Israeli forces “bomb anyone moving” in Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. The racist terror state launched a huge assault on Monday, forcing thousands of Palestinians to flee for their lives.
It had murdered at least 10 Palestinians, and injured over 100, as Socialist Worker went to press the following day. Mujeeb from Jenin told Socialist Worker, “There are many drones and snipers and Israeli forces have launched rockets. They are bombing at the refugee camp. The situation is very bad.”
Israel began its biggest military assault on the West Bank in 20 years on Monday morning. Soldiers destroyed homes and roads in Jenin following air raids. Bulldozers ploughed through the streets cutting off water and power supplies. The destruction meant ambulances struggled to reach those injured in the assault.
A Palestinian woman, who escaped from the camp, said, “There is no water. No electricity, the children were screaming. They bomb anyone moving.”
The Israeli assault on Jenin marks an escalation of its raids on the camp last month, which killed at least five Palestinians and wounded many more. It comes after a recent spate of raids by right wing settlers in the West Bank. Armed mobs have marauded through Palestinian villages, fired guns, torched homes and cars and cut power lines.
They are supported by finance minister Bezalel Smotrich. He heads up the far right Religious Zionism party, which is a junior partner in prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition. He recently called for “a large-scale operation across the West Bank”, saying, “The time had come.”
The settlers’ raids have brought to the fore splits within the Israeli state over how best to oppress the Palestinians. An editorial in the Israeli Haaretz newspaper on Monday claimed the assault on Jenin was down to a “reckless political fringe” that “has deployed” the Israeli Defence Forces. But the history of Jenin shows the problem goes far deeper to the state’s very foundations.
The refugee camp was set up in 1953 after Zionist forces ethnically-cleansed nearly a million Palestinians to found the Israeli state in 1948—known as Nakba or catastrophe.
Israeli settler colonialism in Palestine had always relied on imperialist sponsorship—first Britain and now the US. Since its beginning, Zionism had no intention of sticking to the 1948 official partition of British‑occupied Palestine.
Israel’s first prime minister David Ben Gurion said the state’s borders “will be determined by force and not the partition resolution”. By 1949, Israel had grabbed 80 percent of Palestinian land. And in 1967 it occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza—in a bid to show the US that it would be a powerful outpost in the Middle East.
It has continued to snatch more land since. And as it grown, it’s ramped up ethnic cleansing and apartheid to maintain Israel as an exclusively Jewish state.
Today, the West needs to maintain the fiction that it supports a “two state solution”, and sections of the Israeli state want a cloak of legality to justify the occupation. The likes of Smotrich, Gvir and settler mobs on the rampage don’t always help that image.
But the West remains utterly committed to Israel as an outpost of imperialism, and the whole of the Israeli state supports the continued oppression of the Palestinians.
At the same time as bombs rained down on Palestinians, the British state made clear that it backs Israel. A bill to stop public bodies from supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) passed its second reading by 268 to 70 in the House of Commons on Monday.
The bill aims to delegitimise and smear Palestine solidarity. Tory minister Michael Gove claimed the bill “protects minorities, especially Jewish communities, against campaigns that fuel antisemitism.” Shamefully, the Labour Party abstained on the bill—only ten Labour MPs voted against it.
The only solution for Palestine is a single, democratic state with equal rights for Palestinians and Jews. To win that means standing with the Palestinian resistance—and against our own rulers.
Union leaders have been silent