Middle East Monitor / January 30, 2023
As part of the punitive measures announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, the occupation army has deployed more troops across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. i24 news said that “several” battalions have been deployed as part of Netanyahu’s “plans to beef up Jewish settlements” in the occupied Palestinian territories.
New Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi ordered the reinforcements in case of any possible escalation in violence. Israel ramped up the tension last week with an armed raid of Jenin refugee camp during which it killed ten Palestinians and wounded dozens more. In apparent response, Palestinians then carried out two shootings in Jerusalem, killing seven Jewish settlers and wounding several others.
In addition to strengthening illegal Jewish settlements, according to NPR news website the Israeli cabinet also decided to make it easier for Jewish settlers to get gun licences.
“Our response will be strong, swift and precise. Whoever tries to harm us, we will harm them and everyone who assists them,” Netanyahu told Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “This government will act against terrorism with vigour, determination and strength. We will do so calmly and with resolve. While we are not seeking escalation, we are prepared for any scenario.”
Although the right-wing prime minister used the word “terrorism”, Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation is legitimate under international law. It is disingenuous to describe it as “terrorism”.
Israeli settlers, meanwhile, continue their attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, often with police and army protection. Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said that the force is asking Israelis to “report any suspicious” Palestinian or object to the police hotline. Action is not planned against the settlers.
All of Israel’s settlers and settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law.