World

Hamas Vows to Resist New Israeli Attack on West Bank Amid Gaza Truce

A spokesperson for Hamas has told Newsweek that the Palestinian movement is committed to resisting Israeli forces conducting new operations in the West Bank amid a temporary ceasefire reached in the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

Reports emerged late Tuesday of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops and armored vehicles, including bulldozers, storming the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, conducting raids and destroying infrastructure. The IDF has long identified the densely populated site as a hub for Palestinian militant activity, while Palestinian officials have accused Israel of committing war crimes and stoking settler violence.

With no official reports released, an IDF spokesperson told Newsweek that Israeli forces are “currently conducting counterterrorism activities in the area.”

The news came in the lead-up to the final day of a recently extended truce that quieted what has been the deadliest-ever outburst in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The latest all-out war erupted on October 7 when Hamas and other Palestinian factions based in Gaza conducted an unprecedented surprise attack against Israel, followed by a historic IDF incursion into Gaza.

As clashes shifted to the West Bank, Hamas spokesperson Ghazi Hamad told Newsweek that “the ceasefire agreement is limited to the Gaza Strip only, but at the same time we are following what is happening in the West Bank in terms of serious violations of the occupation.”

“And we affirm our position to resist the occupation wherever it is,” he added.

Palestinians, at, funeral, in, Jenin, camp
A man prepares to fire in the air as Palestinian mourners, some holding Hamas and Fatah flags, attend the funeral of men killed in an overnight Israeli army raid in the Jenin refugee camp, in the West Bank, on November 17. While the ongoing war has played out largely in Israel and Gaza, the West Bank has also seen flare-ups of violence threatening to escalate amid a truce between the IDF and Hamas.
FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images

The IDF conducted its largest raid in two decades in Jenin in July amid what was already a historic spike in Israeli-Palestinian violence. Since war erupted last month, the IDF has conducted a number of incursions into the Palestinian city and its camp, including in recent weeks, leaving a number of Palestinians dead, including those Hamas said were among its ranks, in clashes.

An extensive IDF operation in Jenin conducted amid fierce fighting Sunday led to the arrest of a Palestinian man alleged by Israeli authorities to have been involved in an August shooting attack that killed two Israelis in the West Bank in August.

Divided into three areas of administration in line with the Oslo Accords reached three decades ago, the majority of the West Bank is under effective Israeli control, with the remainder split into sections of joint Israeli-Palestinian control and full Palestinian control. Jenin is located in the section under the administration of the Palestinian National Authority, though Israel has asserted the right to conduct operations there in response to the presence of armed Palestinian factions.

Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his administration have also seen their power steadily decline over the years as a result of increasing Israeli occupation and settler activity, growing support for Hamas and the rise of independent Palestinian factions.

As for Gaza, the Islamist Hamas movement took full control of the coastal territory amid a violent rift with the secular Fatah party, which is led by Abbas, in 2007. The schism, which followed Hamas’ success in the last Palestinian election to be held, came less than two years after the IDF disengaged from nearly four decades of occupation of Gaza that followed the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and a coalition of Arab countries led by Egypt and Syria.

The IDF has since fought five wars with Hamas in Gaza, the latest being by far the deadliest for both sides. Israeli officials have estimated that 1,200 people were killed by the Hamas-led assault, while Palestinian officials in Gaza have estimated the death toll there to exceed 15,000.

Meanwhile, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the war began, according to Palestinian officials. In addition to Hamas, a number of other armed Palestinian factions, including Fatah splinter groups, also maintain supporters in both Gaza and the West Bank who operate independently of the Palestinian National Authority’s security services.

The latest IDF raid on Jenin puts further pressure on the first ceasefire reached between Israel and Hamas since the war began after both sides accused one another of violating the terms earlier Tuesday.

The initial four-day truce, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, came into effect last Thursday with the aim of releasing prisoners and securing more humanitarian assistance for Gaza. It was then extended upon a new agreement reached Monday and is set to expire after Wednesday unless a new deal is reached.

This is a developing news story and more information will be added as it becomes available.