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Israel ends West Bank raid calling it a blow to militants. Palestinians grapple with destruction

by Ethan Kim
14 comments
West Bank raid

Israel’s military withdrew from a key militant stronghold in the West Bank on Wednesday, marking the end of one of the most intense operations in the occupied territory in almost twenty years. However, Israel has warned this action should not be considered an isolated event. The two-day raid resulted in the deaths of twelve Palestinians and an Israeli soldier.

Following the military’s withdrawal, local residents from the Jenin refugee camp discovered the aftermath of the operation. Littered with debris, burned-out cars, and heaps of rubble, the camp bore the scars of recent conflict. Shopkeepers and bulldozers soon began the daunting task of clearing the debris while thousands of residents who had fled the fighting slowly started to return.

The military operation, involving airstrikes and hundreds of ground troops, purportedly inflicted severe damage on militant groups. Yet, its lasting impact remains uncertain after nearly eighteen months of intensive conflict in the West Bank.

Prior to the withdrawal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his resolve to carry out similar operations as necessary. He noted the Jenin operation was not a singular event, reinforcing Israel’s commitment to fighting terrorism wherever it may be found.

This raid was among the most aggressive Israeli military operations in the West Bank since the cessation of an armed Palestinian uprising against Israel’s indefinite occupation nearly twenty years ago. The scenes of devastation, including bulldozers tearing through camp alleys, bore a striking resemblance to a major Israeli incursion in 2002, known as the battle of Jenin.

The military justified both operations as necessary measures to dismantle militant groups in the camp, deter future attacks, and protect Israeli citizens. Nonetheless, the persistent pattern of army raids and Palestinian retaliations has raised doubts about the effectiveness of Israel’s tactics. Critics argue that the impact of these operations is often short-lived, with deceased militants quickly replaced by others.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose authority governs parts of the West Bank, has publicly disavowed violence against Israelis. However, he appears to have lost control over several gunman strongholds. Many Palestinians attribute this violence to the enduring occupation and absence of political engagement with Israel, pointing to escalated settlement construction in the West Bank and violence perpetrated by extremist settlers.

Palestinian health officials reported twelve Palestinians killed and over 140 wounded, with 83 requiring hospital treatment. An additional Palestinian man was killed in an unrelated incident near Ramallah. Most of the injuries were severe, inflicted to the head and chest.

The Israeli military insisted it targeted only militants but did not provide detailed information. A summary of the raid included the confiscation of thousands of weapons, bomb-making materials, and financial resources, found both in militant hideouts and civilian areas.

Meanwhile, a retaliatory attack occurred when a Hamas militant drove his car into a crowded Tel Aviv bus stop, stabbing and injuring eight people, including a pregnant woman. The assailant was subsequently killed by an armed passerby. Hamas declared the attack as revenge for the Israeli offensive.

Further violence erupted early Wednesday when militants from Hamas-controlled Gaza fired rockets toward Israel, which were reportedly intercepted. Israeli jets subsequently launched strikes on several sites in Gaza.

The Netanyahu government, predominantly far-right and ultranationalist, faces a significant challenge due to the escalating violence. Over 140 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank this year, and Palestinian attacks on Israelis have resulted in at least 25 deaths.

Humanitarian groups have voiced concern over the deteriorating situation. Doctors Without Borders accused the Israeli army of deploying tear gas into a hospital, filling the emergency room with smoke and forcing patients to receive treatment in the main hall. The United Nations’ human rights chief highlighted potential violations of international human rights norms and standards, emphasizing the need to uphold the right to life.

A resident of the camp, Kefah Ja’ayyasah, recounted how soldiers forced their way into her home and confined her family. She claimed that while the men were taken upstairs, the women and children were trapped on the first floor. She reported that soldiers denied her access to food for the children and initially prevented an ambulance crew from entering her home.

In the 1967 Mideast war, Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Palestinians continue to seek these territories in their quest for an independent state.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about West Bank military operation

What happened in the West Bank recently?

The Israeli military conducted an intensive operation in the West Bank militant stronghold, leading to the deaths of twelve Palestinians and an Israeli soldier. Following the withdrawal, locals discovered extensive damage including burned-out cars and heaps of rubble.

What was the purpose of the Israeli military operation?

The military operation aimed to dismantle militant groups, deter future attacks, and protect Israeli citizens. It involved airstrikes and hundreds of ground troops and is considered one of the most aggressive actions in the occupied territory in nearly two decades.

What has been the response to the operation?

The operation has received a mixed response. While it had wide support across the Israeli political spectrum, critics have argued its impact is short-lived as deceased militants are often quickly replaced by others. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has disavowed violence against Israelis, but many Palestinians attribute the violence to the enduring occupation and the absence of political engagement with Israel.

What was the aftermath of the operation?

After the Israeli troops withdrew, residents returned to find their areas filled with debris, burned-out cars, and heaps of rubble. Palestinian health officials reported twelve Palestinians killed and over 140 wounded, with 83 requiring hospital treatment.

What warnings did Israel give after the operation?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the military operation was not a one-off event and that similar actions would be carried out if necessary. He reinforced Israel’s commitment to fighting terrorism wherever it may be found.

How did this operation affect the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict?

The operation has added to the escalating violence in the West Bank over the past year, with over 140 Palestinians killed this year and Palestinian attacks on Israelis resulting in at least 25 deaths. The sustained operation has also raised humanitarian concerns, with groups like Doctors Without Borders and the U.N.’s human rights chief highlighting potential violations of international human rights norms and standards.

More about West Bank military operation

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14 comments

SarahFitz July 5, 2023 - 11:06 am

So many lives lost. It’s just heartbreaking. How can this cycle of violence ever stop?

Reply
LeoTraveler July 5, 2023 - 6:34 pm

visited the region last year, people on both sides are just trying to live their lives. Its the politicians who keep this goin.

Reply
EmmaBee July 6, 2023 - 12:57 am

this story never ends 🙁 when will both sides realise that violence will only lead to more violence?

Reply
NinaJones July 6, 2023 - 1:46 am

Its tragic, i hope that there can be peace for both sides, this can’t be sustained indefinitely.

Reply
Aiden32 July 6, 2023 - 4:21 am

i swear these politics…always the innocent ones pay the price. war aint the answer man.

Reply
ZakK July 6, 2023 - 7:27 am

something has to change, this is madness. generations of ppl are growing up in conflict.

Reply
MikeJ87 July 6, 2023 - 7:40 am

What a mess… peace seems like a pipe dream. can’t believe its been goin on for decades. when will they find a solution…

Reply
LeoTraveler July 6, 2023 - 2:35 pm

visited the region last year, people on both sides are just trying to live their lives. Its the politicians who keep this goin.

Reply
MikeJ87 July 6, 2023 - 4:50 pm

What a mess… peace seems like a pipe dream. can’t believe its been goin on for decades. when will they find a solution…

Reply
EmmaBee July 6, 2023 - 6:40 pm

this story never ends 🙁 when will both sides realise that violence will only lead to more violence?

Reply
SarahFitz July 6, 2023 - 10:36 pm

So many lives lost. It’s just heartbreaking. How can this cycle of violence ever stop?

Reply
Aiden32 July 7, 2023 - 1:29 am

i swear these politics…always the innocent ones pay the price. war aint the answer man.

Reply
ZakK July 7, 2023 - 1:42 am

something has to change, this is madness. generations of ppl are growing up in conflict.

Reply
NinaJones July 7, 2023 - 5:16 am

Its tragic, i hope that there can be peace for both sides, this can’t be sustained indefinitely.

Reply

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