Attacks and counter-attacks are not new in the 75-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As retaliatory raids made the 2nd July battle bloodier than ever in the last two decades for Israel, the battle for the Palestinian city of Jenin had just begun. Israel’s military operation over the Jenin refugee camp, using a deadly combination of ground and aerial attacks, is its largest and the severest since the 2000-2005 Second Intifada. In terms of pathetic cruelty, the Jenin operation is Israel’s ugliest.

Symbolises the Palestine Conflict

The Intifada was a mass Palestinian revolt against Israel’s decades-long occupation of their land. As the Jenin refugee camp was aerially attacked on 2nd July, the Israeli-occupied West Bank stranglehold has never seen such a show of aerial power since 1967, when Israel rolled into the occupied West Bank. The Jenin offensive began with Israel’s heartless hits on the defenceless refugees in the Jenin camp on the simmering West Bank. The campaign was so aggressive that the battle for Jenin has come to symbolise the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As the Israelis managed to kill a dozen Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp, their attacks remained focused sharply on decimating armed Palestinians and destroying their arsenals in the city of Jenin. Unfazed, rockets were quickly fired by enraged Palestinians from Gaza. These rockets were aimed at Israel’s capital city of Tel Aviv. Finally, in this hit-for-a hit operation, the Palestinians on the Gaza Strip ended up firing five rockets into Israel. This was on July 5th.

Video Courtesy: PBS NewsHour

Cyclone of Violence Intensifies

The intensity of the Palestinian counter-attack shows that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was reviving in a big way. As Palestine was itching to pay back decisively, pre-empting Israeli fighter jets hit Hamas facilities in Gaza. These units are engaged in making arms, ammunition and rocket materials. Hamas is the Palestinian militant group that administers Gaza. Finally, the cycle of respiteless violence intensified in a big way as before when a fanatical Palestinian went about stabbing Israelis in Tel Aviv on July 4th, wounding eight in the process. army-begins-jenin-pullout-after-two-day-operation-attack-in-tel- aviv

The bombing of Jenin by Israeli drones is a big human tragedy. As many as 12 were killed and this number includes two children and a pregnant woman, who lost her baby. The bloody battle for Jenin is already considered as Israel’s largest offensive in the West Bank. More than 100 civilians have been hurt and 3,000 have been evacuated. Thousands have fled their homes. Worse, in a flagrant breach of the Geneva conventions, Israel bombed hospitals and schools in Jenin. Even civil waterlines and power grids were not spared. 05/thousands-of-women-and-children-flee-jenin-im-used-to-it- but-this-was-far-beyond-the-usual.html

Gathering Clouds of Uncertainty

Inevitably, the battle for Jenin is fraying nerves on both sides now. More so in Israel as the conflict escalated after the needless violence targeting Tel Aviv. As top military and political heads get furrowed in Israel, frayed nerves are leading to clouds of suspense. The uncertainty is over the durability of Israel’s most right-wing government of Binyamin Netanyahu aka Bibi. The suspense is only building up further as Bibi is also facing widespread protests over his controversial proposals on judicial reforms.

Bad luck for Bibi, the battle for Jenin is not showing any sign of dying down. This is sure to make Bibi’s government quite shaky. Bibi’s coalition government had promised to stretch Jewish colonies in the West Bank and crack hard on Palestinian violence. This has not happened despite the Palestinian Authority losing control of many of its strangleholds in the West Bank.

Bibi’s Major Political Plank

Israel’s conventions-flouting military offensive in Jenin has forced its residents to flee to safety. As the Jenin refugee camp is losing its occupants fast, it has been heart-breaking for Palestinians, for whom the camp has an emotional significance. The Jenin camp is the oldest of all Palestinian refugee camps, The biggest too, with over 18,000 refugees. Reason why, in desperation, Israel went on to shell the camp and alongside Arab hospitals. illustrated-the-jenin-refugee-camp-story

As violence in the West Bank escalates, Bibi is losing no opportunity to improve his re-electability. To ensure an electoral win again, he is banking heavily on his vows to carry on with his war against terrorism. As is his wont, Bibi continues to pander to the political whims of his nationalist comrades in Israel. For these reasons, Jenin has become Bibi’s major political plank overnight. Jenin has all the attributes to become Bibi’s political relaunch pad. One of them is that Jenin is the fortress of action for Islamic jihadists and Hamas activists.

The Bloodiest Symbol of the Conflict

Natural that Jenin whips up emotions of nationalism. As Jenin is also home to the ever-sprouting armed militant groups, Bibi wants to stay focused on the city, which is dear to Islamic jihadists and activists. Finally, Jenin has always been the simmering hotplate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The city has been subjected to endless suffering, inflicted by numerous attacks by the Israelis and counter-attacks by the Palestinians, followed by retaliatory paybacks. Truly, Jenin is the bloodiest symbol of the unending Arab-Jew conflict. Jenin-Evoke-Painful-Past-As-Violence-Flares

This is why the military operation in Jenin ended up being Israel’s bloodiest in the West Bank, and its most air-intense in two decades of armed duel. Complementing its enviable air-intensity, Israel went on to launch its most-expansive combing operations for weeding out weapons from the Jenin refugee camp and identifying explosives-making setups for destruction. Yet, Israel may not take over Jenin ultimately. For now, Israel’s focus will be on ending terrorism emanating from the West Bank.

Bibi Needs to Order a Halt

Will the United States intervene meanwhile to stop the bloodshed in Jenin? To do that, the United States should first satisfy itself that casualties in Jenin are all warring individuals, and not civilians. As news of Israel persecuting inmates of the Jenin refugee camp, and even killing a few of them, float around, American president Joe Biden needs to exercise ample caution to move forward. More so as the much-anticipated Israeli presidential election is approaching close. palestinians-are-killed-as-israel-stages-a-large-raid-in-the-west- ban

Perhaps it would be in Bibi’s best interest that he decides to order the Israeli military to halt the Jenin offensive. Such a halt would put an end to the possibility of Israeli military action spreading over other territories in the West Bank. If the Jenin offensive is not halted forthwith, there is every possibility that it could cause a greater conflict in the Hamas-administered Gaza. The signs of these possibilities happening are already visible in Gaza.

As Palestinian militants rejoiced over giving back the Israelis in their own coin, five rockets had already landed on Israeli settlements near the Gaza Strip. These rockets were fired by the Palestinians. Viewed against such retributive attacks, it would be right to presume the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s ability to spill across even peaceful spots on the West Bank. Clearly, the Arab-Jew conflict is escalating and intensifying again raising a scare. The deployments of helicopter gunships prove such a scare is not unfounded. defiant-amid-damage-after-israel-ends-jenin-raid-2023-07-05/

The Last Word

Bad luck for Israel and humanity, the Arab-Jew conflict and the Israeli offensive in Jenin has already acquired criminal colours. As Israel deployed airborne weapons to attack a densely-populated refugee camp, innocent civilians were hurt. This violates the basic tenets of warfare. Flouting accepted global conventions, Israelis shelled hospitals. They attacked journalists, which is a strict no-no in armed conflicts. An Al Jazeera journalist reporting on Jenin was killed by the Israeli forces. A Palestinian-American reporter was shot in the head by them as his blue flak jacket showed that he was from the press. The Israeli action on the Jenin refugee camp is a war crime. Beyond doubt, Israel deserves to be in the dock.