The Palestinian death toll in 2023 has risen to 28 after the latest Israeli attack on the city of Jenin. After shooting Palestinians, Israeli soldiers (as usual) blocked ambulances from tending to the injured, as well as firing tear gas at the pediatric ward of a nearby hospital.
by Sufian Taha and Victoria Bisset, reposted from the Washington Post, January 26, 2023
Israeli forces conducted a massive raid on the Palestinian city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, killing at least nine people in a lengthy shootout that left extensive destruction. [NOTE: Al Jazeera reports that no Israelis were injured.]
Twenty other people have been injured, four others seriously, in the violence at the Jenin refugee camp, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry update posted on Facebook.
“The situation in Jenin camp is very critical,” Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said in a separate statement, adding that Israeli forces had prevented ambulances from reaching the injured. [Al Jazeera adds that Israeli forces “shot directly at ambulances.”] She also said that Israeli forces had “deliberately” fired tear gas at a pediatric ward of a hospital.
The Israeli military later said its forces had conducted a raid against members of Islamic Jihad who were “heavily involved” in planning and carrying out attacks against Israelis, but it accused the militants of opening fire first. It said six “terrorists” were killed, while another surrendered, adding that reports of other casualties were being “looked into.”
Images from the camp appeared to show extensive damage to buildings and a number of vehicles.
Saleem Awaad, a 27-year-old resident of the camp, said at first “three undercover cars entered the center of the camp and there was a clash between them and the resistance fighters,” which escalated into “intense fighting” between Israeli forces and militants eventually involving dozens of military vehicles, including three bulldozers.
The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, described Thursday’s events as a “massacre” and announced three days of mourning.
Camp resident Mohammed Shabi, 56, said the house that was the main target of the attack was surrounded and blown up.
“They were shooting at anything that moved. They destroyed roads and cars, even water tanks,” he said, describing it as the worst fighting in 20 years. “The size of the destruction reminds me of 2002 when the occupation forces destroyed the Jenin camp.”
There have been almost daily Israeli operations on targets in the West Bank, but the scale of Thursday’s conflict and the number of fatalities were unusual.
On Wednesday, the Israeli military shot dead two Palestinians in separate incidents, including a man it said had tried to stab soldiers, and a 17-year-old who was shot while holding a dummy weapon, according to Reuters.
According to figures from the United Nations, 151 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank last year — the highest figure since the U.N. began keeping systematic records in 2005. They include U.S. citizen and Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot while covering another raid at the refugee camp in Jenin on May 11. [Read more about Shireen here.]
The latest violence comes weeks after Benjamin Netanyahu once again became Israel’s prime minister, with the most right-wing cabinet in the country’s history, and days before Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to meet Israeli and Palestinian officials. [Read about Netanyahu’s extremist administration here.]
The new Israeli government has announced plans to prioritize the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and already taken a number of punitive measures against Palestinians, including revoking the VIP travel permits of ministers, in response to a bid for the International Court of Justice to rule on the legality of Israeli policies. [Settlements are a violation of international law.]
For a complete list of Palestinians and Israelis killed since 2000, please visit Israel-Palestine Timeline
NOTE: The entire West Bank has been under Israeli occupation since 1967; all its official entrances and exits are controlled by Israeli soldiers, making its Palestinian inhabitants virtual prisoners. Many are families that were ethnically cleansed from Israel during Israel’s founding war (see this and this and this). Israeli forces often invade them; one example is here.
Israel was established in 1947 through a war of ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population, both Muslims and Christians, and it continues to steal other people’s land for illegal colonies known as ‘settlements.’ While Palestinians most often use nonviolent resistance, a small number use armed resistance against the invaders.
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