Mondoweiss / October 21, 2022
Operation Break the Wave continues to take the lives of resistance fighters, and now the campaign of extra-judicial assassination has expanded from Nablus to Jenin.
On Thursday, October 20, Israeli forces raided the northern West Bank city of Jenin, killing 19-year-old Salah al-Buraiki, and arresting Bara’a Alawneh in a raid on Jenin refugee camp. Alawneh is the cousin of Ahmad Alawneh, the 26-year-old fighter that was killed by the Israeli military on September 28 in another invasion of the camp.
Al-Buraiki’s death brings the number of Palestinians killed in the past ten months to around 175. Another Palestinian teen succumbed to wounds sustained during the invasion and others were injured with bullet wounds.
On the same day that Alawneh was killed, 16-year-old Mohammad Fadi Naouri was injured with a live bullet in the abdomen during confrontations at the military checkpoint of the illegal settlement of Beit El, near Ramallah. Naouri, a student in the 11th grade, succumbed to his wounds on Thursday morning.
Break the Wave targets Palestinian defiance
According to Israel, Buraiki and Alawneh belonged to Islamic Jihad, the political faction which was the target of Israel’s military assault on Gaza in the month of August, dubbed Operation Breaking Dawn. The week-long attack killed 49 Palestinians in Gaza alone.
However, under a large-scale campaign dubbed Operation Break the Wave, Israel is not only targeting members of certain factions, but any semblance of confrontation to its colonization of Palestine. Intensifying its use of live ammunition, Israel loosened its shoot-to-kill policy last year. According to data collected by Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, most injuries by live ammunition this year were in Nablus, followed by Jenin and Ramallah.
This suggests that, through Break the Wave, Israel has been targeting anyone that stands in the way of its territorial and political expansion, even journalists like Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed with a bullet to the neck on May 11 of this year in Jenin. Her killing was followed by the common practice of Israeli soldiers in interrupting the funeral processions of slain Palestinians, where Abu Akleh’s mourners were beaten, and her casket attacked.
Al-Buraiki’s killing on Thursday also came at the same time that the United Nations Commission of Inquiry found that the Israeli occupation of Palestinians is illegal under international law. This means that Palestinian resistance fighters that are being targeted are practicing a right enshrined under international law to resist an illegal military occupation. Thus, their assassination for participating in this legitimate form of resistance is in reality a pre-meditated extra-judicial killing.
During Al-Buraiki’s funeral procession on Friday, Palestinians also chanted and called for immediate international intervention to hold Israel accountable. Yet amid the violence aimed to deter Palestinians from confrontation, resistance seems to only be gaining momentum. This comes in light of a climate of international hesitation, as well as complicity in the perpetuation of abuses against Palestinians.
Settler-military collusion in attacking Palestinians
While the Israeli military continues to threaten Palestinian resistance with assassinations, settler invasions and military operations are escalating in civilian cities and towns — a practice which long preceded the rise of organized armed groups in Jenin and Nablus this year.
Amid Israel’s targeting of resistance in the West Bank, Jerusalem is facing a brutal crackdown. Almost half the total number of arrests this year by Israeli forces were of Jerusalem youth and residents, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society.
The raid on Jenin came days after Israeli settlers intensified their attack on the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah — the town which sparked last year’s Unity Uprising. Just a day after Al-Buraiki’s killing, on Friday, October 21, Israeli settlers invaded the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and attacked Palestinians, ripping the Palestinian flag in the process. Right-wing Kahanist law-maker Itamar Ben-Gvir led the invasion into the neighborhood, pulling out his handgun and commanding that “if they throw stones, shoot them.”
In addition, Israeli forces and settlers have witnessed settler attacks on farmers and activists engaged in olive picking, as the olive harvest season in Palestine starts.
Even though the findings of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry echoes similar investigations and findings by independent organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and despite the confirmation of international organizations and institutions of what Palestinians have been echoing for decades regarding the Israeli occupation, there is no international accountability to end these abuses. Yet despite this lack of international support and the rising number of Palestinians being killed by Israeli settlers and military, there is a continued uprising persisting in Palestine to confront and stop the occupation.
On Friday afternoon, at Naouri’s funeral near Ramallah, the 11th-grader’s mother remembers some of her son’s final words as she laid him to rest, “He spoke to me the day he was killed and told me he was going to the checkpoint,” his mother said to journalists. Still grieving, she continued: “I said no, but he insisted and told me that if we don’t liberate Palestine then who will?”
Mariam Barghouti is the Senior Palestine Correspondent for Mondoweiss