Two days of violence continued in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. On Friday night in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian gunman killed at least seven Israelis in his deadliest attack in the city since 2008. Israeli officials described the shooting outside the synagogue as an act of terrorism. Three of his rockets were fired from Gaza early on Friday, and Israeli jets attacked Hamas’ underground bomb-making facility, according to the Israeli military.
The day before, in the occupied Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, Israeli special forces raided an apartment complex and surrounding areas, killing nine Palestinians and wounding 20 others. A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority called it a “genocide.” Israel said the site of the attack housed a terrorist group belonging to the Islamic Jihad group.
In the first month of 2023, at least one Palestinian will be killed on average per day, and the dire rate of deadly violence in the occupied West Bank has doubled last year. is becoming This was already the highest on record since the United Nations began collecting it. data, and double in 2021.
Little is known about the Friday shooter or his motives. He was killed by police after attacking a synagogue.
The cycle of violence escalates when CIA Director Bill Barnes visits Israel and Palestine. Secretary of State Antony Brinken will be there on Monday. “We are committed to working with all parties to de-escalate, prevent further loss of civilian lives and improve the security situation in the West Bank,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement Thursday. We emphasize the urgent need to cooperate with the
But analysts have described an increasingly deadly and precarious situation as a product of seized hopes and other structural factors, exacerbated by the rise of Israel’s far-right government to power earlier this month. At least things aren’t looking to settle down.
The situation for the Palestinians has already deteriorated and will continue to deteriorate, says Myrab Zonzein, an analyst with the International Crisis Group. “The crisis will continue to escalate as the new far-right government promises continued confiscation of Palestinians and expansion of settlements, Palestinian politics is in turmoil and international stakeholders fail to take proactive steps. Likely,” she wrote in the message.
what we know about the attack
An Israeli analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was unusual, if not unprecedented, for Palestinian attackers to respond so quickly to Israeli attacks like Thursday’s in Jenin. It’s too early to draw any big conclusions about the details of each ongoing story, but it’s clear that an already dire situation can turn into something very ugly.
Palestinian militants were killed by police after shooting at least 10 people outside a synagogue in the Israeli settlement of Neve Yaakov in East Jerusalem on Friday night. The situation was still unfolding, and although the militant Palestinian group did not immediately claim credit, police identified the shooter as a 21-year-old resident of East Jerusalem.The attack occurred on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Did. Information about the victim was not immediately shared.
The Jerusalem police chief has promised an “aggressive and serious” pursuit of those who abetted the attackers. to track down and reach out to terrorists in the country,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
A day earlier, an Israeli raid on a Palestinian home in the Jenin refugee camp killed nine people, including an elderly woman named Majida Obaid. “Most of the wounded who arrived at the hospital today were in the head and chest,” read a statement from the Palestinian Ministry of Health quoted by news site Mondweis. “This means that the live ammunition shots on the population were intended to kill.” Israeli forces also blocked ambulance movement with gunfire, hospital director Wissam Baker told Al Jazeera.
Armed Palestinian resistance groups have responded, in part, to the divided nature of Palestinian leaders, lack of opportunities for Palestinians, and a prolonged standstill in negotiations that could lead to a Palestinian sovereign state. It is expanding in the occupied territories, including Jenin. Over the past year, the Israeli military has responded to these new groups, particularly the Lions in his den, with intensive raids with numerous civilian deaths.
Barbara Leaf, a senior Middle East official at the State Department, told reporters on Thursday that the deadly attack in Jenin had dismantled a “threat time bomb, the terrorist threat,” apparently following a call from a senior Israeli military official. Amplified the comment.
In response to the Israeli operation, Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman Mahmoud Abbas said he would cut off security cooperation with the Israeli government. Some experts have pointed out that while that was often Abbas’ point of contention, he did not always follow suit.
Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, referring to Israel’s obligations as an occupying power to protect Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, emphasized “The very alarmingly high rate of apparently extrajudicial killings of Palestinians in 2022 continues into this new year.”
Should we expect more violence under Israel’s new government?
In November, the Israelis elected the most extreme government in the country’s history. More than 80,000 protesters have demonstrated against the new members of the government and their judicial action that undermines the authority of the country’s Supreme Court. Even former defense minister Moshe Yaalon, who was a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s center-right Likud party, called Israel’s new government a “criminal dictatorship.” Within Israel, however, little attention has been paid to the dramatic impact of the radical new coalition on Israel’s Palestinian citizens and Palestinians living under occupation.
“The death toll in the West Bank and now in Jerusalem is actually a perfectly predictable result of the extremist Israeli government spreading violence,” said Democracy Advocacy and Research Organization for the Arab World. Executive Director Sarah Leah Whitson said. now.
The Biden administration has so far refrained from criticizing the government. The Biden administration still insists on a two-state solution and the possibility of an independent Palestinian state, but those negotiations have been frozen since 2014, and most recently Israel has sided with Arab countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco. has established diplomatic relations with , gives the Israeli government little incentive to advance bilateral achievements.
It’s not entirely clear how Secretary of State Brinken will ease tensions between Israel and Palestine during his next visit. The visit’s priorities include “maintaining a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and protecting human rights and democratic values,” all of which appear to risk further delegation.
Career ambassador Tom Pickering, who previously served in Israel, is concerned that the increase in violence could lead to a third intifada, or riot, among Palestinians. likes to say, the bilateral outcome is dead,” he told me. “But the result is becoming stateless”—that is, the status quo that the current Israeli government calls for, and a Palestinian state is no longer a viable possibility.
But the tragic riots of the past two days show that’s not the answer.