STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT-After 48 hours of pounding the one square kilometre Jenin refugee camp, one thousand Israeli occupation troops from the most elite units equipped with helicopters, drones, bulldozers and more than 250 armoured vehicles retreated. They left behind a trail of death and destruction: 12 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 were wounded; 300 homes were completely destroyed and between 400 and 500 were damaged.
Israeli military and political figures declared that the military offensive on Jenin and its refugee camp was intended to kill or detain “terrorists” – Palestinian resistance fighters – who set off from Jenin to carry out attacks against Israeli targets in the occupied West Bank and the apartheid state itself.
They announced that one objective of the offensive was the destruction of “terror” infrastructure, including factories producing improvised explosive devices. The Israeli media said that two of the unannounced aims of the massive offensive were to reimpose the control of the Palestinian Authority security services over the territory (this was security collaboration between the PA and the occupation state at its most obvious) and get the Palestinian people to turn against the legitimate Palestinian resistance fighters.
The goals of the two-day Israeli “operation” in Jenin were “fully achieved,” claimed Defence Minister Yoav Gallant following the withdrawal. “We brought down the terror factory that was built in Jenin. These were many dozens of sites that hosted bomb workshops, labs, weapons caches, as well as security means guarding the entrances to the camp.” Bragging about the alleged achievements, he insisted that, “We have the capability to copy this to other locations [in order to counter] terrorism.”
Al Jazeera reported a spokesman of the Israeli occupation army as saying that, “The operation was difficult and complicated, but it achieved big results.”
The Palestinian resistance fighters disagreed. “The resistance is strong and the Israeli operation failed to achieve its goals,” they said in a joint statement. “The Israeli occupation forces failed to detain fighters who exchanged fire with them at point-blank range.”
In separate statements, the Palestinian political factions and their military wings also said that the Israeli occupation authorities failed to achieve their objectives, because the resistance fighters defeated the Israeli troops. In doing so they were backed by people across Jenin and its refugee camp, mainly in the areas that suffered the most destructive Israeli attacks.
It was not only the Palestinians who believe that Israel was the biggest loser in Jenin; many others do as well, not least Israeli analysts and media. The offensive against Jenin achieved nothing, Al Jazeera reported a leading Israeli newspaper as saying; the only surprise throughout the offensive was the use of lethal force by the Israeli occupation army.