Analysis: Jenin, emerging resistance stronghold against Israeli Occupation

Analysis: Jenin, emerging resistance stronghold against Israeli Occupation

As the Israeli forces intensify their raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque over the past few days, the security situation in the West Bank grows more intense and violence surges.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): As the Israeli forces intensify their raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque over the past few days, the security situation in the West Bank grows more intense and violence surges. 

Increasing their barbarous attacks and crackdown on the Palestinians of the West Bank in an effort to reverse the scandalous ramifications of their failure to counter recent waves of Palestinian attacks deep into the occupied territories, the Israelis only on Friday injured and arrested hundreds of Palestinians. 

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 344 people were injured in Friday's clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Committee for the Protection of Palestinian Prisoners also reported the detention of 470 Palestinians during clashes at the holy Islamic site. 

Meanwhile, one of the main areas targeted by the Israeli forces in recent days has been the West Bank city of Jenin and its refugee camp, which has a long and brilliant history of resistance and popular revolts against the Israeli aggression and occupation. 

Jenin, the new stronghold of resistance after Gaza 

For the Israeli security apparatus, until a few years ago, Jenin, a city whose inhabitants support with almost overwhelming majority the Fatah movement, was a symbol of stability in occupied Palestine. Workers living in Jenin go to other occupied cities for work, and only a small force of the Israeli army was tasked with Jenin security. But this was a false image of a city with a long history of intifada and uprising, and under the skin of the city the reality was changing.

According to data provided by B'Tselem, an organization monitoring Israeli violations and crimes against the Palestinians, from Israeli war on Gaza in 2009 under Operation Cast Lead to end of February this year, the Israeli forces killed 45 Palestinians from Jenin, also name of a refugee camp. Also since March, 8 Palestinians have been killed in Jenin during a search and arrest operation launched by the occupation forces on the heels of a series of retaliatory Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets. 

The city with a population of about 256,000 is located in north of the West Bank. It covers an area of 583 square kilometers and makes up 9.7 percent of the total area of the West Bank, making it the third largest Palestinian city in the West Bank after Al-Khalil and Nablus. 

Like other Palestinian cities, large areas of Jenin and its villages were seized by the Israeli occupation and limited to about 30 small villages. But despite the fact that the Israelis have always tried to occupy more lands in this province and even more than 10 settlements were built around its lands, full occupation of Jenin failed due to the strong resistance of its residents. Therefore, Jenin is the only province in the West Bank free of settlements. 

What makes Jenin significant is that it is in the middle position for the Palestinian cities, because it is located 25 kilometers south of Al Nasserah, 50 kilometres southeast of Haifa, and 43 kilometers north of Nablus.

Another important issue is the refugee camp in this city. The camp is located west of the city center and is home to 16,000 refugees. Jenin and its villages are among the Palestinian cities that are disrupting Israeli occupation projects more than any other region in the West Bank.

The refugee camp was attacked by the Israeli army in April 2002, which led to the formation of the intifada in all Palestinian areas. The refugee camp was established in 1953 by Jenin city municipality. It is now located on less than a square kilometer of land. The camp residents are originally from the Carmel area in Haifa and the Carmel Mountains.

Many of the camp's residents work in agriculture sector in the area around Jenin. Like other camps in the West Bank, it was set up on land leased by UNRWA from the Jordanian government.

The camp went under the control of the Palestinian Authority in the mid-1990s, but was severely attacked by the Israeli forces during the Second Intifada. The Israeli army entered the city and the camp in April 2002, declaring them a military zone and enforcing curfews. 

The clashes lasted for 10 days inside the camp, during which the Israeli military prevented ambulances and medical personnel and humanitarian aid and media cameras from entering the camp so that the reality of the crime could not be revealed to the world. The clashes left at least 52 Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded. The Israeli military toll was 23. 

Nearly 150 buildings were destroyed and many more left unusable, leaving about 435 families homeless.

After 2002, the Israelis deliberately prevented reconstruction of the camp in order to pressure the residents to leave their homes.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, about a quarter of the camp's population is unemployed, and the public utilities in the camp are less than in other parts of the city. 

The Israeli strategy in Jenin for years has been enforcement of economic and security punishments to take their toll on the growing resistance sentiments in Jenin camp. 

A generation of resistance rising in Jenin and the West Bank 

The waves of attacks by Palestinians from Jenin against the Israeli targets in the occupied territories set off the alarm bells to the Israeli intelligence and security services, giving them the notion that just contrary to their simplistic belief, the intifada and the fight against occupation among Jenin residents not only did not fade away but also a new generation of Palestinian youths is emerging with a resolve and spirit to combat occupation amid failure of negotiation choice in the West Bank by the Palestinian Authority and success of resistance option in Gaza by Hamas and IslamicJihad. The newer generation, many agree, is stronger than previous generations in the belief of its power to undermine and end the occupation. 

In September 2021, Osama Hroub, a member of Islamic Jihad leadership in the Jenin camp, attributed the increase in armed resistance to a generation "trained to resist the occupation and had overcome their fears as children following the 2002 war."

"The battle of camp created a generation that were raised on the basis of resistance, and the resistance fighters are the children of the martyrs and their families," he added. 

There are many reasons the city of Jenin, and especially its camp, is turning into a center of armed resistance against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, among them increasing economic pressures, constant raids by the Israeli forces, and the heavy crackdown on the residents in the camp. 

In November 2021, a glorious funeral for the martyrs was held in Jenin under Hamas supervision. In response, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas fired senior officials in Jenin city and camp and installed those he thought were the most loyal to the Palestinian Authority. But only a few weeks later, he was frustrated to see his goals behind the appointments not advancing. 

Apparently, Jenin is a new stronghold for Hamas and Islamic Jihad from which the two groups arrange anti-Israeli attacks in the occupied territories. The security situation in Jenin is so risky that on the weekend the Israeli coordinator in Jenin recommended that Arab Israeli citizens not allowed in the city. 

Jenin streets and, we can dare say, the collective thought of the West Bank and even the Palestinians of the occupied territories are preparing to embrace resistance groups' mindset and advocate combating the occupiers, while viewing negotiations with Tel Aviv as detrimental to their pro-liberation thought and action. 

Actually, given the exploding conditions in Jenin and its camp, economic pressures on the West Bank residents, Judaization policy in Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and continued illegal settlement construction, Jenin's armed response is expected to make example for other cities of the West Bank. 

Like what happened last year after Israeli storming of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Al-Quds that led to launching of Operation Sword of Al-Quds by Gaza-based resistance groups against occupation, the present Israeli actions in the West Bank would only uplift Hamas and Islamic Jihad's position among the residents there.


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