‘We are all behind you’: Opposition gives its blessing to Jenin military operation

Campaign hailed as ‘justified’ by opposition chief Lapid; Gantz: ‘Responsible’ steps will ‘receive full support’; far-right ministers welcome IDF’s incursion into West Bank city

Opposition leader Yesh Atid chief MK Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on June 26, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Opposition leader Yesh Atid chief MK Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on June 26, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Lawmakers from the coalition and opposition threw their support Monday behind a major military operation launched early in the morning against terror infrastructure in the West Bank city of Jenin.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry said four people were killed and at least 27 were wounded in a number of strikes, as large numbers of Israeli ground forces were seen entering the city from several directions. The ministry said seven Palestinians were in serious condition.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid tweeted his support for the operation and for Israel Defense Forces troops on the ground, writing: “We are all behind you.”

“This is a justified action against terrorist infrastructure,” Lapid said, adding that he supported actions “against terrorist infrastructures and the attempts to build missile production systems in Jenin with Iranian assistance.”

National Unity party leader Benny Gantz, also of the opposition, said: “We are all one front against terror.”

“Every determined and responsible operation by the government will receive full support,” tweeted Gantz, a former commander of the IDF and the previous defense minister.

National Unity leader MK Benny Gantz speaks in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on June 26, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Gantz’s No. 2 Gideon Sa’ar wrote: “The entire nation is behind the campaign against the terrorists.”

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich tweeted: “We have started to change direction in the campaign to root out terror and to act, with God’s help, to restore Israeli deterrence and bring back security.”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said he was “proud of our heroes on all fronts this morning, and especially our soldiers operating in Jenin.”

“Let the IDF succeed,” he added.

A senior government official said that “the goal of this extensive operation is to end Jenin’s role as a sanctuary city for terror, and it will last as long as it needs to.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant hailed the operation in a tweet, saying that “anyone who harms the citizens of Israel will pay a heavy price.”

“We are closely monitoring the behavior of our enemy; the defense establishment is prepared for any scenario,” Gallant added.

Israeli armored vehicles drive through the West Bank city of Jenin on July 3, 2023, after an Israeli strike. (Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, slammed the IDF operation in Jenin, calling it a “new war crime against our defenseless people.”

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh along with other Gazan terror groups put out a message of solidarity with Jenin and warned: “The blood spilled in Jenin will determine the next stage, on all potential paths. Our people and their resistance are able to respond to this barbaric aggression.”

IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters that the operation was focused on the Jenin refugee camp and was “part of a series of actions that we carry out and will continue to carry out.”

“We did not come to occupy the refugee camp. This is not an operation against the Palestinian Authority but against the terror groups in Jenin,” he said.

Hagari called the operation a “brigade-level raid,” without giving it an official name.

For weeks there had been speculation about a major Israeli military operation in the West Bank, following a string of shooting attacks and intense resistance to IDF raids in Palestinian cities.

Smoke billows from the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank July 3, 2023. (Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)

The northern West Bank, and especially the city of Jenin and its environs, have long been considered by the IDF as hotbeds of terrorism, highlighted by a string of attacks in early 2022 of which many were carried out by residents of the area.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been high across the West Bank for the past year and a half, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids, amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

Since the beginning of this year, Palestinian attackers in Israel and the West Bank have killed 24 people.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 139 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that time, most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances.

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