On Monday and Tuesday, the IDF conducted a major operation in the West Bank city of Jenin, killing eleven guerrillas and destroying bomb-making workshops, weapons caches, and three headquarters used for observing and coordinating fighting. The operation, which involved both airstrikes and ground forces, was the largest of its kind in almost two decades, and was aimed primarily against a local branch of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Yossi Yehoshua explains how Jenin has become the epicenter of terrorism in the West Bank, and the source of numerous, often deadly, attacks on Israeli civilians:
The deterioration in the Jenin refugee camp actually began with the outbreak of COVID-19. The Palestinian Authority distanced itself from the area to the point of complete detachment from knowing what was going on. The Palestinian Authority never had a firm grip there, but its weakness turned into a loss of control. Therefore, it is also important to note that we don’t see a similar situation in other cities in the West Bank, which is one of the reasons why we are currently far from an intifada, and likewise far from an operation approaching the scale of Operation Defensive Shield, [which effectively ended the second intifada in 2002].
Security forces, backed by the Israeli government and under international pressure, did everything they could to allow Palestinian Authority mechanisms to return to Jenin and maintain law and order within the chaos.
The first ones to suffer from the deteriorating situation [were] Jenin’s own residents. These are 40,000 Palestinian who were taken in the past two years as hostages by militants and terrorists. The city, which until 2020 was one of the leading centers of economy and trade in the West Bank, has been suffering a continuous decline in trade volume, especially in relations with Arab Israelis, who are worried about entering the city out of fear of running into armed clashes.
A single operation, no matter how successful, won’t turn the camp and its residents into Israel supporters. . . . The IDF should focus on the camp and carry out daily operations against terror.