Thousands of Palestinians gathered in Jenin, in the northern occupied West Bank, on Thursday, to attend the funeral for nine Palestinians killed during a raid on the Jenin refugee camp that same morning.
Pain and sadness filled every corner of Jenin, Eyad Salahat, the older brother of 22-year-old Izz al-din Salahat, who was killed in the Israeli raid, told Middle East Eye between breaths.
“My family and I can’t believe we lost Izz,” he said before explaining that his brother’s nickname closely translates to pride. “Not just pride, but the pride. Our pride, the pride of our home, the pride of the camp.”
“At the funeral, I couldn’t even fathom who was and wasn’t killed because of the sheer scale of everything,” he added.
Eyad’s brother Izz al-Din was, according to his family, one of the first Palestinians killed during the large-scale Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp. The raid, which lasted close to five hours, claimed the lives of eight others, including a 61-year-old woman, Majda Obaid, and two children.
‘What happened to them is a crime against humanity’
– Osama Mansour, local activist
The others were identified by the ministry as Motasem Mahmoud Abu Hasan, 40; Waseem Amjad Aref Al-Ja’s, 22; Noor Eldin Sami Ghnaim, 25; Mohammad Sami Ghnaim, 28; Mohammad Mahmoud Subuh, 30; and Saeb Izreiqi, 24.
On Thursday evening, a 10th Palestinian was killed during confrontations that erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the town of Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem. He was identified as Yousef Muhaisen, 22.
“What happened to them is a crime against humanity,” Osama Mansour, 55, a local activist in Jenin, told MEE. “It’s a multi-faced crime that not only includes killing our children but attacking civilians and destroying Palestinian property.”
“Everyone in Jenin has someone to mourn.”
No end in sight
Shortly after Dhuhr prayers (around noon), a sea of Palestinian mourners marched with the bodies of all nine Palestinians who were killed in the raid.
The funeral procession began from the Jenin Government Hospital, making its way towards the old city. From there, each body was taken back to where they were from; one stayed in Jenin city, three returned to Burqin, four to Jenin refugee camp, and one to the town of Al-Yamoun.
Israel regularly confiscates the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. However, this time, all nine Palestinian bodies were buried by their loved ones. Mansour told MEE he believed it was due to the fact that Israeli forces were coming under heavy fire from armed resistance fighters in the camp, so the forces were unable to remove the bodies.
Crowds march in the streets to carry the bodies of the Palestinians killed on Thursday during an Israeli raid (Mohammad Abed)
“Our fighters were strong today and we are proud of them. Israel’s surprise attack did not trick them because of the months of training to defend our people. In my opinion, we won today because [our fighters] stood bravely against Israel’s powerful military,” Mansour continued.
Palestinians across the occupied territory joined those in Jenin to mourn those who were killed. A three-day national state of mourning has been declared by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who described the raid on Jenin as “a massacre from the Israeli occupation government in the shadow of international silence”.
Abbas’s government also announced it would be stopping its controversial policy of security coordination with Israel in response to the raid.
Still, Mansour believes that the effects of these attacks “have hurt not just the people in Jenin, but in Egypt, Turkey and Jordan. Everyone is in pain from these crimes.”
As Palestinians mourn their “martyrs”, Israeli politicians have been encouraging extrajudicial killings of Palestinians.
During the raid on Jenin, an Israeli parliament member encouraged the soldiers, tweeting, “Nice and professional work by the fighters in Jenin, keep killing them.”
“This government is no worse than every other Israeli government. They all want to kill all signs of Palestinian life on this land. I want to tell them our resistance is strong, and we will continue fighting for our people,” said Mansour.
The latest fatalities bring the number of Palestinians killed this year to 30, including at least six children.
According to data compiled by Middle East Eye, Israeli forces killed more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2022 than in any single calendar year since the Second Intifada.
A collective funeral was held for nine Palestinians killed during an Israeli raid in Jenin, on 26 January 2023 (Mohammad Abed)
At least 220 people died in Israeli attacks across the occupied territories in 2022, including 48 children. Of the total death toll, 167 were from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and 53 were from the Gaza Strip.
Still, Eyad says, “The Jenin refugee camp is strong and will continue to rise up against Israel’s [occupation].”
Disclaimer: ‘Everyone in Jenin has someone to mourn’: Nine Palestinians killed, one funeral - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view