CJPME Horrified by Israeli Airstrikes and Siege on Jenin Refugee Camp

Montreal, July 3, 2023 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is calling for urgent international action to stop Israel’s ongoing assault on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, whose use of airstrikes represents a major escalation of Israeli violence. Since early this morning, Israeli airstrikes, snipers, and ground forces have killed at least 8 Palestinians, including civilians and 2 children, and injured more than 100. CJPME warns that the full scale of the devastation may not come to light until medical teams are finally given full access to the camp.

“The scale of today’s horrifying assault on the Jenin refugee camp is reminiscent of the massacre during the Second Intifada,” said Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. In 2002, Israel launched a brutal 10-day bombardment and massacre of the refugee camp, killing at least 52 Palestinians and destroying huge swathes of the camp. “Canada must dissuade Israel from going down this same violent path again. Canada must intervene to protect refugees from Israeli aggression,” added Woodley.

In the early morning of Monday, July 3, Israeli forces launched a major invasion of the Jenin refugee camp, which is densely inhabited by about 13,000 people. Israel deployed airstrikes against Palestinian homes and civilian facilities while ground forces blocked the entrances to the camp, preventing ambulances from reaching the wounded. Israeli military vehicles bulldozed roads into rubble, and the destruction of infrastructure has forced the shutdown of water, electricity, and internet services. Eyewitness accounts and video footage shows that Israeli forces deliberately fired at civilian targets including a hospital, Red Crescent medical teams, and a team of journalists as they were broadcasting from the scene. At least 500 families have been forcibly evacuated in anticipation of further bloodshed.

CJPME warns that Israel’s recent adoption of airstrikes in the occupied West Bank appears to indicate an intent to escalate its methods of violence against Palestinian communities. At least 153 Palestinians have already been killed in the occupied West Bank this year, making it the deadliest year in the West Bank since at least 2005. Only weeks ago, an Israeli military invasion of Jenin killed 7 people, including 2 children. On Friday, Canada joined the UK and Australia in a joint statement “deeply troubled by the continued violence and loss of life in Israel and in the West Bank,” but such milquetoast “both sides” statements whitewash the brutal realities of Israel’s 56-year-old occupation. Canada has not commented on the latest attack on the Jenin refugee camp.