Israel’s military has launched its biggest attack on a city in the West Bank since the second Palestinian uprising (or ‘intifada’) in the 2000s. Israeli troops have been attacking the city of Jenin since the early hours of Monday 3 July. The Israeli army had killed ten Palestinians as of Tuesday 4 July at 2pm BST.
Israeli forces have been met with strong resistance from people in Jenin. Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah told Al Jazeera:
Jenin has been consistently a centre of armed resistance against the occupation, you can say a thorn in the side of the occupiers.
He continued, commenting on the strength of Jenin’s resistance:
What we are seeing – and which is of course very heartening – is stiff resistance from the resistance in the camp.
In Abunimah’s opinion:
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That’s extremely good news for the people of Jenin and the people of Palestine generally, to see the resistance fighting back so strongly against this invasion force.
Israeli military orders camp residents to leave
On the night of 3 July, Israeli soldiers ordered residents of Jenin refugee camp to leave. Palestinian legal advocacy organisation Al Haq reported that camp residents were given just two hours to evacuate their homes:
2/ This disturbing sign indicates the IOF are gearing up for a large-scale attack on #JeninRefugeeCamp. With fully-armoured military vehicles, including D9 bulldozers, an increase in Palestinians killed & destruction of Palestinian homes & infrastructure is expected.
— Al-Haq الحق (@alhaq_org) July 3, 2023
Social media footage shows camp residents fleeing their homes, flanked by heavily armoured vehicles.
Many commentators have warned of history repeating itself. Israeli forces carried out a massacre in the Jenin refugee camp in 2002, and levelled homes using the same Caterpillar D9 military bulldozers that Israeli forces deployed on 3 July. Several camp residents were crushed to death under the rubble of their homes during the 2002 invasion.
Increased use of heavy weaponry
As well as military bulldozers, the Israeli military has used armed drones in its attack on Jenin.
Drone strikes have been a regular Israeli tactic in the besieged Gaza Strip since the late 2000s. However, the Israeli military has predominantly only used them for surveillance in the West Bank. The Israeli army has reportedly not carried out a drone strike in the West Bank since 2006.
The use of heavy weaponry in general in the West Bank has been steadily increasing. Israeli pilots used Apache helicopters to fire missiles during the last full-scale raid on Jenin in June. It was the first time missiles had been fired from Apaches in the West Bank in 20 years.
Far-right Israeli politicians have been pressuring the army to increase its use of violence in the West Bank. On 19 June, Israel’s extreme right-wing finance minister called for the military to use airpower and armoured forces in West Bank cities.
Demand for sanctions
Palestinian organisations have been calling on the US, EU, and other states to place military sanctions on Israel for decades. Yesterday, Al Haq renewed these demands. The organisation, which was itself made illegal by the Israeli state last year, made this statement via Twitter:
It’s high time to impose sanctions and an arms embargo on Israel. It’s high time to address the root causes of the Palestinian struggle: denial of self-determination, settler-colonialism, apartheid, and illegal occupation. Hold Israel accountable, demand justice.
The mainstream media has minimised and sanitised the brutal Israeli attack on Jenin as just the latest round of ‘bloodletting’. Similarly Volker Türk of the United Nations said the violence was ‘spiralling out of control’. But as Abunimah pointed out to Al Jazeera, this makes what is happening seem like a natural disaster that no one can do anything about. He says that the reality is the opposite. The violence is spiralling ‘in control’. What is happening is being tightly controlled by the Israeli state.
The Israeli state knows exactly what it is doing by escalating the use of force in Jenin refugee camp. It is deliberately creating a more violent situation, in order to stamp out any resistance to its colonisation of the West Bank.
Palestinians have been calling for years for states to take action to stop Israel’s war crimes against them. In general, international leaders don’t listen. However, when people around the world have united in support of the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle we have won successes. The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has won a series of important battles against state and corporate complicity in Israel’s occupation policies.
Just recently, multinational company G4S pulled out of its final contracts with the Israeli police, after an international struggle of more than a decade. That struggle was participated in by people all over the world. These victories raise the morale of our comrades in Palestine, and show that Palestinians are not alone.
This week’s escalation of Israeli state aggression should be a wake-up call that we need to redouble our solidarity efforts. We need to show clearly that we share the grief for those killed in Jenin, and that we will stand with the Palestinian people against this new phase of colonial violence.Support us and go ad-free
- You can read more about the Palestinian campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli militarism here. You can also click here to find out about the Palestinian-led International Solidarity Movement, which is calling for international volunteers to join it in Palestine to support the popular grassroots resistance to the occupation.
- For alternative news on what’s happening in Palestine check out the International Middle East Media Centre and Electronic Intifada websites.
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