Israeli forces raided a Palestinian refugee camp on Friday, killing at least 13, including five children, which sparked major protests in the West Bank and elsewhere.
Israel used an American-supplied Apache helicopter in the raid at the Nur Shams refugee camp near the town of Tulkarem, according to The Guardian. The paper, citing the Defense for Children International in Palestine, reported that the helicopter “fired a missile toward a group of Palestinian civilians, mostly children.”
After the chaos, which included a gunfight, the Israeli forces reportedly refused to allow ambulances to retrieve those who suffered injuries. One Israeli officer was killed and nine others were injured, The Times of Israel reported. Israel arrested 10.
TRENDPOST: Tensions have been high in the West Bank after the 7 October attack by Hamas fighters in Israel killed 1,400 people in Israel. These Israeli military raids inside refugee camps in the West Bank have long been a source of tension between Palestinians and their occupiers. See:
● “ISRAEL KILLS 3 MORE PALESTINIANS DURING ANOTHER DEADLY WEEK” (14 Mar 2023)
Mohammed Zuhdi, a resident from the Nur Shams camp, told The Guardian that it is no longer worth blaming the fighters or “giving excuses about Hamas, or Fatah, or the Islamic Jihad being responsible for our suffering.”
“The responsibility lies with the occupation,” he said.
He continued, “No one wants to die, but people get angry when they see women and children getting massacred, and they protest—then [are] killed by the Israeli army.”
Zuhdi attended a protest after the raid and said to the paper that he was there to stand with his people.
“Even if you do nothing to the Israelis, they will shoot you—no one is safe these days,” he said.
Hamas has called for Palestinian supporters to hold “Day of Rage” protests to draw attention to what it sees as Israeli thuggery and abuse. Thousands took to the streets across the Middle East to show support for the Palestinians, who say they face a second Nakba. (See “PRO-PALESTINIAN RALLIES BANNED IN MAJOR CITIES, NO FREEDOM OF SPEECH, NO RELIGIOUS EQUALITY,” 17 Oct 2023.)
The Nakba, or “catastrophe,” was the violent displacement of about 700,000 Palestinians during Israel’s founding in 1948 and Israel pushed out another 300,000 plus when they launched the 1967 war against Palestine.
Rashid Khalidi, a Middle East historian and author of “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine,” told NPR in 2021, “For Israelis and for most other people who know only the Israeli narrative, 1948 represents the miraculous establishment of a Jewish state in the wake of the Holocaust.”
But he noted that Palestinians refer to it as “the catastrophe.”
“For Palestinians, it represents the destruction of their society, the loss of self—the right to self-determination and the expulsion of most of them and the expropriation of the property of most of them,” he said. (See “UN VENERATES PALESTINIAN DISPLACEMENT FOR FIRST TIME,” 23 May 2023.)
Hamas first called on the “Day of Rage” after blaming Israel for bombing a packed hospital in Gaza. Protests broke out in Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, and the occupied West Bank, according to Al Jazeera. Another round of protests also took place in Turkey, Morocco, Libya and Iran.
War on Children
The Defense for Children International—Palestine, an NGO, told Al Jazeera that one child is killed in Gaza every 15 minutes by Israeli forces.
As of Sunday night, Gazan authorities said 1,750 children have been killed in Israeli revenge strikes and thousands others are developing severe trauma symptoms after enduring 16-straight days of bombings.
“We are witnessing a genocide in real time,” the NGO said.
Indeed, about 60 percent of those killed in Israeli strikes are women and children. About half of the population in Gaza are children.
Muhammad Al-Louh, an ambulance driver in Gaza, asked Euronvews, “What did these children sleeping in their homes do to them? So the whole world knows that we are staying on this land. This is the land of our children. Let this crime stop.”
Fadel Abu Heen, a psychiatrist in Gaza, told The Guardian that children in Gaza are beginning to show psychological strains from the war. Some have developed “serious trauma symptoms such as convulsions, bed-wetting, fear, aggressive behavior, nervousness, and not leaving their parents’ sides.”
He continued, the “lack of any safe place has created a general sense of fear and horror among the entire population and children are most impacted.”
The Al Jazeera report noted that the 1949 Geneva Conventions stated that children must be protected and treated humanely during times of war. The report noted that Israel does not recognize the Fourth Geneva Convention that protects civilians fighting an occupation. Israelis do not consider Gaza to be occupied land.
The Guardian noted that a child in Gaza who is 15 years old has lived through five periods of severe bombings in their lives: 2008-9, 2012, 2014, 2021, and now.
TRENDPOST: To date, over 5,000 Palestinians have been killed and 42 percent of their homes have been destroyed since Israel began bombing Gaza following the 7 October Hamas attack which killed some 1,400 Israelis.