EXPLAINER: How Palestinian Unity, Resistance Thwarted Israel’s Jenin Invasion

Israeli forces withdrew from the Jenin town and refugee camp. (Image: PC)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Why did Israel invade Jenin? And did it succeed in achieving its objectives? what are the Israeli objectives anyway? And why is the Palestinian Resistance claiming victory for the refugee camp over the massive Israeli military machine? These questions and more are answered below ..  

Israeli Army Radio confirmed the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from the town and refugee camp of Jenin on Wednesday, after a two-day operation in which 12 Palestinians were killed and 120 were wounded.

Though the Israeli government of rightwing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed to have completed the objectives of the invasion, Palestinian Resistance said that it has successfully repulsed the Israeli advances. 

An international outcry followed the Israeli invasion, which resulted in an unprecedented number of Palestinian casualties, the worst since 2005, according to United Nations officials.  

During the invasion, Israel occupied residential homes, fired at a hospital and journalists. It also barred medics from reaching the wounded inside Jenin.

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Why Israel Invaded Jenin?

Israel has raided Jenin several times in recent months, most notably in January and June of this year. Many Palestinians were killed and wounded in those raids.

The July 3 raid, dubbed by Israel “House and Garden” has been the largest, most violent, and, unlike previous raids, it wasn’t just intended to ‘send a message.’ 

According to the Israeli military, 3,000 soldiers took part in the invasion, and hundreds of military vehicles, drones, and other military equipment were deployed.

The intention, as stated by the Israeli military and government, was to eradicate the Resistance from Jenin altogether. 

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Did Israel Succeed? 

The short answer is no.

Though Israel killed 12 Palestinians – including three children – and wounded 120, it didn’t claim that any of those killed were top ‘wanted’ Palestinian fighters. 

Israel also says that 300 Palestinians have been detained, yet again without any news suggesting that any of these people were top commanders in the Palestinian Resistance. 

Another indication of Israel’s failure to achieve major objectives is that the invading Israeli forces couldn’t penetrate deep inside Jenin, especially the refugee camp. The battle of the Damaj neighborhood was a perfect illustration of this.

What Do Palestinians Say? 

As soon as Israeli forces began their withdrawal from Jenin, thousands of Palestinians marched in the streets of the Jenin refugee camp and several West Bank cities to celebrate what they saw as the victory of the Palestinian Resistance.

Large crowds participated in spontaneous marches in Jenin refugee camp, Ramallah, Jericho, and Nablus, and the participants chanted slogans glorifying the Resistance and its steadfastness in the face of the Israeli occupation forces. 

Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhaleh said the Palestinian people had achieved a ‘great victory’ by defeating the Israeli aggression on Jenin and its camp.

Al-Nakhaleh said that the Jenin battalion courageously and heroically led this great victory.

Al-Nakhaleh called for Palestinian solidarity to strengthen the steadfastness of the Jenin camp so that it remains an “inspiring title for revolution, challenge, jihad, and resistance.”

Israeli Occupation Forces Withdraw from Jenin, Resistance Claims Victory

Are These Claims Founded? 

Palestine Chronicle editors thoroughly analyzed many statements issued by the various Resistance groups in Jenin during the Israeli attacks. 

The Resistance made several major claims: 

One, the Israeli military was repelled repeatedly in its attempt to enter the center of the camp.

Two, Resistance fighters were united throughout the operation and engaged with Israeli forces at very close proximity.

Three, the Resistance blew up several Israeli military vehicles, killing and wounded soldiers.

According to video footage circulating on social media, local and international news reports, and even some Israeli official statements, the claims of the Resistance seem to be accurate. 

Like Gaza, Palestinian Resistance perceives that preventing Israel from achieving its declared objectives is a victory. 

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But Why Did Israel Bomb Gaza? 

To demonstrate unity, a Gaza-based group launched several small rockets at an empty area inside Israel. Israel claimed that ‘all’ rockets were intercepted by its ‘Iron Dome’ defenses. 

The Gaza rockets, however, were not intended to cause harm, but to send a message that Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are united, and it is not Israel, but the Resistance that determines the time and place of confrontations with Israel. 

Israel responded by bombing Palestinian positions. 

Israeli warplanes bombed with several missiles a site belonging to the Palestinian Resistance in the town of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, and another site west of Gaza City.

The Israeli raids caused material damage to the two targeted sites, but no injuries were reported.

The Israeli military said his forces attacked an underground weapons production site and a site producing Hamas rocket raw materials in the Gaza Strip. 

The Israeli claims are yet to be verified. 

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Are Palestinians Now United? 

Though unity among Palestinians has proved elusive politically, it seems that the unity on the battlefield is closer than ever. 

Hours after Israel invaded Jenin, Resistance groups in Gaza communicated to Israel that the Resistance in the besieged Strip is ready to enter the battle if Israel doesn’t withdraw. 

Though, initially, Israeli sources said that the Jenin invasion will last for many days – or for ‘as long as is necessary’ – the official Israeli line began changing, saying that it was just a small operation that is limited in both time and scope.  

Hours before the Israeli withdrawal took effect, a Resistance unit involving the three major Palestinian groups, Fatah, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad ambushed Israeli soldiers, killing one and injuring others. 

The Gaza rockets were also a message that demonstrate what Palestinians refer to as ‘Wihdat al-Sahat’ – or unity of the battlefields. 

What Now? 

Though Israel is claiming that its operation was a success, the Israeli military now understands that another Jenin operation, in fact a major West Bank reinvasion, like that of 2002 is no easy feat. 

The political fallout of this realization is likely to be significant. 

(The Palestine Chronicle) 

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