Jenin’s residents pick up the pieces after Israel’s 72nd raid

Israeli military tanks raided Jenin early Tuesday, restricting movement, affecting businesses and killing several civilians. [Issam Ahmed/TNA]

It was a morning like any other for 48-year-old Allam Jarradat, a teacher in the occupied West Bank, as he made his journey of roughly 10km in the early hours of Tuesday from his village of Silat al-Harithiya north of Jenin to the city’s Waleed Abu Mowais school where he worked. And like many other mornings in the occupied West Bank, it ended with blood and tears.

The Israeli army launched on Tuesday morning what it described as a “counterterrorism operation” on the city, killing at least eight Palestinians and wounding 20 others. According to the Israeli press, the Israeli military said the operation came in the wake of “intelligence information from the Shin Bet indicating the activity of armed terrorists affiliated with the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organisations, and the presence of many terror infrastructures in the area.”

Jarradat, two minors aged 15 and 16, and a surgeon doctor were among those killed by Israel’s latest raid. 

“He was on the way to school, along with a number of other teachers, in a clearly civilian vehicle that imposed no threat whatsoever. The occupation forces targeted his vehicle, and he was immediately killed,” Ezzat Jarradat told The New Arab on Tuesday by phone.

“This was intentional. None of the passengers were dangerous, yet the Israeli fire was heavy and indiscriminate,” said the grieving brother.

Although far from being the first attack on Jenin, the attack drew much attention on social media, with users of X —formerly known as Twitter — heavily circulating images of the corpse of Jarradat surrounded by a group of his mourning students, before he was taken to his resting place. 

According to the brother, Allam’s funeral had a big turnout in their village, testifying to his loved personality.

“Alam was a real teacher, a true model. He was well-mannered, ambitious, hardworking and a family man. He loved everyone and was loved by everyone,” Ezzat said sorrowfully.

“He did his all to provide his two sons with a decent life, including taking up other professions or gigs in the evening to make sure there’s nothing they’d want and he can’t get. He’s left such a massive void,” he noted, voice shaking with emotion. 

“This is our life as Palestinians: we get up every day not knowing if we’ll make it alive or be the next martyr. We live a life with no security, no hope because of the occupation and its settlers,” Ezzat concluded. 

Israel’s 72nd raid on Jenin

According to Mohamed Al-Sabbagh, Chairman of the Popular Committee for Jenin Camp Services, this is assault number 72 on the Jenin camp since the Hamas-led 7 October on southern Israel, which Tel Aviv has been using as a pretext to wage a vindication war on Gaza, accompanied by a surge in assaults on the occupied West Bank.

“Since 7 October, 63 people have been killed in Jenin, and massive infrastructure destruction has been caused,” said Sabbagh, adding that the camp remains under siege by Israeli troops who are firing randomly at residents.

A hotbed of militants and fighters associated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad faction and al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, Jenin is a frequent target of Israeli assaults.

“People in the camp are living under extremely difficult conditions of constant threats and fear,” he said.

On Friday, the Israeli military said a fighter jet and helicopter conducted a strike on the camp, a rare occurrence in the West Bank where at least 513 people have been killed by Israeli gunfire and ground attacks since 7 October.

Many of those wounded in these raids were tended to by Usaiad Jabbareen, a 50-year-old surgeon who was shot dead by a sniper on Tuesday right outside the government hospital of Jenin where he worked, and just after getting out of his car.

“Whoever shot Usaiad clearly saw he was unarmed. But he decided to claim his life, killing him with the same bullets he had saved people from,” Kamal Jabbareen, Usaiad’s uncle, told TNA. “A surgeon for 17 years, his four daughters and son are now orphaned,” added the uncle, “every Palestinian is a target, is at risk. Doctors, children, women, and even babies in their mothers’ wombs”.

“No one is spared,” he concluded.

Killing a child on a bike

15-year-old Mahmoud Hamadna was killed on his way home on his bicycle, leaving a family torn by disbelief, shock and loss. 

“My twin sons, Mahmoud and Muhammad, woke up and went to their school, opposite Jenin public hospital, like any normal day,” said Amjad, the father, next to whom sat a weeping mother unable to speak.

“When I learned of the start of the Israeli military operation, I immediately called Mahmoud who reassured me that he was already inside the school. Ten minutes later, his brother told me that the schools had been evacuated by a decision from the Directorate of Education, and he did not know where his brother was,” recounted the father.

“Following many fruitless attempts to reach Mahmoud, the phone was finally answered, and a doctor told me that Mahmoud was wounded,” said Amjad. 

By the time Amjad ran to the hospital, a run during which Israeli soldiers fired at him, Mahmoud was already killed. 

Accusing the army of deliberately killing his son, Amjad said Mahmoud was hit with four bullets, including one in the leg and the second in the abdomen, heart, and head.

“How could a child be killed on his bicycle in such a brutal way?” he wondered.

Mourning his son, Amjad said “Mahmoud is a loving child who was still dealing with the murder of his best friend Ammar Abu Al-Wafa only months ago by Israeli fire. He has been visiting his grave regularly. Now that he’s gone, I’m asking the same question he asks: how many more of us will Israel kill, and how many more lives will be wrecked?” 

This piece was published in collaboration with Egab.

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