July 7, 2023 | Policy Brief

IDF Dismantles Terror Infrastructure in 48-Hour Operation in Jenin

On July 5, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from the Jenin Refugee Camp, concluding a significant but limited military operation in the northern West Bank in response to months of sustained terror attacks against Israelis. The operation involved limited fatalities on both sides, a rare outcome in dense urban combat settings, including 12 Palestinians— all identified by the IDF as militants — and one Israeli soldier from the elite Egoz unit.

Dubbed “Bayit v’Gan” — Hebrew for “house and garden” — the operation sought to dramatically degrade terrorist infrastructure in the Jenin camp, a hotbed for terrorism. According to the IDF, since last year, residents of Jenin carried out some 50 shooting attacks, and 19 wanted Palestinians have tried to evade Israeli forces by hiding out in Jenin. Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian terrorists have killed more than two dozen Israelis.

The Israeli operation involved roughly 2,000 soldiers and employed bulldozers, drones, and aircraft. During the operation, Israeli forces located multiple explosive manufacturing facilities, an underground tunnel network, weapons storage sites, and 11 improvised explosive devices intended for use against Israeli forces. The IDF also revealed that Palestinian terrorists were storing weapons and explosives in a mosque.

Although the IDF has denied ordering the evacuation of the camp, there was a sizable exodus at the onset of the fighting. Jenin Mayor Nidal Al-Obeidi said around 4,000 Palestinians fled, seeking refuge with relatives or shelters. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that “most” of the terrorists left Jenin ahead of the fighting.

Gallant also said the operation “fully achieved” its goal of restoring Israel’s ability to carry out security operations in the Jenin area. He went on to note that Iran is heavily involved in supporting terror in Jenin and the broader West Bank. Arms smuggling and increased funds have benefited U.S-designated terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas. These organizations have claimed responsibility for bombings and shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and security personnel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that, while a success, the operation was “not a one-time thing” and that Israel will not allow Jenin to become a “haven for terror.”

On July 5, in a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the White House supports Israel’s security and right to defend itself against terrorists.  

The United States must continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself as it continues to disassemble Iran-supported terror infrastructure in both the West Bank and Gaza. Washington should also commit to denying the Islamic Republic of Iran of any sanctions relief for as long as it sponsors terrorism. If what’s past is prologue, the Iranian regime will channel any financial gains from premature sanctions relief to the various terror proxies that threaten Israel, including those in Jenin.

Enia Krivine is senior director of the Israel Program and the National Security Network at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). Joe Truzman is an analyst and contributor to FDD’s Long War Journal. Follow Enia and Joe on Twitter respectively at @EKrivine and @JoeTruzman. Follow FDD on Twitter @FDD. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy.


Israel Jihadism Palestinian Politics