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Saturday, April 13 2024

Israeli Siege of Jenin Fuels Resistance and Defiance

An old image of young Palestinian girl staring straight into the eyes of an armed Israeli force.
Photo Credit : Twitter

Palestine: The Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank was subjected to a two-day assault by the Israeli army, reminiscent of Israel’s 2002 invasion of the West Bank. Israeli forces used their military power to target the camp, causing destruction to buildings and creating a scene of chaos. Palestinian casualties included at least 12 deaths, including four children. The Israeli army justified its actions by labeling the camp as a “hub for terrorism,” while Palestinians consider it a symbol of resistance against Israeli occupation.

According to experts and observers, the recent siege may only strengthen the resolve of the resistance. Ines Abdel Razek, the executive director of the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy, stated that the use of brutal force aims to demonstrate power and deter armed resistance but historically has made Palestinians more determined.

The armed individuals in the camp are affiliated with various factions, such as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades of Fatah or the Jenin Brigades, who either align with traditional Palestinian political groups or operate independently. Despite repeated efforts by Israel, the resistance in Jenin has persisted, and Israel has failed to achieve its objective of completely eradicating the fighters.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), which some Palestinians view as an Israeli proxy, has also lost its credibility in the area. Salem Barahmeh, a Palestinian activist, highlighted the contrast between the fierce resistance shown by the Jenin Brigades and the PA’s failure to protect its own people. The PA’s declaration of ending security coordination with Israel was disputed by the Israeli government, reinforcing the belief that the PA serves as an extension of the Israeli occupation.

While Israel did not achieve a clear victory, analysts acknowledge that they managed to destroy a significant portion of the camp’s infrastructure, crippling the UN Palestinian refugee agency’s ability to rebuild. Diana Buttu, an analyst and former legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team, expressed concerns that the camp’s residents, who are already traumatized, will face additional hardships due to the destruction.

Jenin has been a persistent challenge for Israel, and the recent escalation follows a series of attacks by gunmen from the camp. Attempts to eliminate the fighters have been complicated by their non-alignment with traditional Palestinian factions. Recent events, including the use of explosive devices and the circulation of images showcasing advanced firepower, have pushed the Israeli army to take more drastic measures.

Pressure from Israeli settlers in the West Bank, supported by the right-wing Israeli government, has also influenced the Israeli army’s actions. The attack on Jenin coincided with settlers’ violence against Palestinians and demonstrations by Jewish Israelis against judicial reforms, allowing the establishment to divert attention and rally support for the supremacy of Israelis over Palestinians.

Some analysts believe that Israel’s assault on Jenin is part of a broader strategy to segregate and isolate parts of Palestine, facilitating easier control by Israeli forces. They draw comparisons to the situation in Gaza and argue that Israel aims to ghettoize Jenin further.

The recent events in Jenin, including the killing of settlers and the military incursion, have heightened Palestinian concerns of further Israeli incursions. While Israel has caused destruction and targeted resistance infrastructure, it has failed to achieve its larger objectives. Consequently, it is expected that Israel will return to Jenin in the future.

Source: Al Jazeera English

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