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Palestinian city of Jenin feels ‘collective punishment’

View of the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on April 12, 2022.

The Jenin refugee camp is eerily quiet. The Palestinian armed groups, powerful in these alleys, are hiding. The Ramadan fast baffles the locals. Waiting for the Israeli soldiers wears out their nerves. For the past week, the army has been conducting almost daily raids in the large city in the north of the West Bank, preferably at dawn and on the outskirts of the camp. She hesitates to get to the heart of this wretched concrete agglomerate, where 33,000 descendants of Nakba refugees huddle together, the forced displacement of 700,000 Palestinians upon the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The government of Naftali Bennett has given the army carte blanche. They make arrests and “make their presence felt”, following a series of four terrorist attacks that have ravaged Israeli cities since March 22, killing 14 people. Two of the attackers are from the Jenin camp. With one voice, their relatives, the Palestinian Authority and the military find that they acted without orders, without support or networks.

“They are normal Palestinians, says the governor of Jenin, Akram Rajoub, angry Palestinians, who felt humiliated by Israel and responded to the military’s daily attacks on their communities. † Between 1er According to the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), soldiers killed 18 civilians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in January and the March 22 attack. Three of them carried out isolated attacks on Israelis.

Akram Rajoub, Governor of Jenin (West Bank), 12 April 2022.

A city “under siege”

mr. Rajoub confirms that his city is today “under siege”victim of a “collective punishment”what he equates to “terrorism.” The military has partially closed the border crossing connecting the territories occupied since 1967 with Arab cities in northern Israel. It closes around the holes in the wall enclosing the West Bank. Usually, nearly 20,000 Jenin residents come every day to work illegally in Israel.

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The Israeli authorities are issuing passes to legal workers, who are supposed to contribute to the peace. They also allow women and children to pray in holy places in Jerusalem on Fridays – but not for young men. However, Jenin is under special pressure: local merchants and Palestinian tourists who are nationals of Israel are no longer passing through. Usually the latter make the city lively. He misses them very much in this month of Ramadan. Iftar, breaking the fast, is very bleak.

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