Israeli Security Force Activity in Jenin and Initial Reactions As of 1 p.m., July 3, 2023

The headquarters attacked by the IDF, located not far from an UNRWA school (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).

The headquarters attacked by the IDF, located not far from an UNRWA school (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).

IDF activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).

IDF activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).

IDF activity in the Jenin refugee camp (Wafa, July 3, 2023).

IDF activity in the Jenin refugee camp (Wafa, July 3, 2023).

IDF activity in the Jenin refugee camp (Wafa, July 3, 2023).

IDF activity in the Jenin refugee camp (Wafa, July 3, 2023).

Smoke rises over the Jenin refugee camp after IDF attacks (Wafa, July 3, 2023).

Smoke rises over the Jenin refugee camp after IDF attacks (Wafa, July 3, 2023).

Smoke rises over the Jenin refugee camp after IDF attacks (Wafa, July 3, 2023).

Smoke rises over the Jenin refugee camp after IDF attacks (Wafa, July 3, 2023).

Armed terrorist operatives in Jenin (@qudsfeel Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).

Armed terrorist operatives in Jenin (@qudsfeel Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).

Palestinian medical team arrives in the Jenin refugee camp to treat wounded Palestinians (Wafa, July 3, 2023).

Palestinian medical team arrives in the Jenin refugee camp to treat wounded Palestinians (Wafa, July 3, 2023).

Overview
  • At approximately 1 a.m. on July 3, 2023, Israeli security forces began a military activity in Jenin and the Jenin refugee camp. It started with aerial attacks on terrorist targets, including the joint operations room used by the military-terrorist wings of the Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Jenin refugee camp as a base for terrorist activities and attacks. During the aerial attacks a large ground force entered the city accompanied by engineering vehicles. Several dozen Palestinians were detained by Israeli security forces on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity.
  • About two and a half hours after the activity began the Jerusalem Brigades’, the military-terrorist wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) declared the Palestinian name for the activity would be “Jenin’s great might.” They called on Palestinians in all the cities, villages and refugee camps, especially those near Jenin, to clash with the Israeli security forces and support Jenin and its fighters in all the arenas. The Palestinian organizations’ joint operations room in the Gaza Strip announced it was on alert. The joint operations room and organizations’ leaders threatened they would expand their responses to the events in Jenin, hinting at possible rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. However, daily life continued in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and thousands of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria left to work in Israel. As of noon, the ministry of health in Ramallah announced the deaths of eight Palestinians.
  • It is the most extensive activity carried out by Israeli security forces in the Jenin region since Operation Defensive Shield during the second intifada in 2002. The current activity focuses on the city of Jenin and the Jenin refugee camp, which for close to two years has been a center of anti-Israeli terrorism and the base for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces. The current activity is being carried out after IEDs were used to attack an IDF convoy on June 19, 2023, and an attempt to fire a rocket into Israeli territory on June 26, 2023, escalating the terrorist activity from the Jenin area.[1]
The Israeli Security Force Activity
  •  At around 1 a.m. on July 3, 2023, Israeli security forces began a military activity in Jenin and the Jenin refugee camp. Its objective, according to the IDF spokesman, was to take extensive countermeasures and remove the threat of Palestinian terrorism from Judea and Samaria. The activity began with aerial attacks on terrorist targets, including a headquarters which served as the joint operations room of the military wings of the Palestinian terrorist organizations and the Jenin Battalion. According to the IDF spokesman, the joint operations room was used for surveillance, a place for armed operatives to gather before and after terrorist attacks, as a site for receiving weapons and IEDs, and as a communications center. It was also used to shelter wanted terrorists (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).
The headquarters attacked by the IDF, located not far from an UNRWA school (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).
The headquarters attacked by the IDF, located not far from an UNRWA school
(IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).
  • Israeli Air Force UAVs continued attacking targets in Jenin, including armed terrorist operatives and terrorist networks; a full-sized container of IEDs was also attacked. In the meantime, large numbers of ground forces entered, accompanied by armored and engineering vehicles. The forces surrounded the refugee camp, and as soon as the Palestinians identified them heavy firefights broke out between the security forces and local residents. Other Palestinians set fire to tires to block the main streets and prevent the Israeli forces from entering. During the activity an improvised rocket launcher and stores of  weapons  were found.
IDF activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).    IDF activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).
IDF activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).
Apartment with many IEDs located during the activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).      Apartment with many IEDs located during the activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).
Apartment with many IEDs located during the activity in Jenin
(IDF spokesman, July 3, 2023).
  • The IDF spokesman said the activity was an attack on terrorist concentrations in the Jenin refugee camp and the IDF did not intend to take control of the camp or operate against the PA or its security services, with which the Israelis were trying to coordinate (Israeli media, July 3, 2023).
Weapons located during the IDF activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman's Twitter account, July 3, 2023).    Weapons located during the IDF activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman's Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
Weapons located during the IDF activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman's Twitter account, July 3, 2023).     Weapons located during the IDF activity in Jenin (IDF spokesman's Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
Weapons located during the IDF activity in Jenin
(IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
Palestinian Reactions
Reactions on the ground
  • Almost as soon as the activity began the Palestinian media opened dedicated broadcasting stations to cover the events in real time, including reports from the fighting arena and commentary. Correspondents in Jenin said they heard explosions as the IDF attacked from the air and gunfire from the ground, as well as the sirens of ambulances driving towards hospitals, and noted the great difficulties encountered by rescue forces trying to reach the wounded. They also reported a wave of detentions. The mosque loudspeakers were used to transmit information to armed operatives and the general population.
IDF activity in the Jenin refugee camp (Wafa, July 3, 2023).    IDF activity in the Jenin refugee camp (Wafa, July 3, 2023).
IDF activity in the Jenin refugee camp (Wafa, July 3, 2023).
Smoke rises over the Jenin refugee camp after IDF attacks (Wafa, July 3, 2023).    Smoke rises over the Jenin refugee camp after IDF attacks (Wafa, July 3, 2023).
Smoke rises over the Jenin refugee camp after IDF attacks (Wafa, July 3, 2023).
  • Jenin Battalion operatives, who belong to the Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing, and to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (AAMB), announced the activity would be called “Jenin’s Great Might” against the Israeli security forces (Jenin Battalion Telegram channel, July 3, 2023; AAMB Telegram channel, July 3, 2023). The Jenin Battalion reported that its engineering unit had detonated several IEDs in attacks on IDF vehicles and had put several vehicles and bulldozers out of commission. The Jenin Battalion also claimed it had intercepted and taken control of two UAVs. Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades operatives announced they had participated in the fighting and detonated several IEDs to attack IDF vehicles (Lion’s Den Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).
Palestinian press representatives near the center of the clashes with IDF forces (Wafa, July 3, 2023).    Palestinians block one of the entrances to the Jenin refugee camp and clash with IDF forces.
Right: Palestinians block one of the entrances to the Jenin refugee camp and clash with IDF forces. Left: Palestinian press representatives near the center of the clashes with IDF forces (Wafa, July 3, 2023).
Armed terrorist operatives in Jenin (@qudsfeel Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).    Armed terrorist operatives in Jenin (@qudsfeel Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).
Armed terrorist operatives in Jenin (@qudsfeel Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).
A UAV the Palestinians claimed to have intercepted (Green Jenin Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).    UAVs in the skies over Jenin (Wafa Facebook page ,July 3, 2023).
UAVs in the skies over Jenin (Wafa Facebook page ,July 3, 2023). Left: A UAV the Palestinians claimed to have intercepted (Green Jenin Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).
  • The Palestinian organizations’ joint operations room in the Gaza Strip announced it was on alert and monitoring “the barbaric aggression” against Jenin, declaring that the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] in all the arenas would not allow Israel to attack the Palestinians in Jenin or isolate them. They called on all the [terrorist] organizations in Jenin and the refugee camps, those nearby, to clash with Israel in support of Jenin, claiming that the ongoing aggression against Jenin and Israel’s conduct would determine the nature of the response. “resistance” fighters in all the arenas were called on to prepare to respond if Israel decided to continue its aggression (Palestinian organizations’ joint operations room Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).
  • According to Hamas’ al-Risalah, the PA security services in Jenin detained two commanders from the Jaba Battalion (near Tubas), one of them its founder. They were detained en route to help the Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp (al-Risalah, July 3, 2023). The detentions were criticized in the Palestinian social networks, as was the collaboration of the PA security services with the Israeli security forces (Shehab Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
A Palestinian criticizes the detentions carried out by the Palestinian security services (Shehab Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
A Palestinian criticizes the detentions carried out by the Palestinian security services
(Shehab Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
  • The PIJ rushed to issue a statement claiming the “aggression against Jenin” would not achieve its goals. Jenin, according to the statement, would continue as the shining light of the Palestinians’ firm stance, and all options were open to strike at Israel in response to its aggression (PIJ political bureau Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).
  • PIJ senior figure Da’ud Shehab said the organization’s leadership was following the developments and as long as aggression continued “the possibilities for a response were broad and comprehensive.” He said the aerial attacks reflected Israel’s failure to enter the refugee camp, thanks to the “fierceness of the resistance heroes” (PIJ political bureau Telegram channel, July 3, 2023). He also said the “unity of the arenas” was not a passing phenomenon but rather an aspect of their combat theory, and promised Jenin would not be alone on the battlefield (al-Mayadeen, July 3, 2023).
  • PIJ senior figure Khader Habib said Israel was trying to rehabilitate its defeated army and Israeli public opinion after recent events in Jenin had severely damaged them. He also said Israel was trying to shatter the “resistance” strongholds in Judea and Samaria, but Israel would fail because there was a consensus regarding the “resistance” (al-‘Ahed, July 3, 2023).
  • Nasser Abu Sharif, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau and the organization’s representative in Iran, said the “resistance” would not allow Israel to isolate Jenin and its refugee camp. He called on the “resistance” and Palestinian forces in all locations to declare an enlistment and general confrontation with Israel in all the arenas in all ways and with all available means. He accused the international community and human rights institutions of full responsibility for the “barbaric crime” against Jenin (PIJ website, July 3, 2023).
Hamas
  • Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, called on the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to stand with Jenin and defend its people and defeat “the enemy’s plans.” He said the blood shed on the soil of Jenin was what would determine the nature of the next stage, and the Palestinians and their “resistance fighter,” wherever they were located, were prepared to respond to the “barbaric aggression” (Hamas Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).
  • Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the “extensive aggression against Jenin” would not achieve its objectives and Israel would fail. He said the government of Israel would be responsible for the consequences of the “aggression” against Jenin, and that Israel would not win the battle against the “resistance” and Palestinian people, who would continue fighting until they achieved freedom and independence. Jenin, he said, with all “Palestine,” would continue the revolution and intifada (Hamas Telegram channel, July 3, 2023).
  • Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said Israel’s aggression against Jenin would only make the fire under the army and the settlers burn brighter. He said Jenin did not stand alone, the Palestinian people and the “resistance” stood with it, and the blood of the shaheeds in Jenin would fuel the continuation of the battle (Felesteen, July 3, 2023).
  • Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas “overseas” leadership, called on the Palestinian “resistance” organizations wherever they were, inside “Palestine” and beyond, to help the Jenin refugee camp and not allow the Israeli security forces to isolate it. He said he had faith in the “resistance” leadership’s ability to take all measures it thought necessary to wage the battle for the sake of the Palestinians and their just cause (Hamas website, July 3, 2023).
Israeli-Palestinian whack-a-mole (Alaa' al-Laqta's Facebook page, July 3, 2023).
Israeli-Palestinian whack-a-mole (Alaa’ al-Laqta’s Facebook page, July 3, 2023).
The Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas’ office, called the activities of the “Israeli occupation” in Jenin “a new war crime against our defenseless [sic] people.” He said the Palestinian people would not surrender and would stand firm in the face of aggression. He called on the international community to end its silence, force Israel to stop its aggression against the Palestinian people and prosecute Israel for its crimes (Wafa, July 3, 2023).
  • PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh related to the activity in Jenin during the weekly Palestinian government meeting, calling it a new attempt to “destroy” the Jenin refugee camp and exile its residents. He said the camp stood firm against Israel and the Palestinians would resist the aggression taking place under the international community’s nose (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, July 3, 2023).
  • Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, spoke “urgently” with Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian foreign minister, to discuss the developments in Jenin and a joint Arab-international effort to stop Israel’s aggression. He added that the ongoing aggression would drag the entire Middle East into a vortex of violence and instability (Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
Palestinian Fatalities
  • As of 1 p.m. the ministry of health in Ramallah reported eight Palestinian fatalities and 50 wounded, ten of the critically (ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook page, July 3, 2023).
Palestinian medical team arrives in the Jenin refugee camp to treat wounded Palestinians (Wafa, July 3, 2023).
Palestinian medical team arrives in the Jenin refugee camp to treat wounded Palestinians (Wafa, July 3, 2023).
  • So far the names of five of the fatalities and initial information about them have been published:
    • Samih Firas Abu al-Wafa: 21 years old (Wafa, July 3, 2023). He was an AAMB operative. Fatah reported he was one of its operatives. He was the son of Firas Abu al-Wafa, Fatah spokesman in Jenin (Telegram channel of Awda TV, Fatah’s media information and cultural commission, July 3, 2023).
(Right: Awda, the Telegram channel of Fatah's media information and cultural commission, July 3, 2023). Left: Samih Firas Abu al-Wafa's Facebook page, June 6, 2023).
(Right: Awda, the Telegram channel of Fatah’s media information and cultural commission, July 3, 2023). Left: Samih Firas Abu al-Wafa’s Facebook page, June 6, 2023).
    • Husam Muhammad Abu Deibeh: 18 years old. Fatah reported he was one of its operatives (Telegram channel of Awda TV, Fatah’s media information and cultural commission, July 3, 2023).
Husam Muhammad Abu Deibeh (Twitter account of journalist Firas Taneineh, July 3, 2023).
Husam Muhammad Abu Deibeh (Twitter account of journalist Firas Taneineh, July 3, 2023).
  • Aws Hani Hanoun: So far, no information about him has been published
Aws Hani Hanoun (Paldf Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
Aws Hani Hanoun (Paldf Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
  • Nur al-Din Husam Marshoud: 16 years old (Palestinian TV Facebook page, July 3, 2023).
  • Muhammad Muhannad Shami Turkman (Wafa, July 3, 2023): Nephew of Usama Sabah, a Jerusalem Brigades operative killed in a clash with IDF forces in the village of Burqin on September 26, 2021 (@jalestinian2 Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
Muhammad Muhannad Shami Turkman (Musa Turkman's Facebook page, July 3, 2023).
Muhammad Muhannad Shami Turkman (Musa Turkman’s Facebook page, July 3, 2023).
Other reactions
  • Lynn Hastings, deputy special coordinator for the Middle East peace process and United Nations resident coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, said she was worried by the extent of the IDF activity in Jenin, and stressed access to all the dead and wounded had to be ensured (Lynn Hastings’ Twitter account, July 3, 2023).
  • Egypt noted its objection to the repeated Israeli attacks on the Palestinian cities, which caused “innocent victims” through the use of excessive, indiscriminate force and violated international law and international legitimacy. Egypt warned of the risk of escalation and igniting the region (Egyptian foreign ministry Facebook page, July 3, 2023).
  • The Arab League condemned Israel’s “aggression” and called on the international community and UN to hurry and provide protection for the Palestinian people (al-Dustour, July 3, 2023).

[1] For further information see the June 26, 2023, report, "Israeli Security Force Activity in Jenin, June 19, 2023."