Palestinians cuffed and blindfolded in Jenin as Israel steps up violent West Bank raids

Five Palestinians killed across the occupied West Bank as Israeli forces surround Ibn Sina hospital and interrogate paramedics

A man fires in the air as Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of men killed in an overnight Israeli army raid in the Jenin refugee camp. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza

Three Palestinians died and 15 were wounded after the Israeli army raided Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank early on Friday and surrounded Ibn Sina hospital, officials in the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Israel also said its troops had shot and killed two men at a junction near Hebron on Friday.

The Israeli army also arrested at least 10 Palestinians in the raid on Jenin, whose names have not been published, sources in the Jenin camp said.

Issam Damaj, a resident, told The National Israeli soldiers raided his home in Jenin and ransacked furniture.

“I was handcuffed and blindfolded and detained for more than an hour. I don’t know why,” he said.

Mr Damaj was interrogated about armed Palestinians in the camp, of which he denied any knowledge.

“The Israeli soldiers then drew the flag of their state on one of the walls and then took souvenir photos while I was handcuffed," he added.

The Israeli army launched its assault on Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin late on Thursday night, witnesses said.

Troops used armoured bulldozers and aircraft to destroy infrastructure in the refugee camp and cut off electricity and communications to the area.

During their 10-hour raid, the Israeli army prevented Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics from entering the Ibn Sina Hospital complex, while videos on social media showed soldiers asking all medical staff to vacate the hospital through a loudspeaker.

Medical teams of the Palestine Red Crescent Society in Jenin reported that the Israeli army subjected them to long and repeated searches at checkpoints, which obstructed their efforts to transport patients and wounded Palestinians.

UN figures show at least 183 Palestinians, including 47 children, have been killed by the Israeli army in the West Bank and Jerusalem since October 7.

Eight others, including one child, were killed in violence by Israeli settlers.

About 200 Palestinians had already been killed in the West Bank this year, before the start of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip after an assault by Hamas that killed 1,200 Israelis.

Wounded Palestinian children evacuated from Gaza to the UAE

Wounded Palestinian children evacuated from Gaza to the UAE

Crackdown on medical staff

Mahmoud Al Saadi, director of the Palestine Red Crescent in Jenin, told The National first responders were transporting the wounded to Ibn Sina hospital, “as an Israeli military force was conducting extensive and extreme searches of all ambulances on the premises”.

“They turned over medical equipment claiming they were looking for something, but we did not know what that was,” he said.

The Israeli army then “asked all medical staff to exit the hospital, hands in the air, and they were later interrogated and their IDs checked before being released. The operation lasted for more than half an hour,” he added.

More than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed since the Israel-Gaza war started.

Israeli forces have arrested and detained more than 2,000 Palestinians in “heavy-handed operations” across the occupied West Bank, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said last week.

The Red Crescent's Mr Al Saadi said the Israeli army has been conducting a systematic crackdown against medical rescue workers.

They are “subjecting all ambulances to searches at every military checkpoint, which causes delays in delivering treatment to the patients, in violation of the law,” he said.

Ibn Sina hospital officials told The National that all Red Crescent paramedics were summoned for interrogation after they delivered the wounded to the Emergency Department.

The hospital’s medical personnel, however, were not interrogated.

According to UN humanitarian office, OCHR, two Palestinians arrested since October 7 died in custody.

The UN says it has documented “disturbing cases of ill-treatment of those arrested and their families.”

The Palestinian Health Ministry has said that 2003 Palestinians have been killed by live ammunition and missile attacks since October 7, including gunfire by settlers.

Figures compiled by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club show Israeli forces have detained 2,200 Palestinians, men and women, since October 7.

A parallel war in the West Bank

Some Palestinians have accused Israel of waging war in the occupied West Bank in parallel with its attack on the Gaza Strip.

“Israel is waging war against the Palestinian people,” Wassel Abou Youssef, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Authority’s executive committee, told The National.

“The Israeli army has been raiding towns and refugee camps [in the West Bank] – the latest of which was Jenin – destroying infrastructure, carrying out detentions, killing people, detaining medical staff, and violating international law.

“Israel is investing in the international community’s attention on the war on Gaza and is waging a parallel war in the West Bank, killing more than 200 Palestinians and injuring others since October 7.".

He accused Israel of working towards “displacing all the Palestinians in Gaza to [Egypt's] Sinai, and those in the West Bank to Jordan.”

Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, described what Israel was doing in the West Bank as “a revenge war against anything Palestinian.”

“Israel is conducting daily raids on West Bank cities and towns, detaining the elderly and the women, in refugee camps located north of the West Bank, especially in Henin, Tulkarm, and Nour Al Shams,” he added.

This article has been published in collaboration with Egab.

Updated: November 18, 2023, 6:26 AM