A massive raid by the Israeli occupation military on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank has sparked outrage and condemnation from a Haaretz columnist, Amira Hass, who accused the Israeli occupation of pursuing a long-term strategy to annex more Palestinian land and resurrect four settlements that were dismantled in 2005
In an opinion article published on the Israeli newspaper website, Hass drew a stark contrast between the heavily armed and equipped Israeli forces and the impoverished and besieged Palestinians of the camp, who she hailed as heroes for defying the Israeli “master plan” of de facto annexation and ethnic cleansing.
She asserted that Israel has exploited the withdrawal of the settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005 as a cover to fragment the Palestinian population and intensify its settlement construction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
In her article, Hass highlighted that the current Israeli government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has annulled the Disengagement Law that covered four settlements in the northern West Bank: Homesh, Sa-Nur, Kadim and Ganim. She indicated that Israel is planning to reoccupy these sites, which remain under Israeli control as “Area C”, and that the assault on Jenin was designed to terrorize and dispossess the Palestinians living in the vicinity.
Hass also cited examples of how Israel has systematically violated the Oslo Accords and international law by expanding its settlements, building the separation barrier, banning Palestinian presence in the “seam zone”, and denying Palestinian development needs. She warned that Israel’s actions are not only infringing on Palestinian rights and aspirations, but also jeopardizing its own future as a democratic and Jewish state.
Hass provided a vivid description of the raid, which involved thousands of soldiers, helicopters, drones, war rooms, command centers, bulldozers, armored jeeps and other high-tech weaponry. The columnist claimed that these forces were intended to subjugate – kill, wound, arrest, deter, intimidate – those who might try to disrupt the repeal of the Disengagement Law.
The article also exposed the imbalance of information between the Israeli and Palestinian sides. Hass argued that the Israeli spokespersons of the Israeli army, police and security agency deliver their filtered information in real time, presenting themselves as objective narrators and using terms like “terror infrastructure” and “explosives lab” to justify their actions. Amira Hass contended that the Israeli public ignores or forgets that Israel is the occupying force, imposing itself on the Palestinians, and that its forces are more heavily armed than the entire refugee camp.
Thousands of residents were forced to leave their homes on Monday evening, either by Israeli orders or by their own choice due to lack of water. Amira Hass in her article expressed concern about their fate and their belongings when they return to the camp: whether they will find their homes destroyed, looted, vandalized or damaged. She also questioned whether some of those killed or arrested by Israeli soldiers were really armed or just throwing rocks at armored vehicles.