"We say to the enemy: The time when you could practice your aggression against our people without paying the price has passed. Today, Jenin is teaching you a lesson in resistance and steadfastness."
On July 4th, Israel unleashed a major raid on July 3 on Jenin refugee camp, a Palestinian militant stronghold in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, killing 12 Palestinians in clashes with gunmen. Israeli forces also detained around 150 suspected militants and claimed to have destroyed caches of guns and roadside mines - including an arsenal under a mosque - and a command center, the army said. The attack on Jenin comes after a continued reign of terrorism in Palestine by Israeli forces. Rabia Mehmood is joined by Rula Jamal from Al-Haq, an independent Palestinian human rights organization based in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank. Al-Haq monitors and documents human rights violations committed by parties to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, issuing reports on its findings and producing detailed legal studies.
Janine, a city with a rich history and a resilient population, has long been a symbol of Palestinian perseverance. However, the assault that commenced on that fateful day shattered the semblance of normalcy, leaving innocent civilians grappling with the consequences of a brutal offensive. Rula Jamal, a leading officer at Al-Haq, provided a firsthand account of the tragedy that befell the city and its residents.
The assault was not a random act of violence; it was a meticulously planned operation involving a myriad of military tactics. Israeli occupation forces employed specialized units, including artillery, spyware, network, and even dogs trained to attack. Aerial attacks and surveillance airplanes further intensified the siege. The city was bombarded from all directions, leaving no refuge for its inhabitants. It was not merely an invasion; it was a calculated campaign to demoralize and instill terror in the hearts of the people.
The scope of the assault was shocking, even to those familiar with the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. More than a hundred Israeli military vehicles and over a thousand soldiers were involved in the operation. Snipers took positions on rooftops, adopting a "shoot to kill" policy that targeted civilians indiscriminately. The scene was one of chaos, as streets turned into danger zones, and the safety of homes was obliterated.
The heart-wrenching consequence of this assault was the eviction of more than 4,000 Palestinians from their homes. Families were uprooted from their dwellings, left with no choice but to flee. Houses that had been passed down through generations were rendered uninhabitable, forcing people into temporary shelters such as schools, mosques, and municipal buildings. The city's main infrastructure collapsed under the weight of destruction, leaving residents without access to basic necessities like electricity, water, and even the Internet.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the assault was the attack on medical facilities. Hospitals, places meant to heal, became targets for violence. Tear gas and bullets found their way into medical centers, putting the lives of the injured and the sick at risk. The humanitarian norms that should protect these sacred spaces were ignored, leaving the wounded to face additional suffering.
The assault's aftermath revealed a landscape of despair. Homes lay in ruins, streets were unrecognizable, and families were left to grapple with the trauma of violence and loss. The extent of the damage was unprecedented, making the rehabilitation process an uphill battle that would demand not just resources but an immense amount of resilience from the community.
What is perhaps most disheartening about the Janine assault is the lack of international response that it garnered. Despite being captured on camera and shared with the world, the actions of Israeli forces received limited condemnation from world leaders. The international community's silence in the face of such egregious violations of human rights is a glaring reminder of the imbalance of power in the region.
Rula Jamal's insights shed light on the pervasive support that the Israeli occupation forces continue to receive, particularly from countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. Regardless of political shifts within Israel's leadership, this support remains steadfast, allowing such brutal actions to continue with relative impunity. The failure of the international community to hold the aggressors accountable casts a shadow over the very concept of justice.
The tragedy that unfolded in Janine serves as a stark reminder that the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice is far from over. It is a painful reminder that the cycle of violence and oppression persists, despite the tireless efforts of organizations like Al-Haq to document and expose human rights violations. The assault on Janine underscores the urgent need for meaningful international intervention that addresses the root causes of the conflict and works towards a just and lasting peace.