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Palestinian reaction in West Bank to Israeli attacks on Gaza ‘below expectations’

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after it was struck by an Israeli airstrike in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, May 12, 2023. (AP)
Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house after it was struck by an Israeli airstrike in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, May 12, 2023. (AP)
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13 May 2023 05:05:18 GMT9
13 May 2023 05:05:18 GMT9
  • Some observers and analysts suggested the displays of solidarity appeared largely limited to social media activity rather than protests on the ground

Mohammed Najib

RAMALLAH: The apparent lack of a strong reaction in the West Bank to the deadly Israeli campaign targeting the Islamic Jihad movement in the Gaza Strip is because the resistance group has set a new precedent by responding to the aggression with rocket attacks rather than protests, according to a Fatah leader.

“The sound of Islamic Jihad’s missiles launched toward Israel, and the sound of the bombs of Israeli warplanes, are louder than any mass protests that could take place in the West Bank,” Taysir Nasrallah, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council in Nablus, told Arab News.

Islamic Jihad set a precedent by launching rockets toward Israel following the assassination on May 10 of three commanders of the militant group, he said. The perception was therefore that popular protests in solidarity with the victims seemed useless, he added.

However, the sacrifices made by Islamic Jihad fighters are supposed to be linked to efforts to achieve the political goals of the Palestinian people, Nasrallah said.

“Still, no one knows what the Islamic Jihad wants to achieve politically for the Palestinian people — and I believe there is nothing,” he added.

Political analyst Riyad Qadriya told Arab News that demonstrations in the West Bank of solidarity with Gazans had been below expectations, both publicly and officially.

“There are modest responses that do not match the magnitude of the attack,” he told Arab News, referring to brief official statements by the two most prominent armed groups in the northern West Bank: Jenin Brigade in the Jenin camp, and Lions’ Den in the old city of Nablus.

“I expected stronger official and popular support to confuse Israel and prevent it from concentrating on the Gaza Strip but I think that if the war continues and there are more civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip, popular protests will take place in the West Bank.”

Prominent Palestinian political analyst Ghassan Al-Khatib told Arab News that he believes the current aggression targeting Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip “is a continuation of Israel’s war in the West Bank against Islamic Jihad, which began more than a year ago and focused on Jenin and Nablus in the northern West Bank.”

He said Palestinians in the West Bank “are exhausted after more than a year of being subjected to continuous campaigns of Israeli oppression, whether by the Israeli army or settlers.”

However, “there are strong popular feelings of solidarity with the Gaza Strip among the Palestinians in the West Bank,” he added.

Social media has been flooded with news and images of incidents in the Gaza Strip, with some observing that displays of solidarity appear largely limited to online activity rather than protests on the ground.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in the city of Umm Al-Fahm, inside Israel, staged a sit-in in solidarity with the people of Gaza on Thursday night.

The National and Islamic Action factions in Jenin camp also organized a sit-in to condemn the Israeli aggression. Dozens of people participated, calling on the international community to intervene and support defenseless Palestinians who face the threats of attack and losing their properties.

On Friday, a Palestinian youth was injured during a settler attack in Silwad, east of Ramallah. Local sources said settlers stormed the area, resulting in clashes, and a settler fired on youths, wounding one. Israeli army forces immediately arrived to protect the settlers, they added.

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