How is Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ compatible with destroying the only children’s centre in Jenin? – Middle East Monitor
On 3 July the Israeli military, with the support of helicopter gunships and drones, launched a devastating attack against Jenin’s civilian population and infrastructure, killing 12 Palestinians, including four children.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak repeated the mantra that has become the West’s received wisdom, ‘Israel’s right to self defence’. The White House went even further: “We support Israel’s security and right to defend its people against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups.”
It says everything about the imperialist supporters of ‘freedom and democracy’ that their concern is with the right to self defence of the Occupier rather than protection of civilians living under occupation.
In an article ‘Why did Israel attack Jenin?‘ Reuters ‘explained’ that Jenin refugee camp ‘has long been a hotbed of militants… The Israeli military regularly accuses militant groups of basing fighters within densely populated urban areas such as refugee camps…’
The framing of the Israeli attack on a civilian population is interesting. Imagine Reuters or any other news media explaining Russia’s attack on Ukraine as having been one of self-defence of the Russian-speaking Ukrainians of the Donbas.
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Not only did Israel’s ‘right to defend its people’ include an attack on the symbol of Palestinian culture, Jenin’s Freedom Theatre but it involved the destruction of the Al Tafawk Children’s Centre located in the centre of Jenin’s refugee camp.
On 15 May 2021, during one of it periodic attacks on Gaza, the Israeli military took advantage of the fact that people’s attention was elsewhere in order to raid the Al Tafawk Children’s Centre in Jenin refugee camp. Their pretext was that they were looking for arms, which of course they didn’t find.
Apart from damaging furniture and equipment, the soldiers destroyed the centre’s infrastructure, making the building unsafe and unusable. They destroyed the water pipes and taps, cut off its water supply, wrecked the electricity safety box, cutting off electricity.
The soldiers did not even spare children’s books. According to a witness, a soldier who was doing this said out aloud that Palestinian children did not need to read books since they would grow up to be murderers and be killed.
As I wrote at the time: “This attitude of total racist contempt for Palestinian children – the conviction that they do not need education since they are going to die soon, anyway – reminds me, as someone who is Jewish, of the attitude of the Nazis towards Jewish children.”
This time around, Israel’s occupation forces have gone one further. Not only have they destroyed the interior of thecCentre but they have blow large gaping holes through the exterior walls. Needless to say all the toys, printers etc. have been destroyed.
It is in the nature of Israel’s occupation that no compensation will be offered even to those deemed ‘innocent’ by Israel’s own criteria.
Jenin, Palestine: An ongoing catastrophe
Why has the Al Tafawk Children’s Centre proved to be such an attractive target for Israel’s military thugs? Quite simply because any Palestinian civil society organisation poses a threat to the ultimate Zionist dream of a new Nakba, a Palestinian exodus from the West Bank.
As a British charity, the Brighton Trust has been raising money for the Al Tafawk centre since 2019 and together with other charities we are determined to raise the money to pay for the repairs that are once again needed.
What you can do:
- You can support our GoFundMe appeal
- Put pressure on your MP to contact the Foreign Office to ask why Israel feels it needs to attack and destroy a children’s centre and to pressurise them to make good their destruction.
- You can also write letters to your local paper and the nationals describing what has happened.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.