Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinian men and wounded and arrested several others in violent raids in a refugee camp in Jenin in West Bank on Monday, August 16. The Israeli soldiers raided the camp just as the residents clashed with members of the Musta’ribeen, an undercover unit posing as Palestinians to infiltrate them. Israeli security forces reportedly opened fire and used stun grenades and tear gas on the Palestinians.
The four young men killed are Saleh Omar, 19; Raed Abu Saif, 21; Nour el-din Abdullah Jarrar, 19; and Amjad Iyad Azmi Husseini, 20. According to Wissam Abu Bakr, the head of the Jenin Government hospital, Omar, who was shot in the head, and Saif, who was shot in the chest, were declared dead shortly after being brought to the hospital. He also said that four other Palestinians received treatment for injuries inflicted during the raid and subsequent clashes. Two Palestinians were also reportedly arrested later by the Israeli forces.
Israeli forces, in a statement, claimed that Palestinians had “opened fire” at them, forcing them to respond. However, none of the Israeli troops involved in the violent raids sustained any injuries during the clashes. Later, local Palestinian medical sources also accused the Israeli forces of preventing them from reaching the wounded to give them medical help.
According to the news reports, Jenin and Beita have witnessed regular demonstrations since May against an illegal Israeli army outpost next to the recently evacuated illegal Israeli settlement of Eviatar. The settlement was vacated in July as it was constructed without Israeli government approval. However, the soldiers remain stationed at the outpost, raising concerns that the authorities will retroactively approve the settlement.
More than half a million Israeli settlers already reside in the occupied West Bank in illegal settlements constructed on confiscated Palestinian land, leading to the displacement of thousands. The building of settlements is a crime under international law and is considered illegal by the international community, which has repeatedly urged the Israeli government to end all settler activities.
The head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in Jenin, Muntaser Sammour, later revealed that the Israeli forces illegally confiscated the bodies of the two other men killed yesterday, Jarrar and Husseini, in flagrant violation of international law. As per the Geneva convention, “parties of an armed conflict must bury each other’s dead honorably.” However, Israel withholds the bodies of Palestinians as a form of collective punishment, taking away from their families the chance of bidding their loved ones goodbye and holding their funeral as per their religion.
Several Palestinian political parties condemned the killings of the four Palestinians while also calling upon the international community to pressure Israel to end such senseless killings. In a statement, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said that “the Palestinian people and their factions will continue to resist this illegal and criminal occupation by any means. When you are occupied, you have the right to resist your occupier and oppressor by all available means.” DFLP also urged all Palestinians to unite to resist the occupation forces and urged them to stop placing “failed bets on the so-called peace process.”
Others such as the Palestinian People’s Party, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah denounced the killings and called for increased and steadfast resistance to the Israeli occupation’s crimes and human rights violations.