The Muslim News: The US State Department’s said President Biden Administration was seeking answers from Israel, after its forces killed ten Palestinians and caused extensive damage to buildings and property during a raid on Thursday in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin and in al-Ram town.
The killings have been condemned by countries across the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority have said they would end to all security coordination with Israel. The Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement that nine people were killed by Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp, including 61-year-old elderly woman.
The ministry said 20 others were injured, with four of them in critical condition.
The raid’s death toll is the highest in a single operation ever recorded by the United Nations since the international body’s records began in 2005.
Later another Palestinian youth was shot and killed late Thursday evening during confrontations with Israeli forces in the town of al-Ram, north of the occupied city of Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
The Ministry said that Yousef Yahya Muheisen, 22, was shot by the Israeli soldiers during the confrontations that erupted between Israeli forces and protestors who went on a march protesting Israel’s killing of nine Palestinians in Jenin earlier in the day.
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf, said US officials are “seeking to understand” what happened in the incident, which also left 20 Palestinians injured, including four in critical condition.
The request comes ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to the region this weekend, when he is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in Jerusalem, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
“We’ve been – a number of us have been working the phones since early this morning to get an understanding of what’s developing, what’s happened, and to urge de-escalation and coordination between Israeli and the Palestinian security forces,” said Leaf,
“We are concerned, obviously, at a couple things. One, we understand there were civilian casualties, which is quite regrettable. And then, obviously, there is the potential for things to worsen in security terms, in terms of protests or any other kind of kinetic action.”
“But we’re – we are in touch, in close touch, with our diplomatic and security folks on the ground. I spoke with Ambassador Nides several times this morning and other folks in our organization out there, talked to General Mike Fenzel, who heads up our security mission, and I’ve been in touch with Israeli and Palestinian officials as well. And as I said, we are urging de-escalation and a calming of the situation.”
UN mediators said they were in talks with Israel and Palestinian officials.
“I am deeply alarmed and saddened by the continuing cycle of violence in the occupied West Bank. The deaths today of nine Palestinians, including militants and one woman, during an Israeli arrest operation in Jenin is another stark example,” said Tor Wennesland, the UN’s special envoy to the Middle East.
Over the course of four hours, the Israeli army carried out a large-scale military operation in the Jenin refugee camp.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced an immediate end to all security coordination with Israel, following a meeting led by President Abbas, who declared three days of mourning.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for the president, said that the PA will ask the UN Security Council to implement the decision to protect the Palestinian people under Chapter VII.
“Israel is committing its crimes against our people in light of the impotence and silence of the international community,” Abu Rudeineh said.
“The international silence is what encourages the occupation to commit more massacres. It continues to disregard the lives of our people, and tamper with security and stability through its policy of escalation,” he added.
Tensions have been running high across the West Bank in recent weeks amid repeated Israeli raids to detail what they say are “wanted Palestinians” or to demolish Palestinian homes. The raids have sparked clashes with Palestinians, causing several fatalities.
Eyewitnesses said that an Israeli soldier stormed the Jenin refugee camp, which led to clashes between dozens of Palestinians and the Israeli army. Witnesses say that Israeli forces used live bullets, missiles, drones, and armoured vehicles. The Israeli military operation caused damage to the camp’s infrastructure, destroying buildings and vehicles.
Zahida Al-Solmi, an eyewitness, told Anadolu Agency that “at exactly seven o’clock, we noticed that there was a special force that arrived at the camp through a dairy transport refrigerator vehicle and surrounded a house.”
“The Israeli forces opened fire on the house and fired several missiles,” she added. The woman, who stood in shock in front of her destroyed house, said “the medical staff recovered four bodies from inside the house after the withdrawal of the Israeli forces.” Other eyewitnesses told Anadolu that they saw an Israeli military bulldozer run over a Palestinian vehicle in cold blood with an injured person inside.
This Israeli military operation in the Jenin camp is the largest since the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2002, when, during Israel’s Operation Defensive Shield, 52 residents were killed in the Jenin refugee camp, according to a UN report “The scene in the camp takes us back to the year 2002 when the camp was subjected to a massive military operation that resulted in the demolition of most of its homes,” Assem Muslim, a resident of the camp, told Anadolu. “For four hours, the sounds of bullets and explosions did not stop. The camp witnessed a real battle,” he added.
Palestinian Authority officials also accuse Israel of targeting medical personnel.
“The Israeli army targeted medical personnel and prevented ambulances from entering the camp during the operation,” Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila said in a statement.
She said the occupation forces stormed the Jenin Governmental Hospital, and deliberately fired tear gas canisters at the paediatric department in the hospital, causing children to suffocate. The Deputy Governor of Jenin, Kamal Abu Al-Rub, accused the Israeli authorities of committing a massacre in the Jenin camp. He pointed out that the Israeli authorities are seeking to eliminate the Palestinian resistance in Jenin.
“Humans, property, and even children were not spared,” he added. “The forces deliberately kill. They shoot indiscriminately.”
Israeli army radio said on Thursday that an army surveillance drone was downed during Israel’s offensive in Jenin, in the northern region of the occupied West Bank. The radio, however, did not give further details on how the drone was downed in Jenin, adding that there was no fear of leakage of information.
The raid was strongly condemned by Saudi Arabia, with the country’s foreign ministry denouncing the Israeli forces’ “storming of the city” that led to “the fall of a number of victims”.
The ministry said Saudi Arabia decried “serious violations of international law by the Israeli occupation forces” and called on the international community to take responsibility to “end the occupation, stop the Israeli escalation and aggressions, and provide the necessary protection for civilians,” SPA said.
Jordan, Kuwait and Oman also condemned the attack.
The 10 killings brings the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank by Israeli army fire in the first 26 days of this year to thirty two, including five children.
The slain Palestinians have been identified as:
Yousef Yahya Abdul-Karim Mheisin, 22, Al-Ram town
Saeb Mahmoud Ezreiqi, 24, Jenin city.
Ezzeddin Yassin Salahat, 26, Jenin refugee camp.
Abdullah Marwan Al-Ghoul, 18, Jenin refugee camp.
Wasim Amjad Aref Al-Ja’as, 22, Jenin refugee camp.
Majeda Obeid, 61, Jenin refugee camp.
Mo’tasem Mahmoud Abu Al-Hasan, 40, Al-Yamoun town.
Mohammad Mahmoud Sobeh, 30, Burqin town.
Mohammad Sami Ghneim, 28, Burqin town.
Nour Sami Ghneim, 25, from Burqin.
Also Thursday, a Palestinian child, Nayef Oweidat, 13, died from serious wounds he suffered last year during the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip.