In Jenin, 'It's Honestly Difficult to Calculate the Damages'

Israeli says 2-day offensive dealt blow to Palestinian militants
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 5, 2023 3:05 PM CDT
Israel Exits Jenin, Leaving Destruction Behind
Palestinians walk on a damaged road in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, Wednesday, July 5, 2023, after the Israeli army withdrew its forces from the militant stronghold.   (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Palestinian residents of the Jenin refugee camp encountered scenes of widespread destruction Wednesday as they emerged from their homes and returned from nearby shelters following the most intense Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank in nearly two decades. The two-day offensive was meant to crack down on Palestinian militants who are housed in the Jenin camp and nearby area after a series of recent attacks. Israel destroyed the camp's narrow roads and alleyways, sent thousands of people fleeing their homes, and killed 12 Palestinians—most verified to be militant fighters, per Reuters; one Israeli soldier was also killed. More:

  • As for what remains behind, the New York Times quotes the city of Jenin's mayor, Nidal Obeidi, who gave an interview to the Voice of Palestine radio station. "It's honestly difficult to calculate the damages. They've damaged the streets, pavements and infrastructure."
  • While Israel claimed the operation had inflicted a tough blow on the militants—Israel says it managed to seize hundreds of weapons and hundreds of thousands in "terror funds," per the Washington Post—it remained unclear whether there would be any lasting effect on reducing more than a year of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
  • "If Jenin will return to terrorism, then we will return to Jenin," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Wednesday. "It will happen much quicker, and much larger than what might be thought."
  • The offensive also further weakened the Palestinian Authority, Israel's erstwhile partner in battling militants, which already had little control in the camp to begin with, the AP reports.
  • The Post reports that residents were seen hurling rocks at the PA's HQ in the city, a demonstration of anger that the PA's security forces hadn't stopped Israeli troops from entering the camp. As Reuters puts it, "the Authority, which exercises nominal governance over parts of the West Bank, protested against the Israeli operation, which it called a war crime, but was unable to do anything to halt it."
  • "I have been coming to Jenin repeatedly over the last year and a half, as a new generation of armed militants has formed, rejecting the ageing Palestinian leadership," writes BBC Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman. "This is a generation that believes the official Palestinian Authority (PA) sold out on their future and became little more than a security company for Israel's military occupation."
  • In the AP's telling, some of the scenes from Jenin, including massive army bulldozers tearing through camp alleys, were eerily similar to those from a major Israeli incursion in 2002, which lasted for eight days and became known as the battle of Jenin. That operation was also meant to crush militant groups in the camp and deter and prevent attacks on Israelis emanating from the camp. The army claimed success at the time, only to be dragged into new cycles of military raids and Palestinian attacks.
(More Israel stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.