Jenin and the West Bank under attack

Yossi Schwartz, ISL the RCIT section in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 12.04.2022

Jenin is a Palestinian city in the north of the West Bank. Its population is around 50,000 people, while the Jenin refugee camp has a population of about 15,000 people. It is an ancient city and was known in the Bronze Age as Ein-Ganim. The refugee camp is the result of the ethnic cleansing by the Zionists in 1947-1948. During the war of 1948 around 75% of the Palestinians became refugees. While the UN resolution No 194(III) calls for the right of the refugees to return, Israel ignores this resolution without any sanctions. The resolution says: “resolving that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.” To prevent the possibility of the return of the refugees to their home Israel destroyed around 500 villages and settle Jews in the Palestinian home that were not destroyed. In 1967 in a pre- mediating plan Israel occupied among other places the West-Bank including Jenin.

 In 1989 Jenin is mentioned in a letter to Rabin Minister of war at that time:

“The Knesset

Knesset Member

Yair Tsaban

May 29, 1989

Minister of Defence

MK Yitzhak Rabin

Hakirya, Tel Aviv

Mr. Minister :

The following is a list of Palestinian residents who were killed in circumstances which were not fully clarified. In all these cases the press reported that the IDF had launched an investigation. Muhammad Jibrin, aged 45, from Jenin, according to Palestinian sources was beaten by soldiers and died in Ramallah hospital about two weeks after the incident, on May 14, 1989”. [1]

In 2002 the Zionist army entered the refugee camp and committed war crimes. According to the Human Right Watch report “During its investigation, Human Rights Watch found serious violations of international humanitarian law. The organization documented fifty-two Palestinian deaths in the camp and its environs caused by the fighting. At least twenty-two of those confirmed dead were civilians, including children, physically disabled, and elderly people. At least twenty-seven of those confirmed dead were suspected to have been armed Palestinians belonging to movements such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades. Some were members of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) National Security Forces or other branches of the PA police and security forces. Because of the large number of homes in the refugee camp that were demolished by the IDF, it is possible that the total number of casualties will climb somewhat, though not dramatically, as recovery efforts proceed. Corpses continued to be recovered on a daily basis in the camp. During its investigation, however, Human Rights Watch documented unlawful and deliberate killings, and the killing or wounding of protected individuals as a result of excessive or disproportionate use of force. Such cases are in violation of the international humanitarian law prohibitions against “willful killing” of noncombatants. The organization also found instances of IDF soldiers deliberately impeding the work of medical personnel and preventing medical assistance to the wounded with no apparent or obvious justification of military necessity. Such cases appear to be in violation of the prohibition against “willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health” [2]

In an article by Gideon Levy in Haaretz from Nov. 18, 2021 we find that in 18 shooting cases investigated by the Israeli army, no one has been brought to trial. One of the cases was in Jenin:

“The killing of Palestinian policeman Tarek Badwan at the entrance to the Jenin police station on February 6, 2020. Badwan was shot as he chatted with another police officer. The IDF first claimed that there had been shots from the direction of the station, but quickly dropped that mendacious account when a video clip showed Badwan standing and talking innocently to his colleague as he was shot to death. The investigation hasn’t yet concluded, we were told“. [3]

In a report from 2021-September- we find:

“Two weeks ago, at least four Palestinian men were shot dead during confrontations with the Israeli army in the Jenin refugee camp during a raid by Israeli special forces to arrest a wanted Palestinian man. Witnesses said a group of Palestinians engaged in clashes with members from the Israeli police’s Musta’ribeen – an undercover unit made up of Israelis disguised as Palestinians” [4]

Jenin is a stronghold for armed groups belonging to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the popular front against the Zionist oppression and to the Palestinian Authority collaboration with Israel against the Palestinians.

Thus, the shooting of Raad Hazem, a 28-year-old Palestinian from the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, in Tel-Aviv where 3 Israelis died and 10 Israelis were injured was not a big surprise but a response to Israel killing of Palestinians in Jenin many of them unarmed which is a state terrorism.

As could be expected following this Palestinian terrorist act the Zionist army raided Jenin refugee camp shot dead Ahmed Al-Saadi, and wounded thirteen other Palestinians, including a 19-year-old female with a bullet to her stomach, the Palestinian health ministry said. Large Palestinian crowds mourned Ahmed Al-Saadi, who was killed during an armed clash with Israeli soldiers on Saturday. Today Sunday Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian woman after she approached them in what they say “suspicious manner”. The woman, aged in her 40s, died after she suffered a torn artery and massive blood loss.

In addition the Israeli government has imposed collective punishment on Jenin. Palestinian Israeli citizens are barred from entering Jenin, local merchants and some businesspeople from Jenin are not permitted to enter Israel and Jenin residents are not allowed to visit family in Israel that has revoked 5000 permits Israel issued for Jenin residents for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

The Zionist army also raided the village of Burqin near Jenin on Saturday, reportedly in an operation to arrest former Palestinian prisoner Nour al-Din Hamada. Two injuries were reported in that raid.

The tension is on the rise. On Saturday Palestinians damaged what the Zionists claim is Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus. The damage was done to the gravestone, a chandelier hanging above it, a water tank and an electricity closet. “The vandalism of Joseph’s Tomb is a grave event and a serious violation of freedom of worship in one of the holiest places for every Jew,” said Defense Minister Benny GantzAttacking holy sites is attacking the heart of a people,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said. The Palestinians who laid waste to Joseph’s Tomb seek to sow destruction and devastation during a holy festival. This is serious damage not only to the tomb itself but to the deeply-held feelings of the Jewish people.”We will bring the perpetrators to justice and repair Joseph’s Tomb. “ [5]

What the Zionist call Joseph’s Tomb is located near Tell Balata, The Tomb has been a site of pilgrimage for centuries, one of hundreds of such tombs across Palestine (and the region) that have spiritual significance for Palestinians. Until 1967, it was commonly visited by local Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Samaritans, and it is one of a host of minor holy sites (maqam in Arabic) scattered around Nablus and its environs. Some say the site hosted a shrine closely associated with Samaritans (a small ancient Jewish sect that lives in Nablus and Holon) before the spread of Islam and Christianity in the area. One of the few things that almost everyone agrees on (including the Jewish Virtual Library) is that Joseph’s Tomb probably has nothing to do with the biblical Joseph. In the Jewish Virtual Library we can read: ” Conflicting views exist as to whether or not the patriarch Joseph was buried there“;[6] Many of the holy tombs and sites are actually graves of local holy figures, whether Sufi shaykhs, saints, or people whose identities have been forgotten. The local Palestinian belief today is that the tomb belongs to Shaykh Yusuf (“Joseph”) Dwaykat, a Sufi holy man who died in the eighteenth century and was reportedly buried there.

There is no archaeological evidence establishing the tomb as Joseph’s. The structure is constructed within the tradition of Islamic shrines in Palestine. The shrine consists of a cenotaph tomb, housed in a domed building, with an adjoining courtyard. The restored building was functioning as a shrine, a school, and a mosque when the Israeli army took control of it in 1982. According to pictorial images of the shrine from the second half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, it seems to have been destroyed and rebuilt several times. In 1967, after the occupation of the West Bank by Israel, Muslims were prevented from worshiping at the shrine and it was gradually converted into a Jewish prayer room, resulting in conflict between the Palestinians and the Zionists.

Gantz who likes to brag of his share as the chief of the Zionist army in killing more than 2000 Palestinians in Gaza in 2014 (2,251 including 1,462 civilians, 551 children and 299 womenת 11,231 were injured including 3,436 children and 3,540 women, 10 percent of whom suffer permanent disability) lies when he speaks about Palestinians “violation of freedom of worship” as Israel denies this right to the Muslims.

For the Zionists and for USA imperialism the armed resistance of the Palestinians is a form of terrorism motivated by Anti-Semitism. So was the armed struggle of the blacks in South Africa in the eyes of the white Racists.

In House Report 110-620, [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] we read: “Due to their broad scope, certain security-related provisions within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) currently require the United States to consider the African National Congress (ANC) a terrorist organization. These provisions also require the U.S. to consider as “terrorist activities” many actions taken in opposition to apartheid rule in South Africa. The Department of State and Department of Homeland Security are required by law to deny admission to persons who trigger these provisions, including many current and former members of the government of the Republic South Africa.”

While we oppose not only the Zionist state terror but also Palestinian individual act of terror because it teaches the Palestinian to rely on heroes rather than the mass struggle and it gives the Zionist state the opportunity to increase the repression, we do not put the Palestinian struggle for freedom on the same level as the oppressive Zionist state. The Palestinians have the right to armed struggle against the Zionist apartheid state not only from the perspective of the interest of the International working class but from the perspective of bourgeois international law.

In accordance with international humanitarian law, wars of national liberation have been expressly embraced, through the adoption of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 as a protected and essential right of occupied people everywhere. Resolution 3314 of the UNGA prohibited states from “any military occupation, however temporary”., The resolution affirms the right “to self-determination, freedom and independence […] of peoples forcibly deprived of that right […] particularly peoples under colonial and racist regimes or other forms of alien domination.”

UNGA resolution 37/43 reaffirmed “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle”.

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, the General Assembly has recognized that “racial discrimination and apartheid lie at the very root of the denial of the right of peoples under colonial and alien domination to self-determination.”

Thus, in any military clash between the armed Palestinians and the Zionist army the interest of the international working class is to side with the Palestinians. The fact that Western imperialism supports the right of self-determination and the armed struggle of the Ukrainians against imperialist Russia’s invasion but stands with Israel against the armed struggle of the Palestinians like it stood for years with the South African Apartheid is because of their hypocrisy rooted in the self-interests of the American ruling class.

Down with the Zionist apartheid state from the river to the sea!

For a Palestine red and free from the river to the sea!








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