Devastation in Jenin as Israeli Forces Withdraw: Residents Assess the Aftermath.

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Trashed Homes and Charred Streets: Jenin Bears the Brunt of Heavy Offensive

As Israeli forces pulled out of Jenin, Palestinian residents returned to a scene of devastation. Trashed homes, charred cars, and rubble-strewn roads greeted them in the aftermath of the heaviest offensive the West Bank city and militant stronghold had experienced in years. The offensive included air strikes targeting buildings and armoured bulldozers tearing up streets.

The Shocking Return: Displaced Residents Confront Destruction

Siham al-Naaja, 53, arrived back at her apartment in the Jenin refugee camp to find shattered windows, furniture in disarray, torn pictures, and belongings scattered across the floor. She described a city devoid of electricity and water, with numerous buildings bearing the scars of gunshots. Naaja was among the 3,000 people who fled when Israel initiated the raid in the densely populated neighborhood, engaging in gunfights with Palestinian militants. She expressed sadness over her damaged household and accused Israeli forces of stealing her family’s money and gold.

Jenin’s Refugee Camp: A Symbol of Displaced Palestinians

Jenin’s refugee camp, a compact urban area with a high population density, shelters Palestinians and their descendants who fled during the conflict following Israel’s establishment in 1948. Unable to return to their original homes, their aspirations for an independent state have remained distant despite years of unsuccessful peace initiatives. Israel, occupying the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War, justified its raid on Jenin as a necessary operation against Palestinian militants, targeting their arms depots and other infrastructure. The violence resulted in the deaths of 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier.

Psychological Impact: Lingering Trauma and Disruption

The psychological toll on residents is profound. Mahdi Jalysa, an 18-year-old from the refugee camp, shared his experience of Israeli forces launching air strikes upon their entry. He described the lack of food and the surprise felt by the local population. The camp’s streets were now littered with rubble, torn power cables, and fuel stains. Amid the wreckage, individuals tried to salvage belongings from damaged cars and homes hit by Israeli air strikes. Hospitals in the area displayed piles of nappies, food, and other items, evidence of the chaos that unfolded during the flare-up.

Lasting Consequences: A Community Scarred by Loss and Uncertainty

While nearby residents provided aid and shelter to those who fled the camp, Khadar Masalhah, 35, expressed concern about the long-lasting effects of the deadly raid. He organized food and other donations, acknowledging the temporary relief it offered. However, he emphasized the lasting damage to both the physical and psychological well-being of the community, particularly for children and the elderly. Masalhah worried about the impact on the youngest members of society, who endured days of fear and deprivation, robbed of their innocence and smiles.

SOURCE: Ref Image from RFI

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