July 7, 2023

In the early hours of Monday, Israeli forces entered the refugee camp in the Palestinian city of Jenin, which they claim is home to multiple militant groups including, Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad. The incursion has resulted in more than 100 casualties, causing a mass exodus from the camp of some 3000 refugees. The city of Jenin, which is home to the Jenin Refugee Camp occupied by 14,000 Palestinians, who live within less than half a square kilometre, was the site of the 2002 Battle of Jenin during the Second Intifada. It is estimated that the IDF contingent is made up of between 1,000 to 2,000 soldiers, making the incursion the largest Israeli military operation in years. The incident has provoked renewed tensions in the region, prompting fears of retaliatory attacks which would further deteriorate the security environment.


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The IDF deployed 10 ‘strategic’ air strikes, a first since 2006, which the IDF claimed attempted to “target terrorist infrastructure” in Jenin, as part of its “extensive counterterrorism effort”. The IDF also carried out raids on houses, detaining “wanted Palestinians” and seized explosive devices. An earlier raid on the camp in June prompted Palestinian gunmen to shoot four Israeli settlers, resulting in mobs of vigilante settlers rampaging around Palestinian towns and villages in retaliation. A Palestinian spokesperson called the attacks: “a new war crime against our defenceless people.” At last count, the death toll stood at 10 with more than 100 wounded, some in a critical condition. Prior to the incursion, the IDF posted a video on its YouTube account justifying the operation. The video cited the 25 attacks on Israeli settlers that have taken place this year, stating that 16 of these had been committed by insurgents from the refugee camp, known as the ‘Jenin Brigades’ which operate independently of the Palestinian Authority.


Geopolitical Impact


The Israelis have occupied the West Bank since the 1964 Six-Day War, and it has been gradually occupied by Israeli settlers in a state sponsored attempt to colonise the area ever since. The occupation is not recognised by the UN, which alongside other major organisations such as the International Red Cross, argues that Israel is in breach of Article 49 of the fourth Geneva Convention as an occupying power, and is currently under investigation by the ICC for war crimes. The UN has also registered its concern that access to the injured by aid agencies is being blocked.


The incursion in Jenin comes after weeks of deteriorating relations between the US and Israel, with Israeli officials making moves to strengthen ties with China, against calls from the US. In response, the US has been at great pains to maintain its close ties with Israel, with the US ambassador to Israel posting a video with members of the IDF on the Israeli/Lebanon border wishing everyone “Shabbat Shalom”. Israeli officials have also not been shy in recent weeks to express their discontent over comments from Washington, which they view as interfering in their own internal affairs. In commenting on the event in Jenin, the White House expressed its confidence in Israel, stating that it has “the right to defend itself.”


The Palestinian president is meeting with members of the Palestinian community to decide how to respond to this significant escalation of violence. Iran and a number of other Arab states, including Egypt and Jordan, supported by the Arab League have strongly condemned the attacks on Jenin, which has led to calls from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to convene a meeting of the UN Security Council, which has taken place behind closed doors.


Regional Security Forecasting


There are fears that the violence in the West Bank could prompt retaliatory insurgent attacks from the Palestinian held Gaza Strip. Gatherings have already started to take place in Gaza City to demonstrate against the attacks and call on the Arab and international community to pressurise the IDF to withdraw its forces.


Just a day after the incursion, a Palestinian man drove his car into nine people in the Israeli capital Tel Aviv before stabbing one of the injured. The man was a resident of the West Bank. Palestinian rockets were fired into Israel but resulted in no casualties. In response Israeli bombers hit an underground arms dump inside the Gaza strip, further indicating that this renewed tension is unlikely to diminish in the coming weeks and months.


Threats to Travellers


– Terrorist attacks: small arms fire, rockets, drone strikes, IEDs.

–  IDF attacks: journalists have been deliberately targeted as they report on the ongoing military incursion.

– Civil unrest across Israel and the occupied territories, including at major transport hubs and urban areas, including Ben Gurion airport.

– General strike: perpetrates violent civil unrest, particularly with the sustained deployment of IDF forces in the area.

– Police response: tear gas has been deployed by the police in the Jenin area.

– Travel disruption, with tighter security checks into and out of Israel.



Security Advice


– Reconsider all but essential travel into Jenin.

– Consider employing a close protection officer and an armoured vehicle.

– Avoid all protests, do not take photographs of violent unrest and the security forces.

– Establish pre-arranged itinerary and ensure tracking capability is operable at all stages of travel in Israel.

– Employ the services of a trusted local fixer for security and transport, including to / from the airport.

– Establish a staff check-in system to give assurance that travellers are safe throughout.

– Regularly monitor local news and social media to be informed of any upcoming protests.

– Comply with any demands made by security services.



Author: Henry Meyrick, Associate Analyst, Northcott Global Solutions




Northcott Global Solutions provides risk assessments, tracking, security escorts, personal protective equipment, remote medical assistance and emergency evacuation.