Political opportunities coming out of the IDF action in Jenin

Analysis: The widescale destruction left in Jenin is an opportunity for the Israeli leadership to form a strong and functioning partnership with the Palestinian Authority thereby strengthening its position within the refugee camp

Yossi Yehoshua, Einav Halabi|Updated:

Drone footage of Jenin
(Video: Reuters)
Several hours after the counterterrorism operation in Jenin ended, and the IDF forces withdrew, the destruction in the refugee camp appeared to be extensive. The day after the operation, as civilian residents return to their homes, Israel would likely face questions from the international community, primarily regarding the damage to the camp's infrastructure.
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Repairing the roads that were destroyed by explosives, placed to hamper the movement of the Israeli forces, will take time, as will the rebuilding of the electricity, water, and sewage infrastructure. The extent of the destruction in the camp at the end of the operation could potentially attract criticism against Israel despite the significant freedom to operate that was enjoyed by the military, not least due to the extraordinary efforts taken to avoid civilian casualties.
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תיעוד ההרס בג'נין לאחר יצאת כוחות צה''ל
תיעוד ההרס בג'נין לאחר יצאת כוחות צה''ל
(Photo: AP)
The task of reconstruction could serve as an opportunity for a diplomatic process to come on the heels of the operational phase. Within the security establishment, there is a consensus that a strong and functioning Palestinian Authority is in Israel's interest. One proposal currently being considered is for the PA to participate in the rebuilding efforts, thereby strengthening its position within Jenin.
Aftermath of an IDF airstrike
(Video: Issam Rimawi)
However, in order to implement a process that enhances the PA, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would need to persuade his coalition partners to agree to promote economic and civil measures vis-à-vis the PA under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas. Without comprehensive civil and economic progress, we will quickly Israel may find itself back where it was on the eve of the operation rather than enjoying the benefits of good relations with its neighbors for the sake of security.
But forces will likely return to Jenin before long. IDF action in the area must continue with persistent raids, arrests, and presence in the refugee camp. In addition to operational activities, the cooperation between the military's Intelligence units and the Shin Bet should continue as well. This combined force can provide critical assistance in a significantly more meaningful and challenging fight.
These points were emphasized by IDF Spokesperson Daniel Harel, who said in an interview with Ynet, "In the end, it is important to remember that there is no magic solution to terrorism. We will need to continue to act proactively and resolutely, and we will return to the refugee camp whenever we have intelligence about activists or wanted individuals planning terror attacks against us, and we will act to prevent it."
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תיעוד ההרס בג'נין לאחר יצאת כוחות צה''ל
תיעוד ההרס בג'נין לאחר יצאת כוחות צה''ל
The refugee camp in Jenin after 2-days of an IDF counterterrorism offensive
(Photo: AFP)
The offensive achieved the desired effect - Israel proved that it is not deterred from entering the refugee camp. Hour after hour, IDF forces breached every structure identified as a target, including a mosque, where they discovered numerous stockpiles of explosive devices and dismantled infrastructure that had served as an operational base for senior terror actors.
First published: 15:05, 07.05.23
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