West Bank dispatch: 24 hours of Operation Breaking Dawn

Ramallah - Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops (WAFA)

Mariam Barghouti

Mondoweiss  /  August 4, 2022

Palestinian resistance factions in the West Bank are warning of reprisals following Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip as popular protests spread across the occupied territory and Palestinian communities inside Israel.

Protests and calls for resistance have spread across the West Bank in the first 24 hours since Israel instigated the latest round of violence with the besieged Gaza Strip.

“Operation Breaking Dawn,”  the latest round of Israeli military strikes on Gaza was intended to target a senior Palestinian Commanding Officer of the Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Tayseer Ja’abari, according to an Israeli military statement.

The Israeli military attack has so far resulted in the killing of more than 15 Palestinians in Gaza, including a five-year-old child. More than 140 others, mostly civilians, were also reported to have been injured in the military aggression on the besieged territory.  Since 2008, Israel has killed more than 5,246 Palestinians in Gaza alone, most of whom are civilians, including children and minors.

In response, Palestinians in Gaza have fired more than 450 rockets. Two Israeli soldiers were reported to have suffered injuries from shrapnel, while two civilians received treatment for minor injuries sustained as they ran for cover at their bomb shelter.

In the West Bank, Palestinian resistance factions are warning of reprisals as popular protests have begun across the occupied territory and within Palestinian communities inside Israel. 

Response from Palestinian armed factions in Jenin

On Saturday night, Saraya al-Quds, the the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, released a statement on behalf of Palestinian armed resistance factions in Jenin Refugee Camp saying the armed brigades (Al-Aqsa, Abu Ali Mustafa, and Al-Qassam) vowed a collective response against Israeli “foolishness” in assaulting Gaza.

“We warn the occupation from committing additional foolishness, and inform that settler roads will be under resistance fire,” the armed resistance group said from the camp. “From this moment, settlers are not permitted to travel through the streets of the West Bank.”

Jenin refugee camp is also where Israeli military forces shot and killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in May as she covered developments in the camp. Between January and April of this year, Israeli forces killed 15 Palestinians in the camp. On August 3, Israeli forces continued its armed raids on Jenin refugee camp, killing 17-year-old Dirar al-Kafrayni.

West Bank protests and raids

In light of the intensification of Israeli assaults on Palestinians across Palestine, and in protest of the crimes happening against the Palestinian population besieged in Gaza, Palestinians in Ramallah had went out to the streets chanting “Gaza, we are with you.”

During the early hours of Saturday, Israeli military forces raided areas in the West Bank, namely Jenin, Hebron, Tubas, and Ramallah (Beit Sira and Qalandia refugee camp). In the process, 22 Palestinian men were arrested, including Palestinian journalist Ibrahim Abu Saffiyeh, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society. Most of the detainees were former political prisoners held by Israel, including Rami al-Kassar, who had previously spent 15 consecutive years in Israeli political detention.

Protests have also been called on by Palestinians with Israeli citizenship in the cities of Haifa, Umm al-Fahem, and Tel-Aviv. However, the number of protesters was low. This may be due to the brutality witnessed by Israeli forces and settlers during last year’s Unity Intifada, where Palestinians were chased by settlers and Israeli security forces in civilian clothing chanting “Death to Arabs.”

At approximately 6:00 PM, today, Palestinians in Ramallah went out to protest against the assault and in solidarity with Palestinian political detainees held in Israeli prisons. In a similar fashion, dozens of Palestinians and anti-apartheid Israeli activists protested by Jaffa’s old Clock Square chanting, “we were not born to be humiliated, we are born to live free.” 

Palestinians on the ground in different cities seem to be sharing a similar sentiment. The emphasis is that escalations of Israel’s military use of force against Palestinians in Gaza should not be separated from the intensification of attacks by settlers and the Israeli military in the continued dispossession and displacement of Palestinians in West Bank as well as those with Israeli citizenship.

Palestinian Authority response

In the hours following the extra-judicial assassination of Ja’abari, on August 5 the Palestinian presidential office released a statement condemning the Israeli aggression on Gaza and demanding its immediate suspension. The statement also blamed the Israeli occupation for any potential dangerous escalations.

The presidential statement further called on the international community to ensure that Israel stops the aggression on Palestinians generally, and in Gaza specifically, providing them with international protection.

The Palestinian PM, Mohammad Shtayyeh, also released a statement which he honored the Palestinians killed and pointed shamefully towards the Israeli occupation that persists in targeting Palestinians in Gaza.  The Palestinian president and PM have not yet made any public appearances.

In addition to this, Ahmad Tamimi, member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee condemned the assault and called on “national and Islamic Palestinian factions to unify in light of the demands of this moment, that is to block this assault.” His statement noted, “the basis of this mobilization should be national unity and placing all energies to achieve it.”

Mariam Barghouti is the Senior Palestine Correspondent for Mondoweiss