By Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau / Mondoweiss
Key Developments (June 19-22)
Monday, June 19: Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian on Monday night, June 19, during confrontations in the Bethlehem-area village of Husan. The young man was identified as 20-year-old Zakariya al-Zaoul. Confrontations erupted in Husan and other towns and villages across the West Bank on Monday in response to the Israeli army’s deadly raid on Jenin. Israeli forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at young men who threw rocks and Molotov cocktails toward the heavily armed military jeeps near the entrance of Husan. The army claimed al-Zaoul was shot after throwing a Molotov cocktail towards an army jeep. No Israeli soldiers were injured in the incident.
Tuesday, June 20 – Wednesday, June 21: Two Palestinians, including a 15-year-old girl, succumbed to wounds sustained by Israeli gunfire during the military’s raid on the Jenin refugee camp on Monday, June 19. Amjad al-Ja’as, 48, died from his wounds on Tuesday. Palestinian media reported that Amjad was the father of 16-year-old Waseem al-Ja’as, who was killed by Israeli forces during a raid on the camp in January of this year. The 15-year-old girl who succumbed to her wounds on Wednesday was identified as Sadeel Naghnaghiya, a local schoolgirl who was shot in the head by Israeli forces while reportedly filming the raid from outside her home. Israeli army officials have cast doubt on whether Naghnaghiya was killed by Israeli gunfire, with army officials saying the chances she was hit by an Israeli soldier were “low”, Middle East Eye reported. Israeli forces frequently deny responsibility for the killing of Palestinians, such as the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in May 2022, though later investigations often prove initial Israeli testimony to be false. Naghnaghiya was the second Palestinian child killed as a result of the army’s raid on Jenin.
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Tuesday, June 20: Two Palestinians and four Israeli settlers were killed following a shooting operation at the illegal Eli settlement, located between the Nablus and Ramallah districts. The two Palestinians, identified as Muhannad Shehada and Khaled Sabbah from the Nablus-area village of Urif, carried out a shooting at a gas station outside the settlement, killing four settlers. According to Israeli media, Shehada was shot dead at the scene by an armed Israeli “civilian,” and Sabbah was later found and killed by Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian city of Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley. The shooting came one day after the deadly army raid on Jenin.
Tuesday, June 20: Israeli settlers launched a series of “revenge” attacks across the West Bank following the shooting at the Eli settlement Tuesday afternoon. Later on Tuesday evening, just hours after the shooting, groups of settlers across the northern West Bank descended upon Palestinian villages, hurling rocks at Palestinians and setting fire to their property. In Lubban al-Sharqiyah, north of Ramallah, Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian ambulance, large farmland areas in the village, and several local businesses. Similar attacks were carried out in the nearby villages of Lubban al-Gharbiya, Orif, and Huwwara, the latter of which has been the target of numerous settler attacks over the past year. Local activists told Wafa that on Tuesday night alone, 140 cars were damaged or set on fire in the settlers’ attack and that Israeli forces “joined the settlers in their attacks’ against Palestinian civilians, using rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition, causing dozens of injuries. Israeli settlers also threw rocks at Palestinian vehicles traveling down West Bank roads, breaking the windows of several cars and injuring passengers.
Wednesday, June 21: A Palestinian man was killed during an Israeli settler attack on the Ramallah-area village of Turmus Ayya. The Palestinian Minister of Health said that 25-year-old Omar Jabara from Turmus Ayya arrived at a Ramallah hospital with a fatal gunshot wound to the chest, Wafa News Agency reported. It was unclear if Jabara was killed by settler or soldier gunfire. The mayor of the Turmus Ayya reported around 60 vehicles and 30 homes had been set on fire by settlers during the attack. Additionally, the Ministry of Health reported over a dozen injuries, including several with live ammunition that were in “serious condition.” Residents of the village told journalists that settlers threw Molotov cocktails and other incendiary devices to set homes and other property on fire.
Wednesday, June 21: Three Palestinian fighters, including one minor, were assassinated in an Israeli drone strike in Jenin on Wednesday, June 21. The Israeli army confirmed the attack, saying it targeted the fighters near the Jalameh checkpoint outside Jenin city. The fighters were identified as Suhaib al-Ghoul, 27, Ashraf al-Saadi,17, and Mohammed Owais, 28. Al-Ghoul and al-Saadi were identified as members of the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement; Owais was identified as a leader in the armed wing of the Fatah movement, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade. According to Al Jazeera, the bodies of the three fighters were being held by Israel. Palestinians reported that the drone strike was the first attack of its kind since the Second Intifada of the early 2000s. The drone strike came just two days after an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp that killed seven Palestinians. During the raid on Jenin camp Israeli forces deployed helicopters, also for the first time since the Second Intifada. The use of helicopters and drone strikes over the past week has caused alarm among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, who see it as a marked escalation in Israel’s military tactics and strategy in the territory and a potential return to the days of large military invasions and operations witnessed during the early 2000s.
Thursday, June 22: Israeli forces raided the northern West Bank city of Nablus before dawn on Thursday morning and punitively destroyed the home of a Palestinian accused of killing an Israeli soldier last year. Soldiers raided the family home of Abdel Kamel Jouri, a member of the Lion’s Den, before blowing it up. The army raid sparked clashes in the area, with Palestinians confronting Israeli troops with rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire. No Israeli injuries were reported during the raid. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported more than 30 Palestinian injuries as a result of Thursday morning’s raid.
Thursday, June 22: Israeli settlers set up a new illegal outpost on Palestinian land in the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya, one of the villages that was attacked by settler mobs on Tuesday night. According to Al Jazeera, the outpost is located between al-Lubban al-Sharqiya and Sinjil, and is close to the illegal Eli settlement, where four Israeli settlers were killed on Tuesday. According to Wafa News Agency, settlers, with the help of the army, set up six mobile homes Thursday morning after the land was leveled and bulldozed by Israeli army bulldozers. Wafa also reported that settlers erected new homes in the Givat Salit outpost in the Jordan Valley. The new settlement construction comes on the heels of an announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that 1,000 new housing units would be built in the Eli settlement in “response” to the shooting. Netanyahu and other far-right ministers in his government have pledged to promote settlement construction in the wake of the shooting, with a statement from the PM’s office saying, “Our response to terror is to strike it with force, and to build our country.”
At least 14 Palestinians were killed over three days in the occupied West Bank, making it one of the deadliest weeks in the West Bank since the start of 2023. Among the 14 people killed were two youths, ages 15 and 14.
The events of the past four days have, in many senses, felt like a repeat of the events witnessed at the beginning of this year. On January 26, Israeli forces conducted a massive military operation on the Jenin camp, killing 9 Palestinians in the span of a few hours (a 10th Palestinian would later succumb to wounds sustained during the raid). The next day, a Palestinian carried out a deadly shooting at an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem, killing seven people, six of them settlers. In the wake of the deadly Jenin camp raid, and the Jerusalem settlement shooting, violence broke out across the West Bank, and more Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire. Israeli settlers also launched a series of revenge attacks across the West Bank, setting fire to Palestinian homes, vehicles, and property, uprooting trees, ransacking businesses and shops, and assaulting Palestinians. One of the villages that was targeted in January by the settlers was Turmus Ayya.
Coincidentally, at that time, Israeli government ministers also called for intensified military operations in the West Bank, steps to “strengthen” illegal settlements, the arming of settlers, and more punitive punishments for the families of alleged Palestinian attackers.
What we are witnessing in the current moment is not only a repeat of what has quintessentially been described by the media as the “cycle of violence” in occupied Palestine but an escalation in the Israeli government and military tactics and approach to the one problem they can never seem to get rid of: Palestinians resisting their subjugation and oppression.
Monday’s Dispatch delved into the question of Israel’s military strategy and whether the use of a helicopter in the Jenin camp raid on Monday was an indication of a shift in the army’s approach to centers of Palestinian resistance like Jenin. Was the deployment of air reinforcements signifying a return, albeit on a relatively smaller scale, to the days of the Second Intifada and the Operation Defensive Shield that figures like Itamar Ben-Gvir have been pining for?
While the question remained open on Monday, it seems that we got our answer on Wednesday. The drone strike outside Jenin on Wednesday night came as a shocking development to Palestinians on the ground. Even the army noted that the strike, carried out by an Elbit Hermes drone, was the first such aerial assassination operation carried out by the army in the West Bank since 2006. Israel has carried out several targeted assassinations of Palestinian fighters over the course of Operation Break the Wave in 2022, but Wednesday’s drone strike, and Monday’s use of a helicopter mark a clear shift in Israel’s approach.
The apparent change in military strategy should not be viewed as separate from the other “prong” in Israel’s apparent two-pronged approach to “quashing” Palestinian resistance. While the military intensifies its targeting of resistance fighters, the government is no longer calling for reinforcing the settlements but is actually establishing new facts on the ground. In the past few days, thousands of new settlement units have been promised, and new outposts have cropped up in the West Bank. While Israel deploys soldiers to weed out Palestinian resistance, it is deploying its armed settlers to drive out Palestinians through arson, assault, and any means necessary. Israel has created the perfect storm: a situation so unbearable that Palestinians are increasingly turning towards armed resistance, thus allowing Israel to use more force against Palestinians and take over more Palestinian land, all under the guise of “combating terrorism.”
And while the resistance is very much alive, as evidenced by the fight put up against the army’s invasion of Jenin on Monday, so is Israel’s spirit of taking advantage of the situation it has created. With the army on one hand, and the settlers on the other, Palestinians in the West Bank face a quickly evolving threat: a future in which annexation, and a more violent occupation, draw nearer every day.
- At least 174 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem
- 30 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel in 2023
- As of June 12, the UN had recorded more than 500 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians.
Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau
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