EU envoy blasts Israel over deadly Jenin raid
A European envoy blasted Israel Saturday over the “proportionality” of the force it uses, as international envoys toured Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank following this week’s deadly raid.
His remarks echoed UN chief Antonio Guterres who on Thursday told reporters “there was an excessive force used by Israeli forces” in its 48-hour operation, the largest Israel has staged in the Palestinian territory for years.
It included air strikes and armored bulldozers ripping up streets.
Jenin is a centre for multiple armed Palestinian groups, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the refugee camp a “terrorist nest”.
European Union representative to the Palestinian territories Sven Kuehn von Burgsdorff made his comments as he led a delegation of UN officials and diplomats from 25 countries to the camp in the northern West Bank.
“We are concerned about the deployment of weaponry and weapons systems which question the proportionality of the military during the operation,” Kuehn von Burgsdorff said of the operation in which 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed.
“This cycle of violence has to end, it cannot continue. If there is no political solution to the conflict, we are going to stand here in a week’s time, in a month’s time, in a year’s time, with nothing changed,” he added.
As the delegation toured the camp, residents peered out of holes left in the walls by Israeli rockets, and local authorities tested a new camp-wide alarm system to warn of future raids.
- UN plea for funds –
Jenin camp has been the site of several large-scale raids by the Israeli military this year, but this week’s was the biggest such operation in the West Bank since the second Palestinian “intifada” or uprising of the early 2000s.
The camp’s infrastructure was severely damaged during the raid, which Israel said was targeting militants.
Eight kilometres (five miles) of water pipes and three kilometres of sewage pipes were destroyed, the UN said. More than 100 houses were damaged and a number of schools were also lightly damaged.
The refugee camp in one of the poorest and most densely populated in the West Bank, with some 18,000 people living in just 0.43 square kilometres (0.16 of a square mile).
UN officials on Saturday made a plea for funds to help rebuild the camp.
“To restore services and scale up support to the children, we need cash … our appeal is desperately underfunded,” Leni Stenseth, deputy commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), said.
“I would urge you to consider announcing your support for the work we are going to do here in Jenin camp in the coming weeks and months as soon as possible,” she added.
On Thursday Algeria announced $30 million to “help rebuild the Palestinian city of Jenin after the barbaric and criminal attack” by Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, which normalised ties with Israel in 2020, said Wednesday it “will provide $15 million”.
©️ Agence France-Presse