Middle East

Israel considers routine use of air power in occupied West Bank

Israel is considering the routine use of air power against the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. This is one of the possibilities arising from a revamp of Israeli strategy for control and domination of the occupied territory using helicopters and drones. The proposal has been suggested by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and suggests that the apartheid state is mulling over the idea of taking major battlefield strategies into Palestinian territory.

According to Haaretz, the proposed revamp of the IDF’s West Bank strategy could see helicopters and drones being used to secure ground troops. They could also be used to shoot at armed resistance fighters.

The death of Israeli officer Noam Raz in a raid on occupied Jenin last week is said to have prompted the strategy review. Raz was wounded during a stand-off with Palestinian gunmen in Burqin, near the Jenin refugee camp, two days after the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the same area. He was taken to hospital but died of his wounds.

Palestinian Daoud Zubeidi was wounded during the lengthy standoff, and later succumbed to his wounds at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa. Israel is yet to return his body to his family. He is one of 54 Palestinians killed by Israel since the beginning of this year.

Zubeidi was a member of Fatah’s regional leadership in the Jenin refugee camp and a member of the armed wing of Fatah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. That is one of the main Palestinian groups which fought Israeli forces during the Second Intifada in the early 2000s.

READ: Scores of Palestinians wounded in Israel crackdown on Nakba demonstrations

Israel has been conducting raids in Jenin and other parts of the West Bank almost daily in recent weeks. The raids follow a series of deadly anti-occupation attacks inside the apartheid state by Palestinians from Jenin.

Housing around 14,000 people within a square mile, the Jenin refugee camp is administered by the United Nations and has endured some of the most brutal attacks by the Israeli army. In 2002 the camp was the scene of a massacre by occupation forces in which 52 Palestinians were killed.

Israel has used its attack helicopters in the occupied West Bank before, but only in special circumstances. However, if the new changes are approved, the use of air power may become another daily occurrence, especially in the Jenin area.

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