The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

‘Why did this happen?’

Israel’s raid on Jenin, through the eyes of one family

Hussein Shibly looks out Saturday from his home, which was damaged in the Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank this month. (Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post)

Steve Hendrix and Sufian Taha, The Washington Post, July 9, 2023

JENIN REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank — Hussein Shibly walked home after Friday prayers through a city struggling to return from devastation to mere poverty. A bulldozer lifted a crushed car; men patched bullet holes in a rooftop water tank; a fire engine washed soot from a crowded street.

Reaching his family’s home, Shibly climbed the stairs to a living room, reduced to a charred cave by a shoulder-fired missile. “Is this fit to live in?” he asked, standing among the blackened skeletons of couches and chairs. “Why did this happen to us?”

Shibly and his neighbors are reeling from Israel’s largest military operation in the occupied West Bank in decades, a two-day incursion that unleashed firefights and air attacks on these steep streets densely packed with houses.

Israeli forces launch major operation in West Bank city, killing at least 8

Israel said the assault on the Jenin refugee camp, long known as a bastion of armed Palestinian militancy, was a security imperative — to erode the strength of an expanding terrorist base. At least 50 attacks inside Israel this year originated here, officials said. The 12 Palestinians killed in the operation were all known militants, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

But for families trapped in the camp by fighting, it was 44 hours of terror. Thousands of residents did manage to flee. Others hunkered down in bedrooms and bathrooms. Few suffered the range of horrors endured by the Shiblys.

Jenin camp residents clean up Friday after the destruction inflicted during the Israeli military operation July 3 and 4. (Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post)

The paved surface of the camp’s main road was bulldozed during the raid as a measure against hidden explosive devices. (Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post)

Hussein, 69, was up late watching television Sunday, his usual routine after years spent working the night shift at an Israeli meat processing plant. He was born in this camp, where at least 14,000 people, possibly many more, are packed into an area measuring less than half a square kilometer. Poverty and unemployment are rampant. Raids by Israeli commandos are common.

That night, rumors of a big operation were swirling. But no one knew what was coming.

Around 1 a.m. Monday, Hussein saw a report on Israeli news: IDF soldiers had entered the camp. Then he heard drones, many of them. “They are going to bomb,” he thought. Then came an explosion.

The Shibly family lives in nine apartments in three connected houses owned by Hussein and his two brothers. They are accustomed to Israeli raids. Within minutes, dozens of members of the extended family had rushed to the basement.

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Emergency Aid for Jenin and Petition to Congress

As you know Jenin recently endured an especially deadly and destructive assault by the Israeli armed forces.  (See this AlJazeera link for details, pictures and videos).

Please consider donating to the emergency relief campaign organized by our friends at the Middle East Children’s Alliance, details below. You can also send a check to MECA’s mailing address below.

Please sign this petition to Congress from Jewish Voice for Peace condemning Israel’s military invasion of Jenin.

You may also want to read these analytical articles:

Middle East Children's Alliance

Dear Friend of Palestinian Children,

“ … it was impossible for the inhabitants of Jenin to sleep, young and old alike. My daughter, Salma, was terrified by the blaring warning sirens that announced the army’s incursion, her tears flowing uncontrollably.”

Mustafa Sheta, Director of MECA’s partner The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp Palestine wrote these words on July 3rd as the Israeli occupation forces launched a brutal invasion of Jenin.

You can read Mustafa’s full account here but first, please make the most generous contribution you can so local initiatives can get aid to people immediately.

For 48 hours the people in the crowded and besieged refugee camp experienced an unbelievable nightmare. The ground shook with the boom of explosions; rounds of Israel’s artillery and machine gun fire drowned out ambulance sirens and shouts and screams. Roads were littered with bullet casings and broken glass, and the air was filled with teargas. In scenes reminiscent of the Nakba, Israeli soldiers tear-gassed children and parents as they fled the refugee camp, their home since they were expelled from their villages 75 years ago, in search of somewhere safer.

3,000 people were displaced, 140 were injured (20 in critical condition) and 13 were killed, including four children.  Homes, roads, water networks, schools, clinics, and community centers are damaged or destroyed.  The physical and psychological damage is immense.

Please don’t wait.

Make your secure online contribution now so that MECA’s Palestinian partners in Jenin can continue to deliver food, water, first aid, and more to the traumatized and displaced children in Jenin.  

With appreciation for your solidarity and support,
The entire MECA Team

Middle East Children’s Alliance
1101 8th Street, Suite 100
Berkeley, CA 94710

In Jenin, Israel is unveiling the next phase of apartheid

Palestinians in West Bank cities are fast discovering that if their expulsion won’t be possible, Gazafication will be their future.

Palestinians gather around parts of an Israeli armored vehicle after it was destroyed during clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters in the West Bank city of Jenin, June 19, 2023. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
Palestinians gather around parts of an Israeli armored vehicle after it was destroyed during clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters in the West Bank city of Jenin, June 19, 2023. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Amjad Iraqi, +972 Magazine, June 30, 2023

This article originally appeared in “The Landline,” +972’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe here.

The horrifying sight of settler pogroms last week, in which hundreds of Israelis rampaged through Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank after a deadly shooting in the settlement of Eli, has pushed Israel’s security authorities into a very uncomfortable corner. Embarrassed by the viral images of burning homes, charred vehicles, and destroyed businesses, the army, police, and Shin Bet jointly denounced the attacks as “nationalist terrorism” that “contradict every moral and Jewish value.” The IDF has been particularly eager to present itself as a responsible body that will restore law and order, promising to take every measure against those “who act in a violent and extreme manner inside the Palestinian towns.”

Putting aside the glaring fact that the army is one of the principal institutions providing settlers with the resources, protection, and confidence to carry out such wanton violence, there is another reason why this public relations maneuver should be called out for the farce that it is.

On June 19, just days before the pogroms, an Israeli Apache helicopter fired missiles into the West Bank city of Jenin during a fierce battle between raiding army units and Palestinian fighters, purportedly to “provide cover” for evacuating wounded soldiers; five Palestinians including a 15-year-old boy were killed, and 90 were injured. Two days later, an Israeli drone fired at a Palestinian militant cell near Jenin, said to target gunmen responsible for several attacks including at a checkpoint. Both operations were quickly overshadowed in the ensuing days by the Eli shooting and the settler violence that followed.

Far from being one-off incidents, the aerial assaults reveal a dangerous phase in the evolution of Israel’s occupation. The air strikes are reportedly the first in the West Bank in two decades, awakening the nightmares of many Palestinians who ran for cover or suffered wounds from helicopter attacks during the Second Intifada. In that time, though, aerial warfare became the modus operandi in the Gaza Strip, accelerated by Israel’s withdrawal of its settlements in 2005 and the total blockade of the territory following Hamas’ takeover.

Palestinians in Gaza protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Jenin following Israeli military raids into the West Bank city, at the Israel-Gaza border fence, east of Gaza City, June 19, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

Palestinians in Gaza protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Jenin following Israeli military raids into the West Bank city, at the Israel-Gaza border fence, east of Gaza City, June 19, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

This reconfiguration of military rule has intentionally produced a physical and psychological separation between the West Bank and Gaza, abetted by the fratricidal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas. As that distance normalized, the two territories became regarded as disconnected and incomparable. Even well-meaning advocates — in their heavy focus on settlements and annexation — often fell into the trap of forgetting Gaza outside the scope of wartime, deeming it an anomaly in the context of the “one-state reality.” But as many activists, scholars, and experts have warned, the structures used to confine and suppress Gaza are not a deviation from Israel’s methodology, but a natural continuation of it. And that was made clear over the skies of Jenin last week.

Like Gaza, Jenin has long been a center of Palestinian social life and political resistance — and as such, a target of vicious repression. For over a year, the Israeli army has carried out a deadly and protracted operation in the city, repeatedly closing off the region while ground troops break into civilian homes and destroy public infrastructure on a near-weekly basis. The Palestinian armed groups, led by young men who have only known a life of despair and death, have put up a relentless fight, and have recently shown that they can make it even more difficult for Israeli troops to invade — a fact that forced the army to desperately turn to air power last week. The bombardment of a populated urban area, together with the city’s collective punishment, is further justified by the demonization of Jenin as a “cesspool of terrorism” requiring constant intervention — in essence, the same doctrine of “mowing the lawn” that is applied in the blockaded strip a few kilometers away.

As such, Gaza is hardly an exception to the rule of Israeli apartheid. Rather, it is the ultimate bantustan — the model for controlling and weakening a native population in a besieged space, using modern weapons and technology, with local rulers to handle their basic needs, at minimal cost to the settler society surrounding them. West Bank centers like Jenin and Nablus, already subjected to various forms of closure and invasion, are now catching a glimpse of what is yet to come. For many people there, the main experience of Israelis may no longer be of raiding troops or marauding settlers, but of soaring jets and humming drones. If the expulsion of Palestinians won’t be possible, Gazafication will be their future.

That is why it is a morbid joke to hear IDF Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi, days after the settler pogroms, preaching at an army commencement ceremony: “An officer who sees an Israeli citizen, intending to throw a Molotov cocktail at a Palestinian house and stands idly by, cannot be an officer.” The army may feign distress over settlers committing “nationalist terrorism,” but it openly commands its soldiers to do the same, so long as it is done in uniform. Either way, despite Halevi’s claim, it is clear that an Israeli who oversees brutal violence in Gaza can easily find a path to becoming a general-turned-politician. An Israeli inciting the same violence in the West Bank, meanwhile, can now aspire to become minister of national security.

The Armed Revolt: Why Israel Cannot Crush the Resistance in Palestine

Palestinian residents confront Israeli occupation forces in the Shuafat refugee camp. (Photo: via

Ramzy Baroud, July 1, 2023

Numbers can be dehumanizing. However, when placed in their proper context, they help to illuminate wider issues and answer urgent questions, such as why is Occupied Palestine at the threshold of a major revolt. And why Israel cannot crush Palestinian resistance no matter how hard, or violently, it tries.

That’s when numbers become relevant. Since the start of this year, nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza. Among them are 27 children.

If one is to imagine a heat map correlating the towns, villages, and refugee camps of the Palestinian victims to the ongoing armed rebellion, one will immediately spot direct connections. Gaza, Jenin, and Nablus, for example, paid the heaviest price for Israeli violence, making them the regions that resist the most.

Unsurprisingly, Palestinian refugees have historically been at the forefront of the Palestinian liberation movement, turning refugee camps such as Jenin, Balata, Aqabat Jabr, Jabaliya, Nuseirat and others, into hot spots of popular and armed resistance. The harder Israel attempts to crush Palestinian resistance, the greater the Palestinian reaction is.

Take Jenin as an example. The rebellious refugee camp has never ceased its resistance to the Israeli occupation since the famous battle and subsequent Israeli massacre of April 2002. The resistance continued there in all of its forms, despite the fact that many of the fighters who defended the camp against the Israeli invasion of the Second Palestinian Uprising, or Intifada were killed or imprisoned.

Now that a new generation has taken over, Israel is at it again. Military incursions of Jenin by Israel have become a routine, resulting in a mounting number of casualties, though at a price for Israel itself.

The most notable and violent of these incursions was on January 26, when the Israeli army invaded the camp, killed ten Palestinians, and wounded over twenty others.

More Palestinians continue to be killed as Israeli raids become more frequent. And the more recurrent the raids, the tougher the resistance, which has swelled beyond the confines of Jenin itself to nearby illegal Jewish settlements, military checkpoints, and so on. It is common knowledge that many of the Palestinians who Israel accuses of carrying out operations against its soldiers and settlers come from Jenin.

Israelis may want to think of their violence in Palestine as self-defense. But that is simply inaccurate. A military occupier, whether in Palestine – or anywhere else, for that matter – cannot, by strict legal definition, be in a state of self-defense. The latter concept only applies to sovereign nations that attempt to defend against threats at or within their internationally recognized borders.

Not only is Israel defined by the international community and law as an ‘Occupying Power’, but it is also legally obligated to “ensure that the civilian population is protected against all acts of violence,” as a statement by the Secretary-General of the United Nations stated on June 20.

The statement was a reference to the killing of eight Palestinians in Jenin, a day earlier. The victims included two children, Sadil Ghassan Turkman, 14, and Ahmed Saqr, 15. Needless to say, Israel is not invested in the ‘protection’ of these and other Palestinian children. It is the entity that is doing the harm.

But since the UN and others within the international community are content with the issuing of statements – ‘reminding Israel’ of its responsibility, expressing ‘deep concerns’ about the situation or, in the case of Washington, even blaming Palestinians – what other options do Palestinians have, but to resist?

The rise of the Lions’ Den, the Jenin Brigades, the Nablus Brigades, and many other such groups and brigades, made mostly of poor and poorly armed Palestinian refugees, is hardly a mystery. One fights when one is oppressed, humiliated, and routinely violated. This role has governed human relations and conflicts since the very beginning.

But the rise of the Palestinians must be distressing for those who want to maintain the status quo. One is the Palestinian Authority.

The PA stands to lose much if the Palestinian revolt spreads beyond the boundaries of the northern West Bank. PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who enjoys little legitimacy, will have no political role to play. Without such a role, however artificial, foreign funds will quickly dry, and the party will be over.

For Israel, the stakes are also high.

The Israeli military under the leadership of Netanyahu’s enemy, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, wants to escalate the fight against Palestinians without repeating the full-scale cities invasion of 2002. But the internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, is becoming keener on a full-scale crackdown.

Far-right Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich wants to exploit the violence as a pretense to expand illegal settlements. Another far-right politician, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, is searching for a civil war, led by the most violent of Jewish settlers, the very core of his political constituency.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is struggling with his own political and legal woes, is trying to give everyone a little of what they want, but all at once. The paradoxes are a recipe for chaos.

This has resulted in Gallant’s reactivation of aerial assassinations of Palestinian activists, for the first time since the Second Intifada. The first such strikes took place in the Jalameh region near Jenin on June 21.

Meanwhile, the Shin Bet is expanding its list of targets. More assassinations are surely to follow.

Concurrently, Smotrich is already planning a massive expansion of illegal settlements. And Ben Gvir is dispatching hordes of settlers to carry out pogroms in peaceful Palestinian villages. The inferno of Huwwara on February 26 was repeated in Turmus’ayya on June 21.

Though the US and its Western partners may continue to refrain from intervening in supposed ‘internal Israeli affairs’, they should carefully consider what is taking place in Palestine. This is not business as usual.

The next Intifada in Palestine will be armed, non-factional, and popular, with consequences that are too difficult to gauge.

Though for Palestinians an uprising is a cry against injustice in all its forms, for the likes of Smotrich and Ben Gvir, violence is a strategy towards settlement expansion, ethnic cleansing, and civil war. Considering the pogroms of Huwwara and Turmus’ayya, the civil war has already begun.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is

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Israeli forces invade West Bank city, killing at least 8 Palestinians

West Bank residents reported gunfire, drones and explosions as Israel launched extensive air and ground attacks on occupied Jenin early July 3. (Video: Reuters)

Steve Hendrix and Niha Masih, The Washington Post, July 3, 2023

JERUSALEM — About 1,000 Israeli soldiers backed by drone strikes stormed Jenin on Monday, targeting a militant “operational command center” in the most expansive Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank in two decades.

The assaults marked the start of an “extensive counterterrorism effort” centered on the densely populated Jenin refugee camp, according to Israeli officials, and were ongoing as of Monday afternoon local time. At least eight people were killed and 80 injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, with 17 in critical condition. The Israel Defense Forces said the operation would continue indefinitely.

“We’ll do it as long as it is needed; there is no timeline on this right now,” Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an IDF spokesman, told reporters. Another Palestinian was shot and killed by soldiers near the city of Ramallah while protesting the Jenin attack.

New weapons, tactics further entangle U.S. in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Gunfire, drones and explosions were reported by Jenin residents and in videos posted on social media. Residents reported receiving text messages from Israeli numbers that warned them to stay inside for their protection. Separate messages directed at militants advised them to “surrender yourself for your safety and the safety of those around you.”

400 Israeli Settlers Attacked the Palestinian Town of Turmus’ayya

Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU)

The Appaling Case of Palestinian-American Omar Asaad

Killers walk free after farcical internal ‘investigation’

June 17, 2023

Yesterday, the Israeli military announced it was closing the case over the death of Omar Asaad, the Palestinian-American octogenarian killed under brutal circumstances in January 2022. The soldiers involved in detaining Asaad in the Palestinian town of Jiljilya had dragged him from his vehicle, zip-tied his wrists, blindfolded him, gagged him, and left him unconscious on the cold ground overnight. Asaad was found dead the next day. According to the Israeli army’s chief legal body, the soldiers involved in Asaad’s murder would not face any charges after an internal Israeli investigation found no evidence that the cardiac arrest Mr. Asaad suffered was due to his detainment by the soldiers. 

Mr. Asaad was 80 years old and the first high-profile case of a Palestinian-American killed by Israel in 2022. Aljazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was the second, killed in May of that year as well. 

When asked about whether the US government was notified by Israel about the closing of this case, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller responded with “I’ll take that one back and find out if we have.”  Later, the State Department said they were speaking ‘directly’ with the Israelis on the matter of Asaad’s case. 

That’s all we get as far as accountability for US citizens murdered by Israel in cold blood. Whether neglect over the case of Omar Asaad or the overt cover-up of the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh, the US government continues to enable Israel’s war crimes by establishing a culture of impunity that implies carte blanche approval. Even when it is clear the act Israel is committing constitutes a war crime–as in the case of Asaad and Abu Akleh–the US government takes no meaningful steps to hold Israel accountable and prevents others from doing so. 

Furthermore, US reliance on Israel’s internal investigations and military law enforcement to take appropriate measures to hold its soldiers accountable is completely farcical. As Israeli rights group Yesh Den reports, from 2017 to 2021 hundreds of complaints against Israeli soldiers were filed and less than 1 percent were prosecuted. Of those convicted of harming Palestinians, the military courts handed extremely lenient sentences, continuing the unfettered impunity. Even after Israel admits to ‘mistakenly’ killing Palestinians as in the case of Shireen Abu Akleh earlier this year and 2-year-old Mohammed al-Tamimi this week, the US government takes no meaningful action. 

It has become abundantly clear that there are two separate classes of citizens in America. By not offering Palestinian Americans protection from Israel’s crimes, the US government is sending a strong message that Palestinian Americans are not deserving of the same rights as all Americans. Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights will continue unabated unless the US takes seriously the implications of what it means that US citizens are killed without accountability abroad.

We must honor the memory of every Palestinian lost to Israel’s brutal violence by continuing to demand accountability and an end to Israel’s impunity. 

In solidarity,

American Muslims for Palestine

Hebron Emergency Caves Project

We are getting closer to our goal of providing emergency housing to one family in the Masafer Yatta area of the South Hebron Hills.

The need is urgent; since we first took this on, demolitions have proceeded including the Sfai school, which was demolished for the third time in spite of international appeals.

Please read the message below from Cassandra Dixon, and then consider a donation to help us provide shelter to one of many families. Every amount helps.

Donate online, or send a check payable to MRSCP marked “Caves” to:

P.O. Box 5214
Madison, WI 53705

So far, we have raised just over half of the $2000 needed, thanks to those who have already donated.

As always, thanks for your generous support!

A Message from Cassandra Dixon

Dear Friends,

I’ve been visiting Palestine as a volunteer for more than a dozen years, and because I earn my living as a carpenter, people always ask me if I got to build anything over there.  I’ve always had to say no.

But my trip this spring was different. Before I was struck and injured by an Israeli settler, I was able to help friends in a village slated for demolition by Israel to create a home in a naturally occurring cave — making the space taller, dividing the living areas, and even creating a rock niche for a TV.

The renovation of caves is a brilliant and desperate effort on the part of these families to remain on their land if the threatened demolitions are carried out. Even if Israeli bulldozers reduce their homes, schools, and barns to broken stones, they intend to stay.

I’ll be returning to Masafer Yatta this fall for the trial of the settler who assaulted me, and I hope to be able to visit the homes of families who have become so dear to me. But the Israeli high court has cleared the way for the military to demolish the villages at any time. So I am grateful that the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project has taken on this Palestinian-led project to create safe, clean living spaces for these families as they nonviolently resist forced removal from their lands. I hope you will join me in donating to this campaign.

Cassandra Dixon

Israeli agents conducted raid against militants in civilian area, killing a child

Videos from a March 16 raid in Jenin show increasingly deadly tactics by Israeli officers

See the Washington Post article for videos and a 3D reconstruction of the March 16 Israeli raid in central Jenin in the West Bank. (Telegram/The Washington Post)

Imogen Piper, Meg Kelly and Louisa Loveluck, Washington Post, May 26, 2023

The traffic was barely moving on March 16 in central Jenin, an unusually busy Thursday afternoon in the West Bank. With the holy month of Ramadan just days away, restaurants were full and shoppers wove between cars as they hustled from store to store.

A father pushed a stroller past a silver sedan. Inside the car, Israeli undercover agents were in place, waiting to carry out an operation against two Palestinian militants who were walking nearby. Omar Awadin, age 14, pedaled by on his bicycle, having just completed his last errand of the day.

Moments later, four plainclothes security forces burst from a second silver sedan nearby in pursuit of the militants and opened fire.

Such scenes are increasingly common in the West Bank, where more than 3 million Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation and a new generation of militants has risen to prominence. Israel says raids like this one are vital to disrupting terrorist networks and protecting its citizens from attack; Palestinian officials say they are war crimes that should be referred to the International Criminal Court.

Israeli military operations have long been a fixture of life here, but they once happened mostly at night, and usually ended in apprehensions. This year, under the most right-wing government in Israeli history, a growing number of incursions have been carried out during the day, in densely packed urban areas such as Jenin. As of May 15, 108 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including militants and civilians, had been killed by Israeli forces, according to the United Nations, more than double last year’s toll from the same period. At least 19 were children — including Omar, who was fatally shot during the raid in Jenin.

The Washington Post synchronized 15 videos and reviewed dozens more from March 16, including CCTV footage from surrounding businesses, some of which took nearly a month to surface. The Post also spoke to nine witnesses and obtained testimonies from four others to produce a 3D reconstruction of the raid.

The analysis yielded three key findings:

  • Israeli forces killed Omar. Israeli authorities have not publicly commented on his death.
  • Omar was among at least 16 civilians in the area as the officers charged down the street with AR-style rifles and a handgun, firing more than 20 shots and killing the two militants, neither of whom was visibly armed. Israeli authorities referred to the militants as “armed suspects” in an initial statement but provided no evidence to support their claim.
  • One of the militants was shot multiple times by Israeli forces after he was incapacitated — an apparent extrajudicial execution that experts said could violate Israeli law.

The raid additionally appeared to violate an international ban on extrajudicial killings, experts consulted by The Post said, arguing that the illegality was magnified by the fact that the militants appeared to pose no imminent threat, coupled with the presence of so many civilians.

The raid was conducted by Yamam, the elite unit of Israel’s border police that focuses on counterterrorism operations, including raids in civilian areas.

Dean Elsdunne, a spokesman for the Israeli police, said that security forces were in the area to “apprehend terrorists responsible for shooting attacks on IDF soldiers, some production of bombs and other terrorist activities.”

In response to initial questions about Omar, Israeli police said in an email to The Post that “the subject of your inquiry took an active part in the violent riot while endangering the lives of the troops.” It’s unclear what riot they were referring to, but the visual evidence reviewed by The Post showed no such riot before the shootings took place.

The police declined to review The Post’s evidence or to respond to follow-up questions.

Previously unreported files from the trove of classified U.S. documents recently leaked online through the Discord messaging platform highlight mounting American concerns that Israeli incursions in the West Bank — including a Feb. 22 raid in Nablus where Israeli troops fired into a group of civilians — would jeopardize international efforts to de-escalate violence in the region.

One secret assessment of a March 7 raid in Jenin warned that it “will almost certainly prompt Palestinian militants to retaliate.”

The raid

Omar spent the day of March 16 delivering packages for his father’s medical supply shop. At about 3:10 p.m., he dropped off his last package at a nearby pharmacy, CCTV footage obtained by The Post shows.

The eldest of the family’s three children and the only boy, Omar was exceptionally kind, his mother recalled, always trying to include other children who did not have the same advantages. He loved to joke around and would go swimming or hiking on his days off.

After leaving the shop, he cycled past his father, who was driving in the opposite direction. “We met by chance,” his father, Mohammad Awadin, said. “He asked for 10 shekels to buy some clothes, but there was a police officer behind me so I couldn’t stop.”

As Omar made his way back to his father’s shop, the raid began.

Just a few feet away from him, two Palestinian militants — Nidal Khazem, 28, and Yousef Shreim, 29 — walked side by side along the street. Khazem and Shreim passed the second silver sedan, now stopped in traffic, where Yamam agents were waiting.

Then at least three gunshots were fired from behind the two men. Khazem was hit and fell to the ground.

Four members of the Israeli security forces in street clothes appeared in quick succession. Two later shot Khazem’s prone body, according to video reviewed by The Post.

The Post identified at least 16 civilians in the immediate vicinity, including Omar, as officers opened fire.

A CCTV camera captured Shreim running, tripping and tumbling toward the pavement into a group of three civilians at that same moment, according to multiple videos synchronized by The Post. (The CCTV’s time stamp is incorrect.)

A third CCTV camera shows the moment just before Omar was shot and fell off his bike.

After at least two of the Israeli officers pointed their weapons in Shreim’s direction, a single bullet struck Omar in the back. It’s not clear which Israeli officer fired the fatal shot.

Shreim found his balance and continued to run, video shows. As he turned a corner, another barrage of gunfire followed. Israeli forces fired at least five times after he was first hit, video shows. His body visibly convulsed with the additional fire.

The officers then retreated back toward their vehicle. Two — one holding a handgun, the other a rifle — crouched down next to Khazem’s body and shot him in the head at point-blank range.

The Post blurred sections of the video because of its graphic nature.

Roughly 25 yards away, Omar lay on his side and rolled to his stomach.

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Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition hosts Nelson Mandela’s grandson at launch of Nakba tour

Sandra Whitehead, Wisconsin Muslim Journal, May 23, 2023

Photos by Mouna Photography

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the grandson of globally respected icon of resistance against injustice Nelson Mandela, meets members of Milwaukee’s Muslim community.

About 40 community and interfaith leaders joined the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition at the Islamic Resource Center in Greenfield May 15 to welcome the grandson of anti-apartheid activist and South Africa’s first president Nelson Mandela on the launch of his six-city U.S. tour to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland.

Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition president Janan Najeeb (left) welcomes activist and South African parliament member Nkosi Mandela (center) to the Islamic Resource Center in Greenfield.

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the South African parliament member and chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, repeated the well-known message of his grandfather: “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians.” In his weeklong U.S. tour, Mandela spoke in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

Following the dinner at the IRC, Mandela began his tour with a speech at Turner Hall in Milwaukee in which he called on the audience to consider what they could do individually and collectively to support the Palestinian cause. He spoke about how the BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) had been effective in South Africa and would work to liberate Palestinians.

“His message was uplifting,” said MMWC president and IRC director Janan Najeeb. “If it is possible for South Africa to be free after 350 years of colonialism and six decades of apartheid, it is possible for Palestinians to also one day be free.”

 MMWC president Janan Najeeb (left) welcomed community leaders to a reception for South African activist and parliamentarian Nkosi Mandela (right). Haitham Salawah (center) represented the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, which co-sponsored Mandela’s U.S. tour.

Continuing his grandfather’s legacy

Haitham Salawdeh, the U.S. Palestinian Community national treasurer and Milwaukee chapter co-chair, introduced Chief Mandela. The national tour was hosted by the U.S. Palestinian Community Network and the National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression. Madison for Palestine was also instrumental in bringing Mandela for this tour.

Salawdeh thanked Mandela for visiting six U.S. cities “to tell the story of our people. Coming from the leadership of anti-apartheid and speaking on the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, your visit here today is historic.”

After thanking USPCN and Madison for Palestine for the invitation, Mandela said, “When the invitation came, I immediately accepted the call to duty.”

He shared a story about his first experience of meeting his grandfather “at the young, tender age of 9-years-old in Pollsmoor Prison “I met my grandfather at the young, tender age of 9-years-old in Pollsmoor Prison … It was in 1983. I didn’t know where I was going or who I was going to meet. Suddenly, I saw him coming down the corridor.”

After his grandfather hugged members of the family, he turned to Nkosi. “You must be my grandson.

“I had 100 questions in my head. I saw bars on every window and every door. This was clearly a prison and if my grandfather was in prison, he had shamed our family. For a 9-year-old boy, a prison is a place for those who have done wrong in society. I became very angry and very bitter from that experience.”

He learned later that his grandfather wrote a letter to his friend Helen Joseph, a white woman who was a South African anti-apartheid activist.

He told her he recently had a visit from his grandson whose English was bad and would she please assist him. “It was the only letter I ever saw from my grandfather that was not heavily censored,” he said.

Young Nkosi was embarrassed because “my grandfather thinks I can’t speak English,” but what his elder was really communicating to his comrade was that his grandson didn’t know who his grandfather was and the ideals and principles he stood for. He wasn’t familiar with the struggle for liberation. He was asking Joseph to educate his grandson about the cause.

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