Monday, 22 July. 2024
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

When Palestinians insist that nothing will be resolved until the root cause of their predicament is addressed, Jenin is exactly what they are talking about. The atrocities over this past week perpetrated in the city of Jenin and its adjacent refugee camp are the manifestation of Israel’s settler-colonial project in Palestine and the reason why its apartheid regime and decades-long occupation must be dismantled. If this oppressive system continues unabated, Palestinians will continue to suffer time and time again at the hands of Israel’s brutal military machine, commandeered by the ever-increasingly extremist and right-wing Israeli governments that pull the strings.

For two days straight, the Israeli occupation army and air force pummeled the Jenin refugee camp with airstrikes, artillery fire and ground forces. In 48 hours, Israel killed 12 Palestinians and injured hundreds of others. This number is likely to climb, given that even ambulances were prohibited from reaching the wounded, undoubtedly exacerbating the status of the injured. Harrowing videos showed young men, boys even, wounded and incapacitated on the street, bleeding because ambulances were not able to reach them.

This is not the first time Jenin has been under fire, and if Israel is not stopped in its tracks, it will not be the last. In April 2002, Israeli occupation forces and fighter jets invaded the Jenin refugee camp, backed by armored tanks and bulldozers. The “battle for Jenin” lasted for 10 days, at the end of which at least 52 Palestinians, civilians and fighters were killed. The bulldozers deliberately razed over 400 homes and damaged several hundreds of others.

Cut to July 2023 and the situation is painfully reminiscent. On July 3, Israeli occupation forces proceeded to tear up the roads in the camp, severing water pipes and cutting the power. Hospitals, severely overcrowded and overwhelmed by the mass influx of casualties and people seeking shelter from the bombing, also suffered water cuts and electricity outages with scenes outside the hospital looking like a full-blown warzone.

However, this is no war. This is an occupied, civilian-populated area, whose residents have already been displaced at least once, in 1948 and perhaps again in 1967. Most of the residents are young, having only lived under Israel’s military occupation, which began in the West Bank in 1967. Their parents and grandparents will recall even more heinous atrocities and massacres from the Nakba of 1948, when they were forced out of their original homes inside what is now Israel.

This is why, when thousands of Jenin camp residents were seen fleeing the gunfire, the explosions, destruction and home raids, men and women carrying their terrified children in their arms out of the camp, the whole of Palestine was reminded of this generational trauma. The Nakba is still etched deep in the collective memory of Palestinians, its trauma not ‘post’ but ongoing, the wound reopened over and over again.

There is no doubt that Jenin and its refugee camp will survive and rebuild, just as they did before because that's how Palestinians operate. The scars created by this trauma will always run deep. It is not only unfair that they remain under occupation and apartheid, it is cruel and it is inhumane. The world cannot continue to look on as Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps are decimated and still consider itself moral and civilized. The longer Israel is allowed to brutalize the Palestinians under its occupation, commit war crimes and violations with impunity, while still being welcomed among so-called civilized nations, the more the international community’s own moral standing will continue to erode.

By the Same Author
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