Israeli military kill 10, wound 20 Palestinians in deadliest raid on Jenin in years
Jean Shaoul, WSWS, Jan 27 2023

A joint funeral in Jenin, Jan 26 2023.

Israel’s military, police and Shin Bet carried out a mass slaughter of Palestinians in the refugee camp in Jenin Thursday, killing nine people, including an elderly woman. At least 20 were wounded, four of whom are in a critical condition. Another died in clashes that continued Thursday evening. It was by far the deadliest such raid in years. The Israeli army blocked Palestinian emergency services from reaching the scene, adding to the horror. Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaileh said:

The IOF stormed Jenin Government Hospital and intentionally fired tear gas canisters at the paediatric department in the hospital, causing children to choke.

Hospital videos showed women carrying children out of hospital rooms and into the corridor. As well as the 60-year-old Magda Obaid, the Palestinian Health Ministry said the dead included 24-year-old Saeb Essam Mahmoud Azriqi, 26-year-old Izzidin Yassin Salahat, Abdullah Marwan al-Ghoul and Moatassem Abu al-Hassan. Their funerals took place the same day, amid a general strike. According to al-Kaileh, the situation in the camp, home to 10k people crammed into less than one square kilometre, is “dire.” The city is a social tinderbox following the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated the livelihoods of its inhabitants, the settlers’ violent activities and harassment, constant raids and mass arrests by IOF since last March and the failure of the PA to provide any protection. Kamal Abu al-Rubsaid, Jenin’s deputy governor, told AFP:

We are living in a real state of war. The Israeli army is destroying everything and shooting at everything that moves.

The massacre followed the near nightly search and arrest raids in the West Bank. In 2022, Israeli military raids led to more than 2,500 arrests and left 271 Palestinians dead, mostly in the West Bank. This latest slaughter brings to 30 the number killed since the beginning of this year, more than one a day. It came a day after a 20-year-old Palestinian from the Jenin refugee camp was shot dead after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier near the Kedumim settlement in the northern West Bank. A senior IOF official denied there had been any change of policy since Netanyahu had taken office. The new government includes forces determined to drive out the 100k Palestinians living in Area C that accounts for 60% of the West Bank and is home to most of the Israeli settlements. Anticipating a response from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, the IOF spox said it was “prepared for any scenario and there is no doubt that this may affect the southern arena as well,” a reference to Gaza. The PA under Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement condemning the slaughter as “a massacre from the IOF in the shadow of international silence” and announced the PA was halting security coordination with Israel. The PA’s Foreign Ministry made a futile appeal to the “international community” and the USs to “intervene immediately” against the “Israeli killing machine.” The Netanyahu government can only proceed with its agenda of territorial expansionism, Jewish Supremacy and the mass repression of the Palestinians because Washington and the major European powers lend it tacit support. They all have the same to-do list: wars of conquest abroad and class war at home, backed up by ever increasing authoritarianism in defence of their own financial oligarchs. The Biden administration has stressed that its support for Israel will remain unconditional in a statement issued Thursday announcing a visit by Blinken, explaining:

The Sec State will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, and other senior leaders to discuss the enduring US support for Israel’s security, particularly against threats from Iran.

Biden’s administration did nothing to stop or sanction Israel for its apartheid policy as documented by New York-based Human Rights Watch in Apr 2021; its bombing of Gaza in May 2021 that killed more than 250 Palestinians; the death of 80-year old American citizen Omar Muhammad Asaad after he was dragged out of his car by the police, beaten and left to die in the road in Jan 2022; the near daily raids on towns and cities in the West Bank; the deliberate murder of Al-Jazeera’s Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in May 2022; Israel’s announcement the same month of its plan to build 4k settlement homes in the West Bank; or its killing of at least 271 Palestinians in 2022. The US has approved $1b funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system and published a report minimising Israel’s responsibility for Abu Akleh’s murder. Last week, NSA Jake Sullivan travelled to Israel to discuss plans for ramping up the war drive against Iran, amid preparations for the largest-ever joint military exercise put together with unprecedented speed in just two months, designed to send a warning to Iran and underscore the Biden administration’s commitment to Israel, just weeks after Netanyahu’s government, stacked with fascists, took power.

Blinken’s trip begins in Egypt, where he will meet President Abd’el-Fattah el-Sisi to “advance the US-Egypt strategic partnership and promote peace and security in the region,” the statement said. The US-brokered Abraham Accords, which have seen the UAE), Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Morocco open full diplomatic and commercial relations with Israel, have led to a drastic fall in the funding for UNRWA by Arab donors. In 2018, Arab countries provided 25% of the agency’s budget, but this fell to just 3% in 2021 and 4 percent last year. Last year, UNRWA, which provides essential public services to nearly six million Palestinians registered in the Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, raised less than $1.2b of the $1.6b it had appealed for, ending with a deficit greater than $70m for the fourth year in a row.

Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in Jenin comes amid moves to transfer the civilian authorities in the West Bank under the Civil Administration to the newly appointed Minister of Finance—the fascistic Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich—a move that will require amendments to two of Israel’s Basic Laws. The Civil Administration, an agency currently within the Ministry of Defence, is responsible for planning and construction in Area C of the West Bank. Smotrich will have de facto control of settlement expansion, including the settler outposts currently illegal under Israeli law. The transfer of the Civil Administration to the Ministry of Finance will amount to the de facto annexation of Area C as the settlements will henceforth come under civilian not military rule. This, and National Security Minister and Jewish Power leader Itamar Ben-Gvir’s provocations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, aimed at securing Jewish prayers at the site, is guaranteed to inflame tensions and precipitate an all-out war with the Palestinians, with Ramadan and Passover set to coincide in April.

Palestinian workers can no more trust their rapacious, bourgeois national leaders, secular or religious, to defend them against these fascistic forces than Israeli workers can trust their “anyone but Netanyahu” leaders to lead a struggle against his far right government’s assumption of dictatorial powers. The decisive question is the unification of both these struggles and the forging of a revolutionary leadership to secure the political independence of the Palestinian and Israeli working class from all forces that seek to maintain the grip of one or other wing of the ruling elite. Israeli and Palestinian workers must unite their struggle with those of their brothers and sisters throughout the region—Arab, Iranian, Kurdish and Turkish—and in the imperialist centres, against capitalism and for socialism. This is the perspective of permanent revolution fought for by the International Committee of the Fourth International.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: