by Yusuf Dhia-Allah (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 6, Muharram, 1445)
In the annals of Palestinian resistance, there are many important landmarks but Jenin would find its place near the top. This small refugee camp in the northern West Bank has endured more than its share of zionist barbarism but the brave youth have not succumbed. Called the Jenin Brigades, they have proved more than a match for the heavily-armed zionist thugs.
This was once again demonstrated last month. For 48 hours on July 3 and 4, the Israeli occupation army threw its military might at the residents of Jenin refugee camp that is spread over less than half a square km space. The densely packed camp comprising houses and alleyways, is home to some 23,600 people.
All of them are Palestinians either ethnically cleansed from their villages by zionist terrorist gangs in 1947-1948, or are descendants of the displaced Palestinians. During last month’s zionist attack, some 3,000 Palestinians were also forced to flee again from the Jenin refugee camp.
More than 1,000 heavily-armed Israeli soldiers invade the camp. They brought attack dogs to terrorize the Palestinians. Armoured personnel carriers and hundreds of bulldozers were also deployed, ploughing their way through the camp resulting in the destruction or damage to more than 80 percent of houses.
Drones and helicopter gunships were also used in the assault. Imagine 23,000 people cramped in a tiny enclave being bombarded from the air!
True to its lying nature, the zionist regime claimed it sent in the army to kill or capture “terrorists”. After two days of attacks, 12 Palestinians were killed, among them four children. At least 130 Palestinians were injured. The zionists prevented ambulances from picking up the injured. They also attacked hospitals to prevent them from providing medical aid to the vicitms.
Did the Israeli army really kill or capture any “terrorists”? What is a terrorist anyway? People under occupation have the right, under International Law, to resist their occupiers by any means necessary. This is what the Palestinians are doing to confront the zionist invaders.
So, the designation of Palestinians as “terrorists” is utterly false. It is the zionists who are the real terrorists. They are the ones terrorizing the Palestinians even in the refugee camps in their own homeland.
Residents of the camp also refuted zionist claims. They said it was civilians, not armed fighters, who bore the brunt of the Israeli assault. The question, however, is why does Israel even bother to tell lies? After all, their western supporters, financiers and backers have always backed them regardless of the crimes they commit.
Whatever crimes Israel commits—and it has a long, gory record of horrific crimes killing children, women and the elderly—the collective west has a pet phrase: Israel has the right to defend itself. How is Israel “defending” itself when its heavily-armed troops invade a refugee camp? And it does so with massive force, using lethal weapons supplied by the west.
We do not and should not expect the collective west to stand up for truth and justice. Israel is a zionist settler-colonial entity led by people who are blood relations of the Europeans and North Americans. The zionists are doing exactly what the European settlers did to the indigenous peoples of North and South America and Australia. They perpetrated genocides reducing the indigenous peoples to a few scattered reservations.
Let us, however, return to the question of Israel’s two-day assault on the Jenin refugee camp. Did Israel succeed in its mission of eliminating the “militants”?
“Israel failed to achieve the military and political objectives it set out for its invasion of Jenin. The resistance groups remain, and have been strengthened as the refugee camp and the entire country has rallied behind them,” said Salem Barahmeh, a Palestinian activist.
The assault was a complete failure. The Jenin Brigades were highly organized and motivated. They were able to conduct sophisticated operations to frustrate zionist incursions. After two days of attacks, the zionists decided to flee.
Their failure was also evident from the fact that the zionists destroyed homes leaving most Palestinians without shelter. This amounts to collective punishment that the zionists have repeatedly inflicted on the Palestinian people. The fact that they have not been held accountable has only emboldened them.
The two-day assault on Jenin refugee camp was part of this old zionist campaign. It did not succeed. How did the Jenin resistance frustrate zionist designs?
First, they had set up traps for Israeli armoured personnel carriers. The zionists quickly realized that in urban combat, they will suffer mass casualties. Their advantage of heavy weapons was neutralized. The zionists can kill unarmed Palestinians but they cannot face them in a situation where the odds are reduced. This was a price the zionists could not afford to pay. It would have cost any regime much political capital. In the zionist snake pit, no politician can afford to pay that price.
Second, the Jenin Brigades showed remarkable coordination. Fighters were rotated so that some fought while others rested and recuperated. They also had the support of the general population, an essential ingredient in any fight.
In addition to the alleyways that proved immensely advantageous for the Palestinian fighters because they were on familiar terrain, they had also dug tunnels between different locations. Thus, when their firing position was identified by the zionists to carry out retaliatory strikes, the fighters had already left that location. This explains why there were so few casualties among the Palestinian fighters.
The question that must be asked is: why are the zionists so worried about the resistance in Jenin. It is providing inspiration to Palestinians in other places, especially Nablus and other parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank to resist the occupiers. If Jenin can do it, so can others.
Jenin has faced zionist attacks and barbarism before. In February 2002, the zionists had attacked the camp killing 52 Palestinians and injuring hundreds of others. Today’s fighters are children that had witnessed those zionist crimes. They vowed to resist the occupiers and not allow them to get away with their criminal conduct.
It is also the Palestinians from Jenin who have launched operations against the zionists in such places as Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities. In recent weeks, there have been a spate of daring operations. The zionists are clearly worried.
Given their deep divisions, not least over the gutting of Israel’s judicial system, the Israeli state is incapable of fighting on multiple fronts. The intensification of Palestinian resistance led by the Jenin Brigades is causing them nightmares. Not surprisingly, the number of Israelis suffering from depression has multiplied in recent years.
Jenin’s resistance has much to do with this phenomenon.