Thousands of people were evacuated from the Jenin refugee camp, as one of Israel’s biggest West Bank military operations in years continued for a second day on Tuesday, and a car-ramming in Tel Aviv underlined the risk of violence spreading, Reuters reports.
The operation, which the army said was aimed at destroying infrastructure and weapons of resistance groups in the concentration camp, was launched with a drone strike in the early hours, and over 1,000 troops have been deployed. At least 10 people have been killed.
At this moment we are completing the mission, and I can say that our extensive activity in Jenin is not a one-time operation, Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told journalists at a checkpoint near Jenin.
The densely populated open air prison camp, where some 14,000 people live in less than half a square kilometer, has been one of the focal points of a wave of violence that has swept the West Bank for more than a year, drawing growing international alarm.
At the same time, Turkiye’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) has exposed a vast ghost network of dozens of operatives working for the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, in the latest Turkish operation to bust a foreign espionage ring.
There was no indication of how much longer the military operation might last, after officials said earlier it could run for one or two days.
But a car-ramming and stabbing attack in Israel’s economic hub, Tel Aviv, in which eight people were hurt, showed the risk it could lead to a further escalation as a previous raid on Jenin did last month.
The Hamas group said the attacker, identified as 23 year-old Abdel-Wahab Khalyleh, who was shot dead at the scene, was a member. It said the attack was an act of self-defense in the face of the ongoing Zionist massacre in Jenin.
Numbers can be dehumanizing. However, when placed in their proper context, they help to illuminate wider issues and answer urgent questions, such as why is Occupied Palestine at the threshold of a major revolt.
And why Israel cannot crush Palestinian resistance no matter how hard, or violently, it tries.
That is when numbers become relevant. Since the start of this year, nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza. Among them are 27 children.
If one is to imagine a heat map correlating the towns, villages and refugee camps of the Palestinian victims to the ongoing armed rebellion, one will immediately spot direct connections.
Gaza, Jenin and Nablus, for example, paid the heaviest price for Israeli violence, making them the regions that resist most.
Unsurprisingly, Palestinian refugees have historically been at the forefront of the Palestinian liberation movement, turning refugee camps such as Jenin, Balata, Aqabat Jabr, Jabaliya, Nuseirat and others, into hot spots of popular and armed resistance.
The harder Israel attempts to crush Palestinian resistance, the greater the Palestinian reaction is and will get into the near future.
Now that a new generation has taken over, Israel is at it again. Military incursions of Jenin by Israel have become a routine, resulting in a mounting number of casualties, though at a price for Israel itself.
The most notable and violent of these incursions was on 26 January, when the Israeli army invaded the camp, killed ten Palestinians and wounded over twenty others.
Late on Monday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said it had evacuated 500 families from the camp, or around 3,000 people and UN agencies expressed alarm at the scale of the air and ground operation.
Trucks brought food, water and other supplies collected by volunteers in the nearby city of Nablus to Jenin, where they were distributed at hospitals and social centers to those displaced by the fighting.
The Islamic Jihad faction claimed four of the dead as its fighters. Hamas, another faction, claimed a fifth. The status of the others was unclear, although Israeli officials said, as far as they were aware, no civilians had been killed.
Problems at the hospital morgue, forced health services to transfer some bodies from Jenin to another hospital in nearby Qabatia, officials said.
Many offices and businesses across the Occupied West Bank closed on Tuesday in response to calls for a general strike to protest the operation, which the Palestinian Authority has described as a war crime.
The fighting further underlined, once more, the lack of any sign of a political solution to the decades-long conflict, and international reaction to the operation was mixed.
The United States said it respected Israel’s right to defend itself but said it was imperative to avoid civilian casualties.
Mohammed Moustafa Orfy, Egypt’s Permanent Representative to the Arab League, said the operation would hinder efforts to bring reconciliation after months of escalating violence.
What is happening in Jenin, from brutal killing using the Israeli war machine, is aimed at shrinking to a very large extent the chances of reviving the peace process.
Middle East Monitor / ABC Flash Point News 2023.