Israeli forces launch airstrike on Nour Shams refugee camp in the West Bank

Military operations conducted by Israeli forces in the West Bank have intensified in recent years and often violate agreements on security coordination with the Palestinian Authority

July 02, 2024 by Aseel Saleh
Israeli forces carried out an aerial attack on Nour Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm. Photo: ISM

Israeli occupation forces killed a Palestinian child and woman in a drone strike on Nour Shams refugee camp near Tulkarm on Monday July 1. Palestinian media also reported that four others were injured in the West Bank attack targeting a house.

The strike was launched as part of a large-scale Israeli operation on Nour Shams camp that started on Sunday June 30. As part of the operation, Israeli occupation forces imposed a strict siege on the camp, deploying snipers on the rooftops of buildings, and raiding the streets with tanks and bulldozers that caused massive destruction to infrastructure, and public and private property.

The occupation forces had previously bombed another house in Nour Shams with a drone on Sunday afternoon, killing 24-year-old Saeed Izzat Jaber, identified as one of the commanders and founders of Tulkarm Brigade. Five others were injured in the attack.

Jaber had been previously targeted by Israeli occupation forces in several unsuccessful assassination attempts, along with other Palestinian resistance fighters in the Tulkarm Brigade, affiliated to Saraya Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.

Nour Shams had been also attacked by the occupation forces in April, in a military operation that lasted for three days, and left 14 people killed.

The year 2023 was no less brutal for Nour Shams with multiple military operations launched by the occupation forces, in which dozens of Palestinians were killed including children. Jenin refugee camp was also subjected to extensive military operations multiple times in 2023 and 2024.

Israeli forces on the back foot in West Bank

The last two years have witnessed an increase of Israeli occupation forces’ airstrikes in the West Bank in areas densely-populated with civilians. These aerial attacks have been registered especially in the northern parts of the West Bank, where the occupation forces has been unable to exterminate emerging Palestinian armed resistance groups, including the Tulkarm Brigade, Jenin Brigade, Tulkarm-based Rapid Response Brigade, Jenin-based Jabaa Brigade, Tubas Brigade, and Nablus-based Balata Brigade and the Lions’ Den Brigade.

The Israeli occupation faces more challenges than before in imposing its control on the northern West Bank with the emergence of these groups over the past several years. Some of which have developed its combat capabilities and weaponry, particularly, explosive devices, which have caused considerable damage to scores of Israeli vehicles while they carry out illegal raids across the occupied West Bank.

Armed resistance attacks have been also taking place in other parts of the occupied West Bank, which Israeli media have described as lone wolf attacks. Some of the attacks have even been launched by Palestinian security personnel affiliated to the Palestinian Authority’s security forces.

This would be an indication that a 19-year-old security coordination process between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Occupation, also known as Dayton Mission, has been de-facto deemed void and could soon come to an end, especially with the declining popularity of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority among Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority has been blamed by Palestinians for its inaction regarding Israel’s genocide in Gaza and the flagrant violations committed by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian people in the West Bank. Furthermore, the Palestinian security forces have been found complicit in killing and arresting Palestinian political activists, lawyers, journalists and freedom fighters.

“In the West Bank, Palestinian legal services organization Lawyers for Justice reported that in June and July [2023], at least 20 journalists, political activists and lawyers were arbitrarily arrested on charges of defaming the Palestinian authorities, inciting ethnic strife, and slandering the president,” Amnesty International stated in its 2023 report.

As Israel’s genocide in Gaza rages on, the West Bank too continues to heat up. Since October 7, over 500 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli occupation forces, a two-decade record high. Hundreds have also been wounded in attacks by security forces and settlers. The complacency of the Palestinian Authority in the face of such atrocities has further undermined its position in Palestinian society.