Collective Punishment Gets Complicated: “Israel” is Helpless in Face of Jenin
Translated by Al-Ahed News
Yahya Dbouk | Al-Akhbar Newspaper
“Israel” is facing a security challenge with components that are unprecedented in its decades-long conflict with the Arabs – a spate of Palestinian-led operations against the occupation. One of the main motivators is the same punitive measure that “Israel” employs in an effort to prevent the operations.
It's a self-sustaining dilemma with no prospects of a solution. According to the assessment of the “Israeli” intelligence, it is likely that the attacks will continue even if Tel Aviv hopes to reduce them through a series of measures. It is impossible to enumerate the complications for “Israel”.
In addition to these complications comes the “Israeli” problem in focusing on and addressing incentives instead of motives. The first is circumstantial and changing, while the second, which is primary, and fixed, is the existence of the occupation with all its characteristics, including the deprivation of rights and identity and racist settlement policies. However, there are no guarantees that these incentives will be addressed.
Based on its approach of deterrence-by-punishment, “Israel” does not only eliminate the perpetrators of the operations even if they failed to execute them, but it also punishes everyone around them by demolishing the homes of their relatives, arresting their fathers and brothers and abusing them, robbing them of their financial resources, and changing their circumstances for the worse at every level. This collective punishment also affects the entire town or city from which the perpetrator originates, especially in the occupied territories outside the Green Line.
This is a consistent “Israeli” strategy in the face of guerrilla operations; although the recent attacks had a unique element, as they were carried out without any direction or leadership from Palestinian resistance organizations. In addition to this policy, there is the functional role played by the security services of the Palestinian Authority. The security services are tasked with achieving what the occupation is unable to, cause operational losses, and obtain intelligence information on the resistance for the enemy.
However, in the latest spate of operations, “Israel” has identified additional factors that were not previously observed, such as in the improvised stabbing and car-ramming attacks.
The recent attacks were carried out in part by Palestinians from within, that is, holders of “Israeli” identity papers, who have in common what the “Israelis” call religious fanaticism as well as identifying in one degree or another with Islamic groups carrying extremist ideology. The media emphasized the presence of Daesh to serve the occupation’s strategy.
The other operations were carried out by Palestinians who set out from the northern occupied West Bank, specifically from the Jenin area, which represents a complex challenge for “Israel”, for several reasons, the most important of which are the following:
First: Jenin is considered an area relatively outside the security control of the PA, for reasons that are difficult to enumerate, including the decline in support for the PA even within the Fatah organization, whether in the camp, the city, or the surrounding villages. This decline diminished the ability of the PA’s security services to move, control, and gather intelligence for the occupation, as well as facilitate and prepare for its tasks.
Second: The Islamic Jihad Movement is the party that attracts Palestinian youths in this area, specifically those who defected from Fatah or those who are dissatisfied the performance of the PA. This made it possible to provide means of combat in the camp and its surroundings at a level that has become alarming to the occupation, especially since the Islamic Jihad is a sizeable organization in numbers and equipment.
Third: Jenin, which is located in the north of the occupied West Bank, is very close to central “Israel”, which houses large population centers, including Gush Dan and Tel Aviv. The significance of this point is that it confirms the presence of holes in the security wall – in all its forms – in this area, which allowed the Palestinians to move to and from the 1948 territories with relative ease, for different purposes and goals, not primarily launching operations.
Based on the above, it can be said that it has become impossible for the occupation to direct its collective punishment in response to the operations executed by perpetrators from Jenin, where the Islamic Jihad protects the families of the martyrs from physical, material, as well as economic harm.
This puts a dent in the “Israeli” punitive strategy, destroys its effectiveness, and turns Jenin and its camp into a simulation model. This is the most dangerous thing for “Israel”. In addition, the structural weakness of the PA and the public rejection are forcing the enemy to operate directly in the camp, the city, and the surrounding areas, which means more friction with the Palestinians. This in turn may stimulate the execution of more operations, not to mention the possibility of “Israeli” casualties, especially since the images of storming the camp in 2002, which inflicted dozens of casualties on the occupation, are still fresh among the “Israelis”. In addition, any broad response implies the risk of dragging the Gaza Strip into a confrontation, similar to what happened in the al-Quds Sword Battle last year.
How can the occupation forces achieve their objective then? So far, “Israel” does not seem to have an alternative plan, except turning the father of martyr Raad Hazem into a first strategic goal. He has become the main concern of “Israel’s” security and military apparatus, although, from a realistic point of view, he is supposed to be a mere tactical goal.
But if reaching the martyr’s father proves impossible? What will become of “Israel’s” other goals that are driving operations, especially preventing the Jenin camp, which the occupation calls the hornets’ nest, into a mecca for the resistance fighters and an inspiring model for them?