The Israeli army has killed 12 Palestinians in the first two weeks of 2023

Yazen Samer Ja'abari (WAFA)

Mariam Barghouti

Mondoweiss  /  January 14, 2023

Israel assassinated two Palestinian resistance fighters in Jenin today, and a third martyr succumbed to wounds sustained two weeks ago, bringing the total number of Palestinian martyrs in 2023 to 12.

Israel has killed 12 Palestinians since the start of the year.

The most recent were three martyrs from Jenin today, January 14. The first two were Izz Eldin Basem Hamamra, 24, and Amjad Adnan Khaliliyeh, 23, whole were killed by Israeli forces as they retreated following conducting a resistance operation against Israeli military targets. They were followed by another Palestinian martyr, 19-year-old Yazan Samer al-Ja’abari, who succumbed to injuries he sustained two weeks ago during an Israeli military assault on the village of Kufr Dan in Jenin.

Seven of the 12 slain Palestinians in 2023 are from Jenin. Five of the martyrs from this week were killed within the same two-day period. Most of the killings were the result of targeted Israeli gunfire to the chest, abdomen, and head.

The martyr of Kufr Dan

From the neighboring town of Yamoun, Al-Ja’abari had been in the neighboring town of Kufr Dan, approximately 5 km northwest of Jenin city.

Kufr Dan has faced relentless settler attacks and assaults by the Israeli military for years. On January 2, Israeli forces invaded the town with the purpose of punitively demolishing two Palestinian homes belonging to the families of two killed Palestinian resistance fighters. Armed and unarmed confrontations with the invading Israeli military ensued. 

Two Palestinian men were killed by the Israeli army, Foad Mahmoud Abed, 18, and Mohammad Samer Hosheyeh, 22, while three others were injured. 

Almost ten days later, on Saturday, January 12, one of those critically injured, Yazan Samer al-Ja’abari, 19, succumbed to his wounds at the Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin city. 

Although not from Kufr Dan, the context of al-Ja’abari’s fatal injury further emphasizes the growth of solidarity and unity amongst Palestinian youth facing Israeli incursions. 

In November of last year, two young brothers — Thafer and Jawwad Rimawi, 19 and 22 respectively — were shot and killed during an Israeli invasion on the village of Kufr Ein near Ramallah. Although the two men are originally from the neighboring village of Beit Rima, they had still joined to protect against the invasion of the Israeli military to their neighboring town. 

The two martyrs that followed

“He is so compassionate,” Hamamra’s mother said to local journalists as she cried over the killing of her son. “He would never leave the house if I am upset,” she said in a pained voice.

The trail of blood outside the car remained hours after the killing of Izz Eldin Hamamra and Amjad Khaliliyeh.

According to local reports, as well as statements from the Israeli military, the two men had been driving in a white Toyota when Israeli forces opened fire on their car on the Jaba’ route, approximately 8 km southwest of Jenin. 

According to reports by the Israeli military, later confirmed by Palestinian political groups, the two men carried out an armed operation against Israeli military targets near Jaba’. After one of the men sustained injuries, they withdrew from the scene, only to be chased by Israeli forces, who riddled their car with bullets.

According to local reports, Israeli forces had erected a checkpoint near the town’s entrance in the early morning hours while confrontations persisted with townspeople. Last year, every one in five Palestinians killed was a Palestinian from Jenin. In 2022, Israel’s military campaign against Palestinian armed resistance groups, dubbed Operation Break the Wave, claimed the lives of 59 Palestinian martyrs in Jenin alone.

Al-Quds Brigades (Saraya al-Quds in Arabic, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad) hailed the two slain resistance fighters, noting in a statement that the 23-year-old Khaliliyeh had been in charge of their engineering unit, while Hamamra had been a militant in the armed resistance group. 

Hamamra and Khaliliyeh’s funeral procession was held in the late afternoon. The slain resistance fighters were carried by their community members and fellow resistance fighters.

Mariam Barghouti is the Senior Palestine Correspondent for Mondoweiss