OIC condemns continued Israeli crimes against Palestinians

March 08, 2023
Jenin is a frequent target for arrest raids by the Israeli military.
Jenin is a frequent target for arrest raids by the Israeli military.

JEDDAH/JENIN — The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned the horrific crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces in Jenin camp, which left six Palestinians dead and a number of others wounded.

OIC said the continued acts of violence and intimidation perpetrated by extremist settlers in the Palestinian town of Huwara, which is but an extension of the open Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in blatant violation of international humanitarian law.

OIC said it holds the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the consequences of its continued crimes and aggression, which will increase tension and instability in the region. It called, at the same time, on international actors to intervene in order to stop the Israeli crimes throughout the occupied Palestinian territories, including in Jerusalem, and to provide international protection for the Palestinian people.

The UN Middle East peace envoy on Wednesday urged Israel and the Palestinians to calm surging violence in the occupied West Bank.

“We are in the midst of a cycle of violence that must be stopped immediately,” Tor Wennesland said in a statement.

“The Security Council has spoken with one voice, calling on the parties to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric.”

The calls came a day after intense fighting during an Israeli raid in the flashpoint northern West Bank city of Jenin, in which the soldiers killed six Palestinians, including a member of Hamas accused of killing two Israeli settlers last month.

Wennesland said he was “alarmed” at the violence, which the army said included soldiers launching shoulder-fired rockets amid ferocious gunfire.

The Palestinian Authority’s health ministry said Israeli forces have also wounded 11 others during the raid in Jenin. Two of the wounded people had serious injuries, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Witnesses told AFP news agency that a house in Jenin was besieged by the Israeli forces and hit with rockets. Footage circulating on social media showed helicopters over a column of military vehicles entering the city.

Al Jazeera’s Sara Khairat, reporting from Ramallah, said that another raid by Israeli forces was also carried out on Tuesday evening in another refugee camp south of Nablus.

The army entered a building in the Askar refugee camp and arrested three men, including two sons of a 49-year-old man killed in Jenin.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, called the use of rockets in Jenin on Tuesday an act of “all-out war”, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Abu Rudeineh accused the Israeli government of being “responsible for this dangerous escalation which threatens to inflame the situation and destroy all efforts aimed at restoring stability”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken overnight reiterated calls for both sides to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank, and the violence is also expected to be raised by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin when he visits Israel this week.

However, there has been no sign of any let up in the violence, ahead of the start of the holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish Passover festival.

Overnight on Monday, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in the village of Huwara, the scene of a violent rampage last week by dozens of settlers seeking revenge for the shooting of the two Israelis as they sat in their car.

Meanwhie, a rocket launch from the Gaza Strip set off alert sirens in southern Israel during the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, as security forces were on high alert following Israeli raids in the West Bank.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initially said a rocket that had been fired from Gaza landed within the confines of the Strip, but later confirmed that it had landed in Israeli territory, close to the border fence.

On Tuesday, police in Jerusalem and surrounding areas were put on increased alert amid fears Palestinians would attempt to exact revenge for the raid by Israeli troops in Jenin.

Late last month, Palestinians fired six rockets into southern Israel in an apparent revenge attack for a deadly Israeli incursion into Nablus. The rockets did not cause injuries or damage and Islamic Jihad later claimed responsibility.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian attacks. Those tensions have ramped up in recent weeks amid a cycle of Israeli raids and Palestinian revenge attacks, as well as an uptick in settler violence.

Following the Huwara shooting, a group of radical settlers rampaged through the town, burning homes and vehicles. A Palestinian man was killed and multiple people were injured in violence that shocked many in Israel and abroad, with some terming the incident a “pogrom.”

A string of Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent months left 14 Israelis dead and several more seriously hurt.

At least 70 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians. — Agencies

March 08, 2023
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