On Tuesday afternoon, the Israeli army began to withdraw from the Palestinian city of Jenin, in the West Bank, after an operation that lasted two days and caused 11 deaths, more than 100 injuries and more than 3,000 people displaced in anticipation of for the violence to escalate. On a visit he made to the check point from Salem, near Jenin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that this military action was not a one-off event, but that they will continue “for as long as it takes to end terrorism, we will not allow Jenin to become a sanctuary of terrorism”.
For his part, Defense Minister Yaov Gallant said that, thanks to the operation carried out in Jenin: “we will know how to duplicate ourselves anywhere, where necessary. Anyone who tries to harm Israeli citizens will pay a price.”
The Israeli army’s incursions into the refugee camp adjacent to the city of Jenin – the third most populous city in the West Bank – are no exception, and have become more frequent in the last year. However, the military operation that was launched early Monday morning and ended late Tuesday afternoon, started with an air strike before ground troops entered.
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The objective was to confiscate weapons, destroy the operational centers of the Palestinian militias and arrest their members, specifically those of the Jenin Brigades, a group that has gained a lot of strength in the last year.
Aerial bombardments had barely occurred since the end of the second intifada in 2005. This attack is considered by many to be the worst since Operation Defensive Shield in April 2002, which lasted ten days and left 52 dead. The Israeli army deployed some two thousand soldiers in the area and had announced that the offensive could continue for a few more days. Home raids and arrests were carried out.
The bulldozers razed streets, highways and residential buildings, in addition to causing damage to hospitals, mosques and a parish. The destruction left residents without water, electricity and communication lines in an area that was completely closed off and to which the Israeli army did not allow the arrival of basic resources or medical support.
spiral of violence
Events in recent weeks have been particularly worrying in the West Bank, including violent Israeli army incursions that have killed Palestinians, settler violence against Palestinians, and shooting by Palestinians at Israelis.
Faced with this situation, the most radical sector of the Netanyahu government, coalition partners known for their radical nationalism, their support for the settlers and their ideas of annexation of the West Bank, have pushed for a large-scale attack on Palestinian territory. Although the government justifies military actions, such as the one taking place in Jenin, to end attacks on Israeli soldiers or civilians, it seems that the violence in the West Bank does nothing but fuel the spiral of violence.
This Tuesday, a car ran over several people on a street in Tel Aviv and the driver got out and stabbed passersby until an armed civilian shot him down. The attack left eight injured, five of them in serious condition., who have been transferred to different hospitals in the city. The author, identified by the Police, was a Palestinian from the West Bank who had entered Israeli territory without permission.
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Referring to the events, Hamas spokesman Hazem Kassem stated: “Tel Aviv’s heroic action is the first response to Israel’s crimes against our people in the Jenin refugee camp. As the resistance has already said [palestina]: Israel will pay the price for its crimes.” For his part, Khaled Al-Batsh, of Islamic Jihad, another militia based in Gaza, praised the attack as “an initial and natural response of the resistance to what is happening in Jenin “.
For his part, Netanyahu said: “Anyone who thinks that such an attack will deter us from continuing our fight against terrorism is wrong. They just don’t know the spirit of Israel, they don’t know our governmentour citizens and our soldiers”. Since the beginning of the year, and coinciding with the first six months of Netanyahu’s new government, the conflict has seen one of its worst numbers since the end of the second intifada: 135 Palestinians and 24 Israelis They have died as a result of the fighting.