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U.S. National Security Council Supports Israel’s Counterterrorism Operation In Jenin

Israeli forces arrest suspects and destroy infrastructure in ongoing operation; international community expresses concern.

A spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, which advises President Joe Biden, released a statement on Monday in support of the Israel Defense Forces’ ongoing counterterrorism operation in Jenin.

“We support Israel’s security and right to defend its people against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups,” it states.The council added that it is monitoring the situation closely.

Sources said on Tuesday afternoon that the operation was getting close to winding down. But Israeli officials said it would probably continue at least until Wednesday as security forces continue to arrest members of terrorist groups and destroy their infrastructure.

As of Tuesday morning, more than a hundred wanted suspects have been arrested, and eight confirmed terrorists have been killed.

Palestinians burn tires and wave the national flag in protest against the incursion into Jenin on July 3, 2023, along the border fence with Israel, east of Gaza City. Eight Palestinians were killed after Israeli forces attacked the Jenin refugee camp in air and ground operations, and the Israeli army announced that it had bombed a command center of an armed group.  PHOTO BY AHMAD HASABALLAH/GETTY IMAGES

“We have no intention of occupying the Jenin refugee camp, and this is not an operation against the Palestinian Authority,” said R. Adm. Daniel Hagari, a spokesperson for the IDF. “We will create a sequence of operations in the northern part of the West Bank.”

Tor Wennesland, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, announced on Twitter he had been “in direct contacts with all relevant parties” with an eye towards de-escalation.

“The current escalation in the occupied West Bank is very dangerous [and] follows months of mounting tensions,” Wennesland wrote, noting that the operation “reminds us of the extremely volatile [and] unpredictable situation across the occupied West Bank.”

Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, speaks during Security Council meeting on situation in the Middle East at UN headquarters in New York on April 25th, 2023. Wennesland recently expressed concern at the unrest caused by Israel’s military operation in Jenin. PHOTO BY LEV RADIN/PACIFIC PRESS/GETTY IMAGES

Lynn Hastings, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Palestinian-controlled areas, said she was “alarmed” by the scale of the operation in Jenin and slammed Israel’s use of precision airstrikes against terrorists in the “densely populated refugee camp.”

In Brussels, the European Union’s Middle East peace envoy said he was “very concerned” and following the situation in Jenin closely. E.U. Special Representative Sven Koopmans warned in a tweet of a “real threat of a major eruption” caused by “months of escalating violence and increasing hopelessness” and called on “all parties” to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.

The U.K. government, in a statement published by the British consul-general in Jerusalem, likewise expressed “deep concern” and urged the IDF to “adhere to the principles of necessity and proportionality when defending its legitimate security interest.”

“Protection of civilians must be prioritised. Essential to ensure access for medical personnel,” the short missive reads.

UN humanitarian affairs Coordinator Lynn Hastings speaks at a press conference in Gaza Strip on January 31, 2023. Hastings recently expressed alarm at the scale of Israel’s military operation in Jenin. PHOTO BY MUSTAFA HASSONA/GETTY IMAGES 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s statement accused IDF troops of engaging in “war crimes” and “state terrorism.”

Israel’s Arab neighbors rushed to condemn the military action in Jenin.

A spokesperson for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry blasted Israel’s actions as a “clear violation of international humanitarian law, as well as Israel’s obligations as the occupying power.”

Meanwhile, Egypt denounced the counter terror raid “in the strongest terms” and charged the Jewish state with causing “civilian casualties” by using “excessive and indiscriminate” force.

For its part, the United Arab Emirates “strongly condemned” what it described as “attacks by the Israeli occupation forces on the Palestinian city of Jenin and its camp through air strikes and shootings.” Abu Dhabi’s Foreign Ministry demanded the “immediate halt of repeated and escalating campaigns against the Palestinian people,” while pressing Israeli authorities to “reduce escalation and avoid steps that exacerbate tension and violence.”

Notably, the foreign ministries of Bahrain and Morocco, both of which normalized ties with Israel under the auspices of the 2020 Abraham Accords, did not issue statements on the recent developments in northern Samaria.

(Additional reporting provided by JNS Reporter)

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