OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Making sense of the Jenin raid

There are two things that can be done to improve the situation in the region.

Armed Palestinians march after an Israeli military operation in Jenin, July 5, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Armed Palestinians march after an Israeli military operation in Jenin, July 5, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Shoshana Bryen
Shoshana Bryen
Shoshana Bryen is senior director of the Jewish Policy Center and editor of inFOCUS Quarterly.

Israel’s military operation in Jenin has ended and the IDF has withdrawn from the Palestinian town. Even Haaretz journalist Amos Harel almost acknowledged that Israel avoided Palestinian civilian casualties, although the IDF entered a densely populated area of the city. However, he did not note that the reason the IDF was there was because terrorists deliberately located themselves in the heart of this area.

Harel also suggested a sort of “tit for tat” aspect to the Palestinian response: “There was a stabbing attack in Bnei Brak and a vehicular ramming and stabbing attack in Tel Aviv.”

Indeed, the headline of the piece was “Macabre Dance will Persist.”

So, for Harel this is a “dance.” Palestinian terrorists attempt to kill Israeli civilians while burrowed in among their own civilians—two war crimes in one—and this is the same thing as the IDF’s attempt to eliminate the source of this terror.

Harel is not alone in his view. As you watch and read media coverage of the Jenin raid—especially in The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC and Al Jazeera—remember that this is not Israel’s first incursion into Jenin.

During the so-called “Second Intifada,” Israel took the initiative and removed terrorist emplacements in the city. Western media reported Palestinian claims of 1,000 civilians killed and buried in mass graves as fact. But eventually, Western reporters proved that “about 50 Palestinians had fought and died in a ferocious battle that also cost the lives of 23 Israeli soldiers.”

With that in mind, note a recent New York Times headline: “Jenin Has a Long Legacy as a Bastion of Palestinian Armed Struggle.” The town, the article said, has “nurtured an ethos of defiance.”

Here is what that “ethos of defiance” has cost in terms of Israeli civilian lives since January: Twenty-four citizens and one worker from Gaza between six and 80 years of age, including two children under 10, five teens and four people over 50. Seven at bus stops or gas stations and seven others while driving. Seven leaving a Shabbat service. Two walking in Tel Aviv. One in her apartment and one working in a field.

It was not an “ethos of defiance” that killed them. It was a manifestation of Palestinian cowardice that cheers the deaths of civilians and thinks that Israel will give up and go away. When Palestinian children are killed, it is also a manifestation of Palestinian cowardice, as terrorists hide behind their own kids and wait for the cameras before they cry.

But a BBC news anchor told former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that “the Israeli forces are happy to kill children.” The BBC later issued a watery apology, saying, “The language used in this line of questioning was not phrased well and was inappropriate.”

In a statement, the Palestinian Authority announced that it “condemns in the strongest terms the barbaric aggression of the occupation against our people in Jenin and its camp” and held the Israeli government responsible. P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas, who just returned from visiting China and Russia, where he absolved Xi Jinping of responsibility for the Uyghur genocide and affirmed his support for Vladimir Putin, took the time to announce for the umpteenth time that he is ending security coordination with Israel.


Abbas hasn’t had control of Judea and Samaria for a long time. Israel knows it and Iran knows it. The battle in these areas is over who will control what when Abbas passes.

Two things can help turn the tide in Israel’s favor and benefit Palestinians who want security, economic advancement and peaceful coexistence—if not peace.

First, a strong statement of support for Israel’s right to self-defense by the United States. Second, Palestinian parents standing up for themselves and their children by refusing to be used as human shields or fodder for Palestinian terrorist organizations.

The Biden administration, despite some nasty slapping at Israel over the past few months about “deescalating” and “behaving,” issued a welcome supportive statement last week, saying, “Israel has the legitimate right to defend its people and its territory against all forms of aggression, including those from terrorist groups. We have seen far too many vivid demonstrations of the terrorist threat that Israel faces in recent days.”

So, after Jenin 2023, Israel will do what it must do to protect its citizens, but the job would be done better if the Palestinians themselves decide to protect their children and build a better future.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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