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Netanyahu: Jenin operation targets people who would annihilate Israel

The IDF launched its largest operation in Jenin since the Second Intifada overnight Sunday, with airstrikes and infantry in the northern Samaria city.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak at a Fourth of July event at the US embassy in Jerusalem, July 3, 2023 [Haim Zach | GPO]

The IDF's operation in Jenin is meant to stop terrorist seeking to destroy Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said less than a day after the IDF entered the northern West Bank city on Monday.

“Last night, Israeli soldiers tried to reach undetected the most legitimate target on the planet - people who would annihilate our country,” the prime minister said.

Speaking at the US Embassy’s Fourth of July Party, Netanyahu said this is a day to remember that “freedom is precious and it’s never free. Often, it involves firm and decisive efforts against those who seek to destroy it and pursue terror.”

Netanyahu noted that his brother, Yoni Netanyahu, was killed while saving Israelis on a plane hijacked to Entebbe on July 4, 1976, and IDF soldiers are fighting terror on this Fourth of July, as well.

“In recent months, Jenin has become a safe haven for terrorism, and from that haven came vicious attacks against Israeli men, women and children,” he said. “Israeli soldiers are doing everything to avoid civilian casualties as Israel does everything to exercise its right to self-defense.”

Netanyahu said that the operation "will continue as long as it takes to complete the mission.”

[The Jerusalem Post]

The Israeli government informed the US of its plan to enter Jenin, a senior diplomatic source said on Monday.

Jerusalem told Washington about 10 days ago that it plans to try to root out terrorism from the West Bank city, without saying when it would do so or providing further specific details, the Israeli source said.

“We said that security officials think that we cannot avoid entering Jenin, though we had not yet made an exact decision of how and when we would do it,” the source stated. “We said we would enter for a focused action when we have enough intelligence.”

American interlocutors understood the necessity of the actions, according to the source, who compared it to the US Army fighting ISIS in Iraq or Syria: “Sometimes, you know you can’t wait.”

Israel reportedly put off the action for two years

The source argued that Israel put off the action for two years, but it became necessary: “We tried to avoid it and made an effort to stop the terrorist cells when they got out of the [Jenin refugee] camp. We hoped the Palestinian Authority would take responsibility, but they didn’t.”

“There was no avoiding a more focused operation,” he stated.

“What the Americans care about is stability and de-escalation, and they know, like we do, that the terrorists want to destabilize and escalate,” he stated.

The US State Department said it is “monitoring the situation closely.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also met with US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides on Monday.

The IDF launched its largest operation in Jenin since the Second Intifada overnight Sunday, with airstrikes and infantry in the northern Samaria city. The Palestinian Authority lost security control of Jenin over the past six months, and the city turned into a hub for many recent terrorist attacks. As of Monday morning, the IDF killed seven suspected Palestinian terrorists and wounded dozens.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinians Lynn Hastings tweeted that she is "alarmed by [the] scale of Israeli forces operation in Jenin, occupied West Bank. Airstrikes were used in the densely populated refugee camp. Several dead and critically wounded. Access to all injured must be ensured. [The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory] is mobilizing humanitarian partners to provide assistance."

EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Sven Koopmans tweeted that he is" very concerned about ongoing events in Jenin and following the situation closely. This comes after months of elscalating violence and increasing hopelessness, with the real threat of a major eruption. We call on all parties to protect civilian life and respect humanitarian law."

The UAE "strongly condemned the attacks carried out by the Israeli occupation forces," the Foreign Ministry in Abu Dhabi said.

The UAE "stressed the need to immediately stop the repeated and escalating campaigns against the Palestinian people, and urged the Israeli authorities not to take steps that exacerbate tension in the occupied Palestinian territories."

Egypt condemned the IDF actions in Jenin "in the strongest terms," characterizing it as "random use of force and a flagrant violation of the provisions of international law and international legitimacy, especially international humanitarian law."


(c) 2023, The Jerusalem Post


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