Zionist zealots, but to classify everyone as "disobedient and deceitful" is - to me - very naive.

You are making the same mistake many here in US ar making about Islam. They believe that the actions of some define the basis of a religion.

Johny Walker (don't you mean Johnny?) this was a valiant, albeit futile, effort. The problem is we're not the typical, dozing US Media brain-scrubber readers for you to insult our intelligence and knowledge. We know exactly what your precious Israel does, why, and how it does it. It has come down to two groups for those who passionately care about the issue, either one unconditionally loves Israel or unconditionally loathes her.

The former are diehard and zealous enough to compromise their own sense of justice and conscience and justify any of Israel's atrocities for Israel's survival urgency -a now rusted claim and flies in the face of common sense. This feigned survival is more pronounced when one sees the imbalance of military power -ironically a testament to the Palestinian pluck, tenacity and resolve. If the IDF possessed any humanity one would not see a mounting list of Israeli forces personnel refusing to fight in the occupied territories; those people know all too well what their comrades do when press coverage is banned and journalists are fired upon by the IDF (not by the Palestinians, a claim so farcical it reeks of the lies the IMFA so deftly spins to feed US media that Johnny Walker is content to watch.)

The latter group feels the same way about Palestine, Tibet, Kashmir, and Chechnya as they did about South Africa and, even before them, the native Americans.

I dare you to tell me if you can read or listen to anything that harms Israel here in the main-stream US media?

Johnny walker - we do not know the official conclusions of Jenin because Israel blocked the official UN investigation because "the UN inspectors would not be able to understand military procedures." However Amnesty, the Red Cross and other UN affiliated groups gave first hand accounts of the atrocities they saw being committed by the IDF ("the most undisciplined soldiers in the world" Amnesty) in Jenin and throughout occupied Palestine.

Israels behavior does not suggest that it is innocent; if it had nothing to hide, why beg the USA to help stop the UN investigation? Actions speak louder than words.

Israel is an apartheid state that is oppressing millions of people in Palestine and continues violating many, many UN resolution including building illegal settlement for fanatical Jews.

Israels list of war crimes and human rights violations is endless. They repeatedly bombed a US military ship in 1967 using unmarked planes, they killed hundreds of civilians in Lebanon in 1982 and illegally attacked and occupied Lebanon for 22 years, they've placed millions of Palestinans in prison like camps under curfews for weeks at a time and killed them off slowly for over 35 years. At this very moment they are rolling tanks and bulldozers into yet another refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

Wake up and get some coffee, youve had too much johnny walker to drink.


All this is an utter lie.We all know the conclusions of the UN that there was not any massacre in Jenin-read the statement of the UN 02.05.02-the rest is nothing more than the fantasies od the author of this article,with absolutely no grounds.Also is false that the Human Rights Watch said it was a massacre.We also read the words of one of the terrorist of Jenin-Taabat mardawi-who openly admitted that the arab women set off a trap for the israelies soldiers,who in order to avoid the casualties among the civilians checked the houses one by one-although they could very easely destroy them by planes and tanks.They did not do it-and paid with their lives for this unnecesary humanism,brought into a trap by the women that the author is calling "civilians".The article is disgusting,because it is full of lies and cheap pathetic.

This article must be filled with facts if jewish bottom feeder "john norman" is upset.
And to think I used to feel sorry for those who died in Hitler's gas chambers.....I guess this explains why Bani Israel was spurned by their own Prophets for their disobedience and deceit.
A leapord just cant change its spots.....

Charles, few Muslims and few Christians know that Trinity did not start until the Council of Churches in NICAEA concluded with it in 325 AD.

Now, the Quran speaks of the Injeel being given to the blessed Jesus -it says this in many places. This book was different from the Gospels, which were written by others "about" Jesus.

The council also concluded with burning all but those Gospels; it may very well be divine will that chose this fate for this book (because Allah knew he was going to send a permanent, perfect and forever-unassailable book.)

The council also concluded with killing all heretofore monotheists as heretics. Those conferees were mere, fallible men who decided upon this grave matter, all for the sake of winning over the newly converted Roman emperor Constantine and Rome thereafter.

Following is the Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of His Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth.

Mind-boggling English and logic (if there's room for it.) What, to a layman who just wants to know the simple truth, does all this mean? It meant at that time that you lay people are not fit to know this on your own; we, your Shepards will tell you what it means, just as we will tell you, for a fee, if and when you are forgiven; Christianity turned into an enterprise. No wonder some people decided it was high time for a Church reform.

Islam came to say it's time for a u-turn.

I would hope that a true telling of the facts would open the eyes of the West but I am afraid that many in the West are incapable of sustaining control of their minds. Growing up in the Bible belt I have seen few mental effects more bizarre than the receding of compassion and logic in the face of monotheism. You can be good friends with these folk for months or years and let slip that you are a monotheist and their carriage will visibly shift from one of compassion to loathing in a matter of seconds. It shifts across their face like a curtain being drawn across a window. To me it is a sure sign that they are not in control of their own minds.
Try this simple test. Mention the temptation of Jesus by the devil with the words "fall down and worship me and I will give you all this" and ask them what it means. Is the devil capable of recognizing The Creator? (read Job) Can the person you are talking to recognize the implication of this temptation or does it pass by them? Wouldn't that temptation be ludicrous if Jesus was The Creator? If they missed the implication what happens when you point it out to them? Those that miss the implication should not be trusted with exposure to what would intentionally mislead them, but those that agree yet continue in tritheism aren't likely to be in control of their own minds. If you push the subject of monotheism do they become hostile?
I have seen it more times than I would care to mention. The concept of monotheism or the presence of monotheists simultaneously shuts down their minds and brings out hostility. The more "born again" or "enlightened" to stronger the effect. Whence comes this?
The question the Christians should ask? If what ever is teaching them is teaching something at odds with simple logic and the worship of The Creator should it be considered authoritative? The Muslims might wonder if books such as these will increase compassion within the West or will they cheer the destruction as some comments show.

An interesting statement "(Jeningrad, ha!)" my Norman. Are you making a reference to the German destruction of Stalingrad in WWII? The joy such destruction seems to evoke in you. I am lead to wonder whether you are Jewish or neo-Nazi, Or as many people have come to believe about supporters of Israel, both. Would you walk into the gas chambers or push others in? Are you one of the ones that survived by helping the Germans?
I think we see that same willingness to prevaricate or even embrace the evil occurring with respect to Israel and the invasion of Iraq coming from the weaklings across Europe. The willingness to be the cat-dogs to the bully in the hopes of shared or vicarious glory. The snits that do the dirty work for the bully like the Phalanges in Lebanon.
Those with maturity of judgment are not impressed. They consider such people lower than the bully. They are the slime with neither strength nor honor. The towering cowards that dare not be caught away from their benefactor or refuse to lick the very boot that kicks them. The ones that say "ha" when the bully hits.
Bush, having lost Western Europe to democratic peace has turned to new snits. These, knowing democracy even less are all the more dangerous in their willingness to push others in. Do you think they would stop with the Muslims, the Arabs, or will they become the the destroyers of any and all? In their minds you are either one of them or against them and eventually they will look into their history books and decide you aren't one of them. Will you go into the chamber then?

Mr. Norman,
I will buy the some Arab responsibility in Sabra and Shatila, but I will still say Israel and Areil Sharon are primarily responsible. I guess if we really want ed to know we would asks the people, the witnesses from these places.
I find it humourous you continue making the same arguments when you have yet to address the examples and evidence others provide. Look myself and numerous others have reversed your statements. You look for nit picky mistakes in peoples facts and pick them out as if they wre the whole arguement. The truth, the undeniable truth is that civil rights in Israel and done by Israel do not make it a democracy. A biased court system doesn't make the courts of Israel legitimate and limited sufferage doesn't make it a democracy. Voting doesn't make asomething a Democracy, the rights of those living in it do.
I addressed your opinions in 9563, 9564, 9458
Others have done as well or better than myself on many occasions. Why can't you adit when your proven wrong? Why can't you just open your mind to the idea that anybody with a biased opinion toward a group or state is not capable of speaking the whole truth. There is no good government in the middle east and that INCLUDES Israel. Israel to me ranks up there with the other horrible governments in the region.

Regrettably israel is a faux-democracy, that has yet to "elect" a government interested in peace, as shown by their actions.

Strange how in times of "relative peace" only Palestinians are killed by the 10s, (not newsworthy in N. America though). Equally strange, how the Israeli government insists the Palestinians can't elect a democratic leadership and then places them under curfew for months at a time, and destroys and shoots anything that moves.

According to the the Israeli group Peace Now, more than 40 illegal Jewish Settlements have been built in the occupied territories by Ariel Sharon, since March of last year.

These illegal settlements which violate UN resolutions are built by bulldozing Palestinian homes, uprooting Palestinian orchards and farmers' fields, demolishing Palestinian markets and work shops and killing any Palestinian who objects.

Illegal extremist-Jewish settlements in Palestine have continued to expand under both Labor and Likud governments and actually expanded faster under Ehud Barak during his "peace" negotiations, than they had under his right-wing predecessors.
Ariel Sharon however has been among the most zealous in constructing forts for fanatical Jews to live in, in occupied Palestine.

Fanatical Jews that live in these settlements insist that they are God's chosen people, the only race that is superior and therefore allowed to kill the Palestinians, "like insects" and destroy what ever they wish to.
In Europe these Jews would be called Neo Nazis.

Given these facts on the ground, the Palestinians might reasonably conclude that Israel has no intention of ever "trading land for peace" as they claim.

Israel is the an oppressive, Apartheid state (as confirmed by Nelson Mendela and Desmond Tutu, who are familiar with that evil concept). The world must take action against Israel.

With its Wall, giant prisons, street executions and apartheid policies, it has taken the world back 50 years. <

Sweet ol' John's back. Ariel Sharon watched with a smile on his face as Arabic women and children were mowed down; his job was to kick them back into the Israeli gladiator arena. But he can tell you a different story about the inhabitants of Qibya, where in 1948 Sharon's unit dynamited houses with their inhabitants still in them and massacred some 60 men, women and children. After the murders became public, Prime Minister Ben Gurion, at first, blamed rogue Arab gangs. When that did not wash, he blamed "Arab Jews," who, he said, being Arabs by their mentality, committed the unauthorized wild raid of vengeance and killed the peasants.

For Sharon, it was the usual path of roses all the way to the post of prime minister. It sometimes appears that to become the prime minister of Israel, it helps to have a massacre to your name. The same pattern was repeated after the massacre of Kafr Kasem, where Israeli troops lined up the local peasants and machine-gunned them down. When the denial failed, and a communist MP disclosed the gory details, the perpetrators were court-martialed and sentenced to long prison terms.

They were out before the end of the year, while the commander of the murderers became the head of Israel bonds. If you ever purchased Israeli bonds, maybe you met him. I am certain he washed the blood off his hands by the time he shook yours. Are these your kind of facts?

Your beloved Israel is a nation of murderers, ruled by murderers for the benefit of murderers. I'm sure it pastes a simpering smile on the face of your kind.


Now you've gone and done it Mr. Baroud. Why add to our pain? Isn't the world bleeding from so many wounds? But oh well:

There is, doubtless, little hope for a nation that exults itself through brutality. Any one worth anyone's salt can see the inconceivable force with which the IDF operates. Like us with our phony war on terrorism that does not distinguish between a true terrorist and a helpless civilian in the way it's conducted, the Israelis take it a step further and destroy, futilely it seems, the humanity of the Palestinians.

I cannot help but wonder how the Zionists will redeem themselves in the eyes of the world when all the dust settles down. Probably the same way they dealt with Deer Yasin ( First deny, then blame someone else, if that fails, then apologize ( although that was in the time of Ben Gurion; now Israelis' hubris and cockiness shun apologies; instead, it's right-in-your-face what we do like it or hate it.)

Can anyone else beside me wonder that after $1.6 trillion of translated aid since 1973 (;) after all the US help in its mind-boggling forms -from technology sharing, to annual largesse, to media compliance- can anyone wonder why Israeli economics, security, and international standing are in shambles?

Can anyone tell me why they still send their smiling war criminals to beg for another $8 b of our hard-earned tax dollars that is (shame and a pox on our Congress for granting it) desperately needed here for our own people? And I don't want to hear the word ally from anyone; I have friends, but I don't let them dip their hands in my pockets whenever they wish -not when I have children. I tell you it's madness.


Two facts:

Ariel Sharon was found indirectly responsible for Shabra and Chatilla. The war criminal in charge of the murderers was the Lebanese Christian, Eli Hobeika who subsequently secured an appointment as a Minister with a Lebanese Governement. Some people have very short memories about inconvenient facts. Others responsible were the Lebanese Government who refused to take over the camps, the French Government who sped off with Arafat towards Tunis and the United Nations who also refused to do their job just as they refused to do their job in protecting Muslims in Srebenica. Thank you, men of the UN Dutch battalion in Yugoslavia.

As for Jenin (Jeningrad, ha!), even the PLO conceded that a total of 52 Palestinians lost their lives there. 50% of those were gunmen, proud of their effective boobytraps which resulted in the death of 23 IDF personnel.

Difficult to believe that Ramzy Baroud considers himself a journalist and a responsible one at that. Journalism is about facts, Ramzy, not about emotion.

What is there that one can possibly say except "God reward you and may He, Insha'Allah, be close to those who are suffering so deeply."? They are an inspiration to all and in some ways we are envious of their courage, though afraid that our testing would fall short of their examples.

Assalamu Alaykum,

Good on you Brother Ramzy Baroud for writing this book. It's about time somebody stood up and makes it known what is happening in Palestine from a Palestinian point of view as well.
Truth can be suppressed, it can be ignored, it can be banned...but it can never be CHANGED !
Truth will rise above falsehood every single time. It has done so before; it will do so again. And every person who has tasted life will get exactly what he/she this world and the world that is to come. We will all have to stand in front of God and answer for everything that we have done.

Our dua's are with you Palestine !

And God knows best.