What I saw in Jenin after Israel’s largest West Bank raid in 20 years

By | July 17, 2023

Diana Buttu writes:

As I entered the Jenin refugee camp, a few days after Israel’s deadly assault in early July, I was overcome by the sights and smells—and by my own memories. At the camp’s entrance, garbage was piled high, the first sign of Israel’s destruction of much of the camp’s infrastructure, including its sewage lines. The smell of the garbage rotting in the hot sun, mixed with the open sewage, was overwhelming. But as I walked deeper into the densely populated, built-up camp, the rest of the devastation became more apparent. The Israeli military’s armored D9 bulldozers (built by Caterpillar in the United States) dug up nearly all of the camp’s roads, which were lined with crushed, overturned and shot-up cars. According to local officials, 80 percent of homes have been damaged or destroyed. At one end of the refugee camp stood an unmarked, newly established cemetery with the fresh graves of the 12 Palestinians Israel killed in its incursion. “There isn’t any more room in the old cemetery,” I was told.

I could not help but remember Israel’s 2002 invasion of Jenin, when the Israeli military besieged it for nine days during the Second Intifada, killing 52 Palestinians and destroying an entire district of the camp, making more than 4,000 Palestinian refugees homeless. Then, as now, Israel’s cruelty and dehumanization of Palestinians was apparent in its assault on Jenin, with well-documented evidence of war crimes. For example, two of the victims of Israel’s invasion in 2002 were men in wheelchairs—one waving a white flag who was shot and then run over by Israeli tanks, and a second who was crushed in the rubble of his home after soldiers refused to allow his family the time to remove him from their home before a bulldozer destroyed it. [Continue reading…]

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