On July 3, the Israeli military launched a major assault on the Jenin refugee camp in the Israeli occupied West Bank Palestinian city of Jenin. According to the Israeli government, the goal of Operation Home and Garden is to target militants within the camp.
The Jenin refugee camp was established back in 1953 to house Palestinians who fled/were expelled by Israel in the 1948 Palestine War. This location has been a common place for many incidents in the conflicts between Israel and Palestine, including the recent attacks by both sides.
The Israeli government has been openly critical of the camp, with Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen describing the camp as a "hub for terrorist activities" and accusing Iran of funding its militants.
The attacks also come after members of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advocating for more extensive military retaliation to address the ongoing violence in the region.
The attack began with drone strikes on what the JDF called "terrorist infrastructure" in the early mornings of July 3. The airstrikes were followed by the deployment of troops who remained inside the camp until midday. The fighting lasted for about 14 hours after the Israeli forces entered the camp. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht disclosed that around 2,000 soldiers, constituting a brigade-size force, participated in the operation.
The military then began to block roads, seized control of houses and buildings, and positioned snipers on rooftops. Military bulldozers were used to clear paths through narrow streets to allow for the armed forces to press through. This caused damage to the buildings according to The Guardian.
The results have already been brutal for the civilians. Palestinian officials have reported that several thousand have already fled their homes in response. UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said many people in the camp were in desperate need of food, drinkable water, and milk powder.
The Palestinian health ministry said that at least ten people have been killed and 100 injured, with 20 of them critically. This includes a 15 and 17 year old, who were both shot in the head and chest respectively according to the Defense for Children- Palestine. Tragically, most of the victims have been younger folks with the oldest being a 23-year old.
However, Israeli forces pulled after two days of fighting. The Palestinians in the area took the streets and claimed victory in the fighting according to the Mondoweiss.
While Palestine obviously came out against the attacks, other countries offered their support for Palestine. Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned the violence.
However, the United States has offered support the major Israeli offense. "We support Israel’s security and right to defend its people against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups," a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said, according to AFP.
Furthermore, the United States was informed a week ago that Israel was going to carry out a limited counterterror operation in Jenin according to the Israeli Hayom.
This backing of Israeli’s attacks is nothing new for President Joe Biden and his administration.
In May 2023, Mondoweiss ran a story about how the Biden Administration quietly backed Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza. Hours before Israel began to raining down more bombs, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen. While the transcript of the call did not mention what were escalating tensions with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), it is clear that the matter was discussed and that Israel’s decision did not catch the United States off guard.
In January 2022, the Israel army murdered an 80-year old man named Omar Asaad, an American left beaten and handcuffed out in the cold at a checkpoint in what they called "poor decision-making on the part of soldiers."
In another case, three-year-old Mohammed al-Tamimi, who was shot on June 2, the army said that an Israeli soldier violated orders in firing warning shots into the air, causing another soldier to fire on Mohammed’s father’s car, that soldier believing the two people in the car were "terrorists."
The Army announced there would be no prosecutions in either case. The State Department said they would talk to Israel about the death of Asaad, but that was 18 months ago, and nothing came of it.
In response to the death of Mohammed and his father, the State Department offered its "condolences" and said they would "look into it."
In response, Joe Biden has said nothing about it. He neither demanded accountability or even denounced the "mistakes." Instead, he chose to remain silence.
In February 2023, the State Department was asked about an announcement that governing authority over the West Bank had been transferred from the Israeli military authorities to the new office governing settlement activity in Israel’s Ministry of Defense, which would be run by the radical, far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, they responded with that they were "working to better understand this announcement.
Mondoweiss commented that, "The announcement was the culmination of two months of wrangling in Israel, but it was the fulfillment of a promise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made as part of the coalition agreement that formed his new government. In other words, the administration has had two months to "understand" this announcement and its implications."
Trenton Hale is a young libertarian writer. He is the author of two books, The Failed Idea: Why Socialism Fails in Theory and Practice, and Freedom for All: How a Libertarian Society Would Function. He regularly posts on his substack and Instagram pages. His works have been featured in institutes such as Antiwar.com, the Mises Institute, Libertarian Institute, and Mises Magazine for the Liberty Youth Coalition.