By Nada Tammous
Three months have passed since the Israeli occupation invaded the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin located in the occupied West Bank, deploying aerial power, ground troops, tanks, and bulldozers and launching a full-scale raid under the false pretext of “eliminating Palestinian resistance groups.”
The attack was reminiscent of the tragic reality in the besieged Gaza Strip, where Palestinians are still confronting the assaults of Israeli forces through peaceful protests and popular resistance while enduring an unlawful blockade imposed on two million people for over sixteen years.
Regrettably, 12 Palestinians were killed in the invasion, and over 300 were detained, the majority of them civilians. An additional 120 individuals suffered injuries, with 20 of them in critical condition. Amid the chaos, resistance factions engaged in a fierce armed clash, resulting in the death of one Israeli soldier and injuries to others. They also managed to disable several machinery, bulldozers, and armoured personnel carriers, while successfully downing five drones.
A few days after the invasion, the Israeli occupation army declared the end of its military operation in Jenin and the withdrawal of all troops. However, the Israeli army’s withdrawal was perceived as a failure and a major defeat for Israel, and a victory for Palestinians and the resistance.
Since last July, the Israeli attacks have not ceased, in a continued campaign to target residential compounds, civil society structures and and even hospitals – Ibn Sina Specialist Hospital, Al Amal Hospital, and the Government Hospital – were not spared from the relentless attacks.
Up until now, the Israeli army aims to eradicate the Jenin camp as a symbol of resistance. Its mission extends to capturing or detaining as many Palestinians as possible and exploiting potential divisions between the civilian population and the resistance in Jenin. Critical infrastructure, including roads, water and electricity lines, telephone networks, and internet connectivity, suffer extensive damage.
Palestinian journalists too covering the Israeli aggressions continue to face the challenges of navigating their workdays under the military rule of Israel – and thousands of Palestinians are under the threat of being forced from their homes due to the threat of bombings, a calculated displacement tool employed by an Israeli settler agenda. Approximately 800 homes have been either partially or completely destroyed across the occupied Palestinian territories.
Despite the occupation’s arrest of 300 Palestinians, their ambitions to apprehend a larger number of fighters went unfulfilled. The tragic results in Jenin, therefore, presented a complex interplay between resistance and civilian life, with the occupation’s objectives unmet.
The ‘Lions’ Den’: A Beacon of Palestinian Resistance
The ‘Lions’ Den’ is a group of Palestinian resistance fighters, primarily composed of young individuals dressed in black uniforms, dedicated to continuing the fight against the occupation until their land and people are free. They represent a united front against the cruelty of the occupation and have garnered immense support and encouragement from their community.
These determined groups, often referred to as the ‘Lions’ Den,’ are closely associated with the formidable military unit known as the ‘Jenin Brigade,’ particularly within the Jenin camp. They stand as prominent pillars of Palestinian resistance across Palestine and the West Bank, striving to unify efforts, transcend factional differences, and rekindle the flame of resistance within the Palestinian people.
Endurance Beyond Israeli Brutality
Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s words, ‘Old people die, and young people forget,’ have failed to come true, as Palestinians have steadfastly clung to their dream of reclaiming their land. A fighter from the Jenin battalion poignantly reflects, ‘While we may not recall the minute details of the events of that era, for we were mere children at the time, we are acutely aware of the occupation’s actions spanning more than seven decades across all of Palestine.’
The circumstances of the camp in 2002 have left an indelible mark on the upbringing of the new generation, now facing the occupation. Many of today’s resistance members are the offspring and relatives of those who sacrificed in the Battle of April 2002. The notion of an ‘invincible army,’ which the occupation sought to instill in Palestinians, holds no truth. Instead, the spirit of resistance burns brighter than ever, carried forward by a new generation determined to reclaim their rights and homeland.
Currently, Jenin – as well as all of the occupied Palestinian territories – continues to stand steadfast and upfront to the Israeli attacks against the people and land of Palestine. The occupation, however, seems to be losing its battle of eradicating the Palestinian resistance groups that are persistent in their fight, no matter how vilified and attacked.
Nada Tammous is a Gaza-based Palestinian intern journalist and a senior student at the Islamic University of Gaza, where she is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Translation Studies.
The views expressed in the article are the author’s own, and they do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Days of Palestine.