Palestinian officials reported today that nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, were killed in a raid by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian health minister stated that the situation in Jenin was dire, with numerous injuries and ambulances unable to access the affected area. Additionally, the children’s ward of a local hospital was hit with Israeli tear gas, reported the BBC.
The Israeli military did not release many details, but according to Israeli media, the raid was carried out to prevent a “major attack” by militants.
This is the latest in a long line of Palestinian killings by Israeli troops.
Watch: Israeli occupation was carrying out a bloody massacre this morning in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin where its forces killed NINE Palestinians in less than five hours amid international silence. pic.twitter.com/aE6i89PYEe
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) January 26, 2023
A United Nations report revealed that 2022 was the most fatal year for Palestinians since 2006 and predicted it beat that figure in 2023 if the death toll remains the same. This could lead to a widespread Palestinian uprising, especially with the recent rise of Israel’s far-right government, reported Aljazeera.
Over the past three months, Israel has increased its raids in the occupied West Bank, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Palestinians. These raids, primarily targeting the cities of Jenin and Nablus, have been ongoing for over a year to suppress Palestinian armed resistance.
Both civilians and Palestinian fighters have been killed during these operations, including targeted assassinations and clashes.
In the past year, over 170 Palestinians, including 30 children, have been killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, with 29 killed in January alone.
The violence in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel has escalated since May 2021, when a Palestinian popular “outburst” swept through the region.
The protests, which began in response to forced displacement in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, led to a war with the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad armed groups in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Israel’s crackdown in response included targeting fighters affiliated with these groups in the West Bank. Additionally, a string of individual attacks by Palestinians resulted in the deaths of 19 people in Israel between March and May.
Jenin and Nablus have re-emerged as centres of armed resistance, and as a result, Israel launched its military campaign called “Break the Wave,” which has directly led to a high number of Palestinian casualties.
Israel claims it is targeting fighters, but civilians, including children, are often killed during the raids. Israel has also attacked the blockaded Gaza Strip this year. In August, a three-day assault killed at least 49 Palestinians, including 17 children.
In September, the first of a few armed resistance groups emerged, calling themselves the “Jenin Brigades.” Other groups have also emerged, such as the Nablus Brigades, the Lions’ Den, the Balata Brigades, and most recently in Jenin, the Yabad Brigades.
Although small in number, these groups have proven to be a challenge to the Israeli army during raids and arrest operations by responding with live fire and engaging in armed clashes. They also carry out shootings at Israeli checkpoints which have led to an increase in the killing of soldiers and settlers in recent months.
The increased raids and killings of Palestinians were a policy under the previous government of Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
During this period, Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians, particularly in Nablus, have sharply increased, with the military being accused of not doing enough to stop these attacks, and settlers calling for a stronger Israeli military crackdown on the northern West Bank.
The new far-right Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given prominent roles to members of the Israeli far-right, including individuals such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, who have expressed support for Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish Israeli who killed 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994.
Ben-Gvir is the national security minister, with control over Israel Border Police’s division in the West Bank.
Another far-right figure, Bezalel Smotrich, was given control of COGAT, the Israeli army body in charge of administering the West Bank.
Smotrich has openly encouraged violence against Palestinians. His role means that he oversees the already extremely restricted rules over Palestinian construction in Area C of the West Bank, which is about 60% of the territory under full Israeli military and civil control.
Many Palestinians have criticized Israel for the raids, accusing Israel of using its military campaign to carry out unlawful killings without accountability. Some of the killings have caused particular outrage among Palestinians, such as the December shooting death of a 16 year old girl in Jenin on the roof of her home during an army raid. Other examples include the killing of an 18 year old student on his way to school, and a 15 year old girl while she was in a car.
In May, Israeli forces also killed Aljazeera’s veteran Palestinian correspondent, Shireen Abu Akleh, while she was covering a raid on Jenin.
According to the UN, more than 9,000 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the start of 2022. International bodies and politicians have also expressed concern over Israel’s lethal use of force.
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