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Can Israel’s operation in Jenin restore IDF deterrence in West Bank?

Israel’s security system knows that even a large military operation cannot completely erase militant activity from the West Bank city of Jenin, but it does hope to shift the balance of power in its favor.
Israeli military armored vehicles advance on a road during an operation in Jenin city in the occupied West Bank, on July 3, 2023.

TEL AVIV — The military strike that Israel launched at 1 a.m. Monday on the Jenin Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank had been in the cards for months. Nonetheless, the drones that fired missiles at the joint command center of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations caught the militant organizations by complete surprise.

The pre-dawn operation in the densely crowded enclave that has long been a hotbed of anti-Israel militant activity was the result of monthslong intelligence collection by the Shin Bet security agency and military intelligence. 

Following the aerial missile strike, hundreds of troops, special forces, border police and other units backed by intense aerial cover swept into the narrow alleys of the camp, targeting the command center as well as weapons and explosives manufacturing sites. At least ten Palestinians were killed on the first day of the operation, and dozens were wounded. Israel said all were militants.

The current Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation is unlikely to wipe out the militant infrastructure operating out of the camp. Still, Israel’s goal is to set it back and restore some of the deterrence it has lost in the northern West Bank in recent months. 

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