Israeli Forces Conduct Operation in West Bank, Resulting in Palestinian Casualties

by Sophia Chen
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West Bank operation

In a recent military operation reminiscent of past wide-scale campaigns, Israel utilized drones and deployed hundreds of troops to target a militant stronghold in the occupied West Bank. The assault, conducted on Monday, resulted in the deaths of at least eight Palestinians, according to Palestinian health officials. The operation took place within the Jenin refugee camp, with Israeli troops remaining in the area throughout the day.

During the incursion, the streets of the camp filled with black smoke, and the sounds of gunfire and buzzing drones filled the air as the Israeli military advanced. In their progress, military bulldozers damaged buildings while clearing the way for Israeli forces. The actions of Israel drew condemnation from the Palestinians and neighboring Jordan.

In other news, Israel announced plans to expand its fleet of F-35 fighter jets through a deal with the United States, which will increase the fleet by 50% and strengthen the partnership between the two nations. Additionally, the United Nations’ scientific and education organization voted to readmit the United States. Israel’s President Herzog is set to address Congress in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the country’s statehood. Moreover, an Australian prosecutor alleged that a former Israeli principal feigned mental illness to avoid extradition.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, after consulting with top military commanders, confirmed that the operation was proceeding according to plan. He stated that Israel had dealt a significant blow to local militant groups but did not specify when the incursion would conclude.

Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an army spokesperson, explained that the operation aimed to destroy and seize weapons, emphasizing that Israel did not intend to hold ground but rather act against specific targets. Approximately 2,000 soldiers, constituting a brigade-size force, participated in the operation, with military drones carrying out airstrikes to support ground forces. While isolated airstrikes had occurred in recent weeks, Hecht described Monday’s series of strikes as an escalation unseen since 2006, marking the end of the Palestinian uprising.

Amidst the violence, ambulances raced through the crowded camp, transporting the wounded to a nearby hospital. Lynn Hastings, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian areas, expressed alarm at the scale of the Israeli operation, particularly highlighting the airstrikes in the densely populated refugee camp. The United Nations is mobilizing humanitarian aid to assist those affected.

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported a death toll of eight Palestinians, with an additional 50 people wounded, ten of them critically. The ministry also documented a separate incident where a 21-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian president, issued a statement asserting that the Palestinian people would not surrender to the aggression and emphasized the need for a political solution to establish a Palestinian state and end the occupation.

Jordan called for Israel to cease its raids into the West Bank. The Jenin camp, along with its adjacent town, has been a focal point of escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence since the spring of 2022.

During an address to foreign journalists, Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen commended the military’s efforts and accused Iran of funding Palestinian militant groups, holding them responsible for the violence. Palestinians reject these claims, viewing the violence as a natural response to decades of occupation since Israel’s capture of the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war.

Jenin has historically been a center of armed resistance against Israel and served as a major hotspot during the previous Palestinian uprising. In 2002, following a Palestinian suicide bombing that claimed the lives of 30 people during a large Passover gathering, Israeli troops conducted an extensive operation in the Jenin camp. Over eight days and nights, they engaged militants in street battles, using armored bulldozers to demolish booby-trapped homes.

Monday’s raid occurred two weeks after another violent confrontation in Jenin and followed the launch of rockets from the area the previous week. Although the rockets caused no damage in Israel, they raised concerns and marked an escalation.

Political considerations may have also influenced the operation. Members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government, which is dominated by West Bank settlers and their supporters, have called for a broader military response to the ongoing violence in the region.

This year, over 130 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, marking a significant increase in violence in the area over the past year. The escalation began when Palestinian attacks prompted Israel to intensify its raids in the West Bank.

Israel asserts that these raids are necessary to combat militants, while the Palestinians argue that the violence is a direct consequence of the absence of a political process with Israel, as well as increased West Bank settlement construction and extremist settler violence.

Since the beginning of this year, Palestinian attacks have claimed the lives of 24 Israelis.

Israel seized the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians aim to establish an independent state in these territories.

Reporting from Jerusalem, this article includes contributions from AP writer Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about West Bank operation

What was the purpose of Israel’s operation in the West Bank?

The purpose of Israel’s operation in the West Bank was to target a militant stronghold, destroy and confiscate weapons, and deal a blow to local militant groups.

How many casualties were reported during the operation?

At least eight Palestinians were reported killed and dozens wounded during the operation in the West Bank.

How did the Palestinian and Jordanian governments react to the operation?

Both the Palestinian and Jordanian governments condemned the violence and called for Israel to halt its raids into the West Bank.

Were there any international reactions to the operation?

The United Nations expressed alarm at the scale of the Israeli forces’ operation and stated that they were mobilizing humanitarian aid to assist those affected.

What were the motivations behind the operation?

Apart from targeting militant groups, the operation may have been influenced by political considerations, as some members of Israel’s far-right government had called for a broader military response to ongoing violence in the area.

How does the Palestinian side justify the violence?

The Palestinians argue that the violence is a natural response to decades of occupation by Israel, increased West Bank settlement construction, and extremist settler violence.

How does Israel defend its actions?

Israel asserts that the raids are necessary to combat militants and blames Palestinian attacks as the reason for intensifying their operations in the West Bank.

What is the historical significance of the Jenin camp?

The Jenin camp has long been a center of armed struggle against Israel and was a major hotspot during the previous Palestinian uprising in 2002.

What is the overall situation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

The conflict has seen a recent spike in violence, with increased casualties on both sides. Efforts for a political solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state remain ongoing.

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