by Ayman Ahmed (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 1, Sha'ban, 1444)
Even by the murderous standards of zionist criminals, the February 22 military raid on Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, scaled new heights. The attack carried out by heavily-armed Israeli soldiers in broad daylight left 11 Palestinians dead, among them a child and two elderly people, and more than 100 injured.
The zionists stormed the old city riding in more than 60 military vehicles at around 10am local time. It was one of the biggest military assaults on a Palestinian city in recent memory. Only a month earlier (January 26, 2023), the northern Palestinian city of Jenin was attacked. The assault on Jenin left 10 Palestinians dead, among them 60-year-old Magda Obaid who was shot in the neck, and scores injured.
The Israeli attack on Nablus focused on a building that reportedly housed Palestinian resistance fighters. They fired missiles at the building in complete disregard for the lives of civilians inside. Palestinian media said two fighters belonging to the Nablus resistance group, Lions’ Den, were inside the building. They were identified as Hussam Bassam Aslim, 24, and Mohammed Omar Abu Bakr, 23.
The zionists demanded that they surrender. The young Palestinian fighters did not take up arms to surrender. They refused, preferring martyrdom, instead of handing their fate to the non-existent mercy of the zionist war criminals. They urged other Palestinian youth, via a recorded message, to continue the struggle against the zionist occupiers. The Palestinian health ministry confirmed their martyrdom as well as that of nine others.
The ministry also provided the names of the others killed in the assault. They are: Adnan Sabe Baara, 72, Abd el-Hadi Ashqar, 61, Mohammad Farid Shaban, 16, Tamer Nimr Minawi, 33, Mohamed Khaled Anbousi, 25, Mosaab Muneer Owais, 26, Waleed Riad Dakheel, 23, and Jaser Jameel Qenaer, 23, and Mohammad Abdulghani, 23. A 65-year-old Palestinian later died of gas inhalation in hospital as Israeli occupation troops had resorted to indiscriminate shelling and firing of live ammunition in Nablus.
The latest killings on February 22 brought the number of Palestinians murdered this year to 61, the highest since 2005.
Since the new cabinet dominated by fascists and neo-Nazis was sworn in on December 29, 2022, the killings of Palestinians have escalated. They have made no secret of their plans to murder Palestinians in order to crush their spirit of resistance.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, security minister in the zionist cabinet, has openly proclaimed he will crack down hard on the Palestinians. He is carrying out his agenda fully. He is a convicted criminal but so is the rest of the gang in the zionist snake pit that passes off for a government. They wear their criminality as a badge of honour.
A member of Ben Gvir’s Jewish Power party—yes, you read that correctly, “Jewish Power” party—brigadier Zvika Fogel in an interview with UK’s Channel 4 News aired on December 9, said that Israel had been “too merciful” towards the Palestinians. He dismissed “the concept of proportionality,” and said “If it is one Israeli mother crying, or a thousand Palestinian mothers crying, then a thousand Palestinian mothers will cry.”
When asked by the presenter if this policy was racist, Fogel said: “We are too merciful. It’s time for us to stop being so. It has nothing to do with racism.” While Israel’s racists are galloping toward gobbling up more Palestinian territories, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled last month that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is illegal. This will hardly stop the zionists’ murderous campaign against the Palestinians. The Nablus killings are clear proof of this.
The murderous Israeli raid on Nablus prompted a strong reaction from Abu Obaida, the spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. He warned that “The Palestinian resistance in Gaza is closely monitoring the Israeli occupation’s repeated crimes against the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank and its patience is wearing thin.”
All Palestinian factions, including the zionist puppet entity, the Palestinian Authority (PA), joined in condemning the raid. They called it a “barbaric massacre”, and said they held Israel responsible for the consequences.
The Palestine Chronicle pointed out that two days prior to the Israeli assault on Nablus, an agreement had been reached between the US, the PA and Israel. A resolution presented in the UN Security Council used strong language to condemn Israel’s pans for new illegal settlements. The resolution, if put to vote would have created a dilemma for the US.
Washington had already criticized Israel’s plan for settlement expansion in the West Bank. If the US had vetoed the resolution, it would have exposed its hypocrisy. Allowing it to pass would have put Israel under the spotlight and further action would have been demanded.
To get out of this quandary, the US pressured the PA to agree to the withdrawal of the Security Council resolution and settle instead for a statement of condemnation. Further, Israel would reduce the number of settlements and scale back its raids on Palestinians.
The Nablus assault clearly showed that zionist Israel does not care for international opinion and the Americans are too hypocritical and cowardly to do anything about it.
This leaves the Palestinians with no option but to intensify their resistance. There were massive rallies in Gaza and the West Bank on February 24 against the Nablus attack. These must be followed by escalating attacks against the zionist occupiers. The broader resistance front must also join in this struggle with much greater vigor. The Palestinians must not be left alone to continue the struggle.