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Israel Concludes West Bank Incursion, Citing Setback for Militants; Palestinians Confront Devastation

by Andrew Wright
8 comments
West Bank raid

On Wednesday, Israel withdrew its troops from a militant stronghold in the West Bank, stating that its recent extensive military operation in the occupied territory, the most severe in nearly two decades, could potentially be repeated. The two-day raid resulted in the death of twelve Palestinians and one Israeli soldier.

The residents of Jenin refugee camp ventured out of their homes to discover streets lined with rubble and damaged or burnt vehicles. Shop owners and bulldozers commenced the task of clearing the debris, while thousands of individuals who had fled during the conflict started to return.

Kefah Dabayyah, a 33-year-old resident of the Jenin refugee camp, expressed his dismay upon returning and finding widespread destruction. “Roads were destroyed, and many houses were affected. Shattered glass from windows was scattered everywhere,” he shared. Although his home remained unscathed, there was a lack of water, electricity, and internet services.

Additionally, the Israeli army claimed to have dealt a severe blow to militant groups through the operation, which involved airstrikes and the deployment of numerous ground troops. However, it remains uncertain whether this will have any lasting impact after over a year of intense fighting in the West Bank.

Before the withdrawal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to conduct similar operations if necessary. “At this moment, we are completing the mission, and I can affirm that our extensive operation in Jenin is not an isolated incident,” he stated during a visit to a military outpost on the outskirts of Jenin. “We will eliminate terrorism wherever we encounter it and strike it down.”

The incursion in Jenin marked one of the most intense Israeli military operations in the West Bank since the conclusion of the armed Palestinian uprising against Israel’s long-standing occupation two decades ago.

The scenes witnessed in Jenin, including the sight of massive army bulldozers tearing through the camp’s alleys, bore a resemblance to a major Israeli incursion in 2002, known as the Battle of Jenin, which lasted for eight days. Both operations, separated by two decades, aimed to suppress militant groups within the camp and deter and prevent attacks against Israelis originating from the area. In both cases, the army claimed success.

Nevertheless, the continued cycle of army raids and Palestinian attacks has raised new concerns regarding Israel’s strategies. While this week’s raid garnered wide support across the political spectrum in Israel, some critics argued that its impact is short-lived, as slain militants are swiftly replaced by others.

Amos Harel, a military affairs commentator for Haaretz daily, wrote, “As usual, these events should be kept in perspective. To the security establishment, this operation is considered successful thus far, but it is unlikely to bring about fundamental change in the situation in the West Bank.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose autonomous government oversees parts of the West Bank, has condemned violence against Israelis but has effectively lost control over several strongholds of armed individuals. Amateur videos circulating on social media appeared to show enraged residents of Jenin pelting stones at the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority police following the Israeli military’s withdrawal.

Mass funerals held for the Palestinians killed during the raid attracted thousands of mourners. At one point, participants voiced their disapproval of representatives from Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, expressed support for a local militant group, and forced them to leave the cemetery.

Many Palestinians perceive the actions of the gunmen as an inevitable outcome of 56 years of occupation and the absence of any political resolution with Israel. They also point to the increased construction of settlements in the West Bank and the violence perpetrated by extremist settlers.

According to Palestinian health officials, twelve Palestinians were killed in Jenin, with over 140 individuals sustaining injuries, including 83 requiring treatment in hospitals. An additional Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces in an unrelated incident near the city of Ramallah in the West Bank. Dr. Wissam Bakr, the head of Jenin Hospital, reported that the majority of the wounded had suffered gunshot wounds to the head and chest, with twenty sustaining severe injuries.

While the Israeli military has claimed that only militants were killed, they have not provided specific details.

The military summarized the raid by stating that they confiscated numerous weapons, bomb-making materials, and caches of money. Weapons were discovered in both militant hideouts and civilian areas, including one instance where weapons were found beneath a mosque, as per the military’s statement.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant proclaimed that the army had dealt a heavy blow to militants, emphasizing that those who attempt to harm Israelis “will encounter an impenetrable barrier and the strength of the military and security forces, and will be held accountable for their actions.”

The withdrawal took place shortly after a Hamas militant rammed his vehicle into a crowded bus stop in Tel Aviv and began stabbing people, resulting in eight injuries, including a pregnant woman who reportedly lost her baby. An armed bystander killed the attacker. Hamas claimed the attack was in retaliation for the Israeli offensive.

In the early hours of Wednesday, militants from Hamas-controlled Gaza fired five rockets toward Israel, all of which were intercepted according to Israel. In response, Israeli jets targeted multiple sites in Gaza.

This large-scale incursion occurs amidst a surge in violence that has persisted for over a year, posing a challenge for the far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which is predominantly composed of ultranationalists advocating for tougher actions against Palestinian militants, only to witness the escalation of conflicts.

This sustained operation has prompted humanitarian groups to raise concerns about the deteriorating situation. Doctors Without Borders accused the army of firing tear gas into a hospital, filling the emergency room with smoke and necessitating the treatment of emergency patients in a main hall.

The United Nations’ human rights chief remarked that the scale of the operation “raises numerous serious issues concerning international human rights norms and standards, including safeguarding and respecting the right to life.”

Israel seized control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians aspire to establish their independent state in those territories.

“At the end of the day, the refugee camp emerged triumphant,” stated Dabbayah, a resident of the refugee camp, regarding the situation in Jenin. He regarded it as “a significant victory for the people of Jenin.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about West Bank raid

What was the outcome of the Israeli military operation in the West Bank?

Israel withdrew its troops from the West Bank militant stronghold after a two-day raid, leaving behind destruction and casualties. Twelve Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in the operation. The army claimed to have inflicted heavy damage on militant groups but it remains unclear if there will be any lasting effect.

What were the reactions to the raid?

The raid received wide support across Israel’s political spectrum, but some critics argue that its impact is short-lived, with slain militants quickly being replaced by others. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s authority has lost control over certain areas, and some residents expressed anger towards the Palestinian Authority. The raid also raised questions about Israel’s tactics and the cycle of army raids and Palestinian attacks.

What were the consequences for civilians and infrastructure?

Residents of the Jenin refugee camp faced widespread destruction, with damaged houses, destroyed roads, and lack of basic services like water, electricity, and internet. Civilian infrastructure, including shops and cars, was also affected. Humanitarian groups raised concerns about the deteriorating situation, accusing the Israeli army of firing tear gas into a hospital and violating human rights norms.

What are the underlying issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

The conflict is rooted in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip since the 1967 war. Palestinians seek these territories for their future state. The absence of a political resolution, increased settlement construction, violence by extremist settlers, and ongoing cycles of violence have contributed to the tensions and violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Is there a possibility of future Israeli military operations in the West Bank?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that similar operations could be carried out if needed. The Israeli government’s stance is to eradicate terrorism wherever it is found and strike at it. The recent raid in Jenin was described as not being a one-off operation. The situation remains volatile, and the Israeli government has faced challenges in addressing the ongoing violence and tensions in the region.

More about West Bank raid

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8 comments

JohnSmith91 July 5, 2023 - 5:38 pm

wow this is a pretty intense story. isreal just like BAM in the west bank but the consequences are so sad. poor palestinians they have to deal with all the destruction and the cycle of violence just keeps going 🙁

Reply
FreedomFighter87 July 5, 2023 - 6:26 pm

isreal’s military operations are always so brutal. they claim to target militants but civilians end up getting hurt too. it’s a violation of human rights! the international community needs to step in and do something about this!

Reply
PeaceLoveDreams July 5, 2023 - 8:10 pm

this is so messed up! why can’t they find a way to end the conflict? innocent people are suffering and there’s no real change happening. it’s like they’re stuck in this never-ending loop. something needs to change!

Reply
HopefulHeart July 6, 2023 - 3:52 am

it’s heartbreaking to see the destruction and loss of life. both sides have suffered, and it’s clear that the current tactics aren’t working. there has to be a way for peace and understanding. my thoughts are with the people caught in the middle of this conflict.

Reply
JohnSmith91 July 6, 2023 - 3:58 pm

wow this is a pretty intense story. isreal just like BAM in the west bank but the consequences are so sad. poor palestinians they have to deal with all the destruction and the cycle of violence just keeps going 🙁

Reply
HopefulHeart July 6, 2023 - 4:47 pm

it’s heartbreaking to see the destruction and loss of life. both sides have suffered, and it’s clear that the current tactics aren’t working. there has to be a way for peace and understanding. my thoughts are with the people caught in the middle of this conflict.

Reply
FreedomFighter87 July 6, 2023 - 8:18 pm

isreal’s military operations are always so brutal. they claim to target militants but civilians end up getting hurt too. it’s a violation of human rights! the international community needs to step in and do something about this!

Reply
PeaceLoveDreams July 7, 2023 - 5:28 am

this is so messed up! why can’t they find a way to end the conflict? innocent people are suffering and there’s no real change happening. it’s like they’re stuck in this never-ending loop. something needs to change!

Reply

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