UN aid agencies voiced alarm at the scale of the ongoing deadly Israeli military ground and aerial attacks on the occupied West Bank town of Jenin, where a dozen Palestinians have been killed over the past two days.
“We are alarmed at the scale of air and ground operations that are taking place in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, and air strikes hitting a densely populated refugee camp,” Vanessa Huguenin, a spokesperson for the UN humanitarian office, told a briefing on Tuesday, presstv reported.
At least 12 Palestinians have been killed in Jenin and one in Ramallah as the regime’s largest assault in decades in the occupied West Bank continued for a second day on Tuesday.
Huguenin said at least three minors were among those killed by Israeli attacks.
She added that damage to infrastructure caused by air strikes has cut off most of the water and electricity at the camp.
The assault that involved drone strikes and hundreds of troops prompted the evacuation of thousands of people from a refugee camp.
The Red Cross, which has evacuated around 3,000 people from the area, said it was “extremely concerned by the alarming intensification of armed violence” in Jenin.
The World Health Organization and the international medical charity, Doctors Without Borders, known as MSF, raised concerns about restrictions on medical access.
“Attacks against healthcare including prevention of access to persons injured are extremely concerning,” said WHO Spokesperson Christian Lindmeier, adding that restrictions put in place by Israeli forces meant first responders could not reach those critically injured within the camp.
MSF said that military bulldozers had destroyed roads leading to the camp, making it nearly impossible for ambulances to reach patients.
“Palestinian paramedics have been forced to proceed on foot, in an area with active gunfire and drone strikes,” its diplomatic mission in Geneva said in a statement
“Israel ensures that humanitarian assistance is provided and does not apply any limitation on access for medical staff, except in places where the lives of medical staff is at risk due to exchanges of fire,” the MSF added.
According to Israeli military sources, more than 1,000 troops were involved in the Jenin attack, in which air fire was used by the occupation forces in the occupied West Bank for the first time since the Second Intifada.
The Arab League permanent members have held an emergency meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo to discuss the deadly large-scale Israeli army attacks in Jenin.
The permanent representative of Egypt in the Arab League, Mohamed Moustafa, said on Tuesday, “Once again, (we’re witnessing) another crime in which valuable Palestinian blood has been shed”.
Additionally, the Palestinian representative in the league, Mohannad Aklouk, said, “If we, or anyone in this world, think that condemnation and calls alone will be enough to end the Israeli colonial occupational project, then they’re either delusional or incapable (of doing anything about the matter).”
The Palestinian ambassador to the league earlier said the meeting would “discuss ways of effective action at the Arab and international levels to stop this Israeli aggression, hold its perpetrators accountable and request protection”.
the Palestinian Authority (PA) has called on the international community to “take serious action” as Gaza factions organize rallies to express solidarity with the people of Jenin.
Palestinian leaders have called Israel’s largest military raids in Jenin in 20 years a “new war crime”.
A PA Spokesman President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on the international community to “break its shameful silence and take serious action”.
“What the Israeli occupation regime is doing in the city of Jenin and its camp is a new war crime against our defenceless people,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement.
“The Palestinian people will not surrender or raise the white flag but will remain steadfast on their land in the face of this brutal aggression until the occupation is defeated and freedom is achieved,” he added.
Separately Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip hailed the Palestinian people’s successful operation against Israeli invaders in the city of Jenin that forced the latter to withdraw from the northern West Bank city.
Speaking on Tuesday, Hamas’ Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh congratulated Palestinians on their inflicting a “humiliating defeat” on Israel during the resistance operation, the Palestinian Information Center news agency reported.
“We say this to the Zionist enemy that their days when it would perpetrate crimes against the Palestinian nation without paying the price are over,” he said.
The resistance operation featured an “integrated response” on the part of Palestinian fighters from various branches, striking “fear and terror” inside the heart of the Israeli military, Haniyeh noted.
Also on Tuesday, a car ramming and stabbing attack in the coastal city of Tel Aviv in the occupied territories wounded seven people.
Haniyeh described the Tel Aviv operation as “heroic.” He said it indicated that all Palestinians from various places and societal strata were supportive of the struggle that was going on in Jenin, and considered resistance to be their “strategic option” against the enemy’s atrocities and towards forcing the occupiers out of the Palestinian land.
“We conveyed a clear message from all parties to the enemy,” the Hamas official asserted, saying the message was that “the Zionist enemy should end its invasion against the Jenin camp fast.”
The Islamic Jihad, Hamas’ fellow resistance movement in Gaza, also felicitated Palestinians on the occasion of the “great victory”.
“Through their unity and the support they provided for the Palestinian fighters, the Palestinian people proved that they can defeat the enemy in whatever confrontation,” said the Islamic Jihad’s Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhaleh.
Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids on Palestinian towns and cities.
Nearly 190 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the start of this year, according to the Health Ministry. At least 25 Israelis have also been killed in separate attacks during the same period.