After a week of incessant clashes, silence reigns in the suburban streets of the Jenin refugee camp. Rubble and large amounts of dirt have been piled up on the sides of the alleys, intersecting in a dense network among buildings and homes, while on the ground one can still see the marks left by the tracks of Israeli bulldozers and military vehicles that have been tearing up the neighborhoods of Jabal Abu Zaheer and Al-Jabriyat in recent days.
“The Israeli forces tried once again to enter the camp, without success. When the soldiers realized they couldn’t advance any further, the air strikes and massacres of civilians began,” says journalist Sharuq Al-Assad, who returned to Ramallah a few days ago after a trip to Jenin. “In recent weeks, attacks on infrastructure, monuments and homes have intensified, with helicopter and drone raids. In the West Bank, we’re living in the shadow of the Gaza invasion, but we’re under siege here as well. Soldiers now shoot indiscriminately, targeting vital areas, aiming to kill. Of the 229 dead since the conflict began, most have been shot in the head or heart.”
Meanwhile, at the Al-Jalama checkpoint, the waits are getting longer and longer. During the security checks, dozens of people are interrogated, arrested and placed under administrative detention for no apparent reason – a type of detention set out by Israeli law on the basis of secret security-related grounds, which is not subject to appeal. Since October 7, more than 3,100 people have been detained by the Jewish state’s armed forces in the West Bank, including 32 journalists.
From Hebron, Badee tells us about the arrest of his son Mahmoud, a minor, who was detained by Israeli soldiers on November 6: “I left the house to go to work like every other morning. My wife and Mahmoud were in the yard having breakfast. In the afternoon, I tried to contact him to ask when he was coming home, but I got no answer. At 11 p.m., after so many calls, I realized that something serious had happened.”
The next day, thanks to the help of the Jerusalem Complaints Center NGO, Badee found out that his son had been taken to Ofer Prison near Ramallah along with a group of friends. “Through a lawyer, I was able to track down my son and find out what happened. The boys were in the car and were stopped by a group of soldiers, who assaulted and arrested them after finding a toolbox in the vehicle with a screwdriver and other work tools. I have been trying to get into contact with him for three weeks, but his phone is turned off. At the moment, I’m still not allowed to visit him – I’m scared to death, I hope with all my heart that he hasn’t been tortured. Since the escalation began, there are already five inmates who have died as a result of violence by the prison police.”
Meanwhile, in the areas next to Hebron, Masafer Yatta and Nablus, Israeli settlers continue to attack Palestinian civilians with assault weapons. The increase in the possession of firearms among Israeli citizens during the escalation has been exponential: since the beginning of hostilities, more than 236,000 Israelis have applied for gun permits (a number equal to the total number of applications submitted in the past 20 years). This situation has subjected entire population centers to a regime of terror and military lockdown: “Settlers and soldiers are spreading panic in the streets. People are no longer safe,” says Nablus journalist Asef Nawfal, who witnessed one of the many attacks on the Balata refugee camp.
“Armed clashes are the order of the day,” Nawfal continues. ”On November 23, the army engaged in heavy fire among homes and in densely populated areas, causing dozens of injuries and one death. There were also five casualties after an airstrike on the 18th. All of this, unfortunately, comes at the expense of civilians.”