Al-Jazeera / July 8, 2023
Sven Kuehn von Burgsdorff said the Israeli military operation on the Jenin refugee camp violated international law.
A European envoy denounced Israel over the “proportionality” of the force it uses as international envoys toured the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank following a deadly raid.
His remarks echoed UN chief Antonio Guterres who on Thursday told reporters “there was an excessive force used by Israeli forces” in its 48-hour operation, the largest Israel has staged in the occupied Palestinian territory for years.
It included air raids and armoured bulldozers ripping up streets.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly referred to the refugee camp as a “terrorist nest” because of the presence of Palestinian armed fighters.
European Union representative to the Palestinian territories Sven Kuehn von Burgsdorff made his comments as he led a delegation of UN officials and diplomats from 25 countries to the camp in the northern occupied West Bank.
“We are concerned about the deployment of weaponry and weapons systems which question the proportionality of the military during the operation,” Kuehn von Burgsdorff said of the operation, in which 12 Palestinians – including five children – were killed.
‘Violation of international law’
More than 140 others were wounded and 30 are in serious condition, according to the Palestinian health ministry. One Israeli soldier was killed during the raid.
“The military assault on Jenin was painful. What happened is a violation of international law,” von Burgsdorff said.
“This cycle of violence has to end, it cannot continue. If there is no political solution to the conflict, we are going to stand here in a week’s time, in a month’s time, in a year’s time, with nothing changed.”
As the delegation toured the camp, residents peered out of holes left in the walls by Israeli rockets, and local authorities tested a new camp-wide alarm system to warn of future raids.
Last Wednesday, three independent human rights experts said the Israeli air attacks and ground actions in Jenin “amount to egregious violations of international law and standards on the use of force and may constitute a war crime”.
UN plea for funds
Jenin camp has been the site of several large-scale raids by the Israeli military this year, but this week’s was the biggest such operation in the occupied West Bank since the second Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, of the early 2000s.
The camp’s infrastructure was severely damaged during the raid.
At least eight kilometres (five miles) of water pipes and three kilometres (1.2 miles) of sewage pipes were destroyed, the UN said. More than 100 houses were damaged and a number of schools were also lightly damaged.
The refugee camp is one of the poorest and most densely populated in the occupied West Bank, with some 18,000 people living in just 0.43 square kilometres.
UN officials on Saturday made a plea for funds to help rebuild the camp.
“To restore services and scale up support to the children, we need cash … our appeal is desperately underfunded,” said Leni Stenseth, deputy commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
“I would urge you to consider announcing your support for the work we are going to do here in Jenin camp in the coming weeks and months as soon as possible.”
On Thursday, Algeria announced $30m to “help rebuild the Palestinian city of Jenin after the barbaric and criminal attack” by Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, which normalized ties with Israel in 2020, said on Wednesday it will provide $15m.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES
EU condemns Israel over excessive force used in Jenin raid
The National / July 8, 2023
UN Chief Antonio Guterres says the operation ‘severely damaged’ the camp’s infrastructure.
Sven Kuehn von Burgsdorff spoke as he led a delegation of UN officials and diplomats from 25 countries to the camp in the occupied West Bank.
“This cycle of violence has to end, it cannot continue,” he said.
“If there is no political solution to the conflict, we are going to stand here in a week’s time, in a month’s time, in a year’s time, with nothing changed.”
The Israeli operation led to the death of 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier.
The comments by Mr Kuehn von Burgsdorff echoed UN Chief Antonio Guterres, who said Israeli forces excessively used force during the 48-hour operation, the most extensive in the Palestinian territory for years.
The operation involved air strikes and armoured bulldozers tearing up streets.
The Jenin camp, housing about 18,000 people in an area of just 0.43 square kilometres, has been the site of numerous large-scale raids by the Israeli military this year.
It saw the largest operation in the occupied West Bank since the second Palestinian “intifada” or uprising in the early 2000s.
This week’s operation in Jenin, which Israel claims was aimed at militants, severely damaged the camp’s infrastructure.
The UN said eight kilometres of water pipes and three kilometres of sewage pipes were destroyed, with more than 100 houses and several schools also damaged.
In the aftermath of the raid, Leni Stenseth, deputy commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), made an urgent plea for funds to help rebuild the camp.
“To restore services and scale up support to the children, we need cash. Our appeal is desperately underfunded,” she said.
Meanwhile, Israel’s UN ambassador Gilad Erdan urged Secretary General Antonio Guterres to retract his condemnation, saying the Israeli military action was solely aimed at tackling “Palestinian terror” targeting innocent Israeli civilians.
Despite this, Mr Guterres maintained his stance, criticizing the operation for its widespread damage, displacement of thousands of residents, and disruption of essential services.
In a briefing to the UN Security Council, Mr Erdan insisted that over the past year, 52 Israelis were killed by Palestinians, and many attacks were orchestrated from Jenin or the surrounding area.
He appealed for an unconditional condemnation of the latest Palestinian attacks and accountability from the Palestinian leadership.
Marwa Galal Hassan is a homepage editor based in London