How Jenin Turned from an Economic Hotspot to a Terrorist Hotbed

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.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, West Bank

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security