Picture: Reuters – A Palestinian father and son flee from Jenin July 2023. Israeli troops who fought in the West Bank refugee camp said their offensive ran into ‘hell’ from Palestinian fighters. Palestinian people have the right to resist, the right to self-defence as per international law, especially in light of the total absence of international protection and the ongoing crimes of the Israeli occupation, the writer says.
By Hanan Jarrar
Israel carried out one of its biggest military operations in Jenin since 2002.
The Israeli army launched a large-scale aerial and ground attack on the Jenin refugee camp, using unmanned missile-loaded planes to bomb parts of the camp before at least 1,000 soldiers raided on foot and dozens of armoured vehicles destroyed roads, water and electricity pipelines and they started bombing Palestinian houses.
Unfortunately, this tragic situation has resulted in the killing of about 12 Palestinians, five of them children, while at least 143 others were wounded, including 20 who remain in critical condition after Israeli forces had prevented ambulance crews from reaching some of the injured.
About 100 Palestinians were interrogated, and 30 were arrested.
The situation in Jenin was catastrophic and resonates with the threats made by Israeli politicians to commit a second Nakba: About 500 families, comprising around 3,500 Palestinian civilians have been forced to flee while the Israeli occupation attacked civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and even Christian and Muslim holy sites.
These attacks are conducted under the pretext of self-defence or providing security for their people. How, when the Israelis are not living inside Palestinian land?
This is not about self-defence as we keep hearing, this is about Israel continuing to commit war crimes.
Israel feels confident and immune since it has not been held accountable for the fact that during the first six months of this year, they have advanced over 13,000 colonial-settler units and established nine new colonial installations; continues to threaten the status quo of the Holy Sites in Occupied Jerusalem from Al Aqsa Mosque to Mount of Olives and Jaffa Gate; and settlers attack and kill Palestinians under the military protection.
The silence from the international community is disparaging – this latest attack on Jenin Refugee Camp by Israel is one of many. The old City of Nablus has seen the same fate only a couple of weeks ago, Jerusalem before it, and the bombardment of Gaza in May. This is constant. The Israeli ultra-right-wing coalition is on an onslaught against the Palestinian people. This is well documented, and we expect the international community to take a principled position based on the facts rather than trying to justify the ongoing crimes of the occupation.
In light of this, the Palestinian leadership this week convened urgently and the resolutions that were approved on the latest aggression committed by the Israeli occupation against our people represent a matter of national consensus in light of the failure of the international community to hold the Israeli occupation accountable and to protect our people. They include the end of security co-ordination as well as the continuation of exercising our right to take cases to the International Criminal Court, in addition to the ongoing procedures at the International Court of Justice.
It is clear that we have to change the dynamics in the relationship with the occupying power given its insistence to violate international law, UN resolutions and signed agreements, in addition to the international failure to hold Israel accountable for their war crimes, killings and collective punishment, destroying the infrastructure of a refugee camp.
The people in Jenin are already refugees, they have already been ethnically cleansed by Israel in 1948, and yet they go after them again and again, targeting their schools and their hospitals and medics. Committing crimes against humanity right in front of the world. It is extremely regrettable. With intensifying attacks, Israel is adding more layers of depression, aggression, anger and hatred among the Palestinians. There’s also the aspect of the psychological war on the camp’s residents, especially on the children.
The very goal of all these onslaughts, the targeting and destroying of infrastructure and homes in complete disregard to human life by apartheid Israel, is to crush any Palestinian resemblance of survival, resistance, steadfastness and protest against Israel’s illegality.
The intensifying Israeli illegalities are part of their plan; since this ultra-right-wing government has come into power, it has been an open season against Palestine and Palestinian rights. We have witnessed more grabbing of Palestinian land, more invasions, and more killing of our people. Since the beginning of this year, more than 190 Palestinians have been killed, which means that more than one Palestinian has died at the hands of Israel every day.
All of this is part of their plan to eliminate the Palestinian existence from our own land and to annex more of our land for the sake of the Israeli expansionist occupational regime.
Israel is the occupying power, and since 1948 they have been a power that was established on the skulls of the Palestinian nation, the ethnic cleansing, and the refugee camps. And they continue with impunity to commit war crimes like the colonial settlement expansion, and apartheid as per Human Rights Watch and other major international human rights organisations including Amnesty International and B’Tselem, Israel’s own human rights organisation.
The decisions taken by the Palestinian leadership are not just a response to the crimes in Jenin but to the overall policies of the Israeli occupation aimed at strengthening its ongoing annexation process and imposing an apartheid regime in all of Palestine.
Israel believes that one day they will wake up and no Palestinians will be there, but of course, this will not happen. The Palestinian leadership will not sit idly while our people sink deeper into a 75-year abyss that has, for generations, degraded our humanity and kept us under the Israeli apartheid regime. Palestinian people have the right to resist, the right to self-defence as per international law, especially in light of the total absence of international protection and the ongoing crimes of the Israeli occupation.
Hanan Jarrar is the Ambassador of Palestine to South Africa, non-resident Ambassador to Malawi, Namibia and Lesotho.