electronic intifada

Israel kills four in Jenin raid
Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, Sep 28 2022

Palestinians confront IOF following a deadly raid in Jenin, Sep 28. Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA

Israeli forces killed four Palestinian fighters in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday. IOF raided the city at around 8:45 am, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Israeli special forces surrounded a home in Jenin refugee camp, opening fire and launching projectiles towards it, according to the rights group. People in the camp confronted the raiding soldiers outside the home and across the camp. IOF reportedly sought to arrest Abd’el-Rahman Khazem and Muhammad Alawneh. Israeli police claim that the pair had carried out shooting attacks in recent months, including one targeting construction equipment being used by the military near Israel’s wall in the West Bank earlier in the month. Abd’el-Rahman Khazem is the brother of Raed Fathi Khazem, who was killed in a firefight with Israeli forces hours after shooting and fatally injuring three Israelis in Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street in April. The Israeli military published video captured by a surveillance drone showing an explosion that took place at the surrounded home on Wednesday, claiming that the wanted men had set off explosives:

Video circulated by Palestinian news agencies shows a plume of smoke rising from Jenin after an explosion at the site of the besieged home:

Citing the military, Haaretz reported that in addition to shooting at two people inside the home, “soldiers fired an anti-tank missile towards the house, causing a fire.” The newspaper later removed this from its report without explanation. Israel’s use of a missile against the house suggests the Israeli attack may have been an application of the so-called “pressure cooker procedure,” a form of extrajudicial execution. As part of this procedure, occupation forces fire progressively more powerful weapons at the house in an effort to force those inside to surrender. If they refuse to do so, the occupation forces demolish the house, killing all those inside. The bodies of Abd’el-Rahman Khazem and Muhammad Alawneh were recovered from the home after Israeli forces evacuated. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that the pair were “directly wounded in the upper part of the body.” Two other Palestinians were shot and killed during the confrontations that took place during the raid in Jenin, an area of the West Bank under nominal Palestinian Authority control. Ahmad Nazmi Alawneh, 25, reportedly a Palestinian Authority security officer, was injured by a bullet to the head, according to the rights group. Mahmoud Abu Nasah, also 25, was “injured in the upper part of his body,” PCHR added. Video shows the moment that Ahmad Alawneh was shot in the head while he appears to be aiming a gun. Abu Nasah was reportedly a member of Islamic Jihad, and the three other slain men belonged to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

Fatah called for a “day of rage” in the West Bank following the deadly Jenin raid, including a general strike and a march on Israeli military checkpoints in the territory. More than 40 others were injured during the raid, several of them seriously, according to the Palestinian Authority health ministry. UNRWA said that one of its health centers was damaged during the violence in Jenin on Wednesday.

Video shows children at a kindergarten crying in terror as gunfire is heard from close by, with their teachers attempting to reassure them by saying that the shots were from a wedding. Another video shows teachers and students in a panic at a school during the Israeli raid:

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that the Israeli forces aimed to kill the men in the besieged home in what amounts to a crime of “summary execution.” Headcam footage published by Israeli police shows an officer opening fire at one of the wanted men after he apparently jumped from the besieged building. The video shows that police fired multiple shots towards the man and made no attempt to arrest him. Israel had pursued Raed Khazem’s father and other family members in the months following the Tel Aviv shooting. In April, members of the family survived a botched execution attempt after Israeli forces ambushed a car containing Khazem’s mother and two of his brothers, one of them a child.

A Palestinian resistance fighter belonging to Islamic Jihad was killed while defending Raed Khazem’s home during an Israeli raid in April. The home was destroyed earlier this month. During the demolition operation, Israeli forces shot and killed Muhammad Sabaaneh while he was livestreaming the raid to an audience of 15k via the social media app TikTok. A second Palestinian man was fatally injured during the same demolition raid. Hamad Mustafa Abu Jalda, 24, died days later after being injured during an alleged gunfight with IOF during the raid. Abu Jalda was reportedly a field commander with the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. On Wednesday, Fathi Khazem, the father of Raed and Abd’el-Rahman, said:

They demolished my house, but they only demolished stones. They have not demolished our resolve or our will.

Standing by the shrouded body of his son Abd’el-Rahman, Fathi Hazem honored his son’s martyrdom for a just cause.

Nearly 100 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers and settlers so far this year. It is the deadliest year in the territory since 2015, when around the same number of Palestinians were fatally injured. Around a third of those killed this year were in the Jenin area, which has been subjected to nightly raids after a wave of attacks in Israel beginning in late March. Among them was Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot and killed while covering an Israeli raid in Jenin during May. An Israeli sharpshooter intentionally shot and killed Abu Akleh, who was a US citizen, according to a new investigation by the UK-based research group Forensic Architecture and the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq. Jenin, along with Nablus, another major city in the north of the occupied West Bank under nominal Palestinian Authority control, have re-emerged as centers of armed resistance to the Israeli military occupation. In recent months Israel and the Palestinian Authority have stepped up their attacks in these areas amid concerns among Israeli leaders that they are slipping out of the occupation’s control.

Boat disaster hits Palestine refugees in Lebanon hard
Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, Sep 28 2022

The mother of a young Palestinian man who drowned at sea displays his photo before his funeral in Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Sep 24. Photo: ZUMA Press

At least two dozen Palestinian refugees, most of them from Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon, are among the nearly 100 dead after a boat full of asylum seekers headed towards Italy capsized off the coast of Syria last week. While a smuggler has reportedly been arrested by Lebanese authorities for his role in the tragedy, there is plenty of blame to go around for creating the dire situation that the Palestinian refugees and the other passengers were seeking to escape. Among the 24 children who reportedly perished were two students who attended schools run by UNRWA, according to a spokesperson for that agency. Between 120 and 170 people were on board the boat, which set sail from Tripoli in northern Lebanon. Most of them were Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian. Twenty people survived and more remain missing, according to Syrian state media. Tamara Alrifai, a spokesperson for UNRWA, told Al Jazeera:

The situation of Palestine refugees in Lebanon is reaching such a desperate level that they are willing to risk their lives along these perilous routes if there is hope on the other side. And the other side always looks better than what many of them describe as hell. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are marginalized, disenfranchised, barred from owning property, barred from professions and the economic and financial collapse of Lebanon, particularly this last year, has hit at the most vulnerable first. Palestinian refugees are amongst the most vulnerable more so because, apart from UNRWA, they have no one to care for them.

Yet UNRWA has been in an acute financial crisis for around a decade. Without UNRWA, which provides schooling and essential health services, Palestinian refugees will lose a last vestige of stability and normality, Alrifai warned. Millions of Palestinians, including those living in Lebanon, have remained refugees for decades after the 1948 dispossession of Palestine. Israeli law allows Jewish people an exclusive right to enter the country and receive citizenship. Meanwhile, Israel denies Palestinian refugees and those internally displaced within the country their right to return to their homes and property, a right enshrined in international law.

As Amnesty International has explained:

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued a policy of establishing and then maintaining a Jewish demographic majority, and maximizing control over land and resources to benefit Jewish Israelis.

So in pursuit of Israel’s system of apartheid in service of its colonization of Palestinian land, Palestinian refugees are left in “a perpetual limbo of forced displacement,” according to Amnesty. Some 27k Palestinians were forcibly displaced from Nahr al-Bared when it was destroyed during and after fighting between the Lebanese army and a Salafi group that had infiltrated the camp in 2007. Around 20% of those who were displaced remain uprooted and movement to and from the camp is controlled by the Lebanese army, limiting economic recovery. The camp has also hosted Palestinian refugees displaced during the war in Syria, as well as a few dozen Syrian families, according to UNRWA. Due to waning donor support, that agency has been forced to slash services in the face of growing needs due to compounded crises in Gaza, Syria and Lebanon. Filipo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, stated after the deadly capsizing last week:

We call for full solidarity from the international community to help improve the conditions of forcibly displaced people and host communities in the Middle East, particularly in countries neighboring Syria. Too many people are being pushed to the brink.

The fickle solidarity of the so-called international community is not the only contributing factor to deteriorating conditions for Palestinian refugees. In addition to forbidding Palestinian refugees from exercising their rights for decades, Israel and its supporters in the US have attacked UNRWA and its mandate. By doing so, they hope to redefine the status of Palestinian refugees so their fate no longer remains an outstanding question. The poverty rate in Lebanon nearly doubled from 42% in 2019 to 81% in 2021. While the economic crisis in Lebanon has hit everyone living in that country, it has hit Palestinian refugees even harder as they are prevented from owning property and practicing many professions. Phillippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, said in December last year after visiting the country:

Refugees I met are utterly desperate and struggle to cover their basic needs. I met young graduates whose only hope for a better future is to emigrate. They know the prices of each migration route.

And without any flicker of hope for a secure future, the cost for those seeking a life with dignity will rise unbearably higher.

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