The Israeli army, on 5 September, carried out a massive military operation at the Nour Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem city, northern Occupied West Bank, leaving one Palestinian dead and several others injured, and badly damaging the camp’s infrastructure.
The Israeli military has been regularly targeting certain refugee camps across the West Bank since early this year.
The raids on these refugee camps trigger protests between the heavily armed Israeli forces and Palestinians who use whatever they possess – rifles and homemade explosives.
The camps that routinely come under Israeli fire are the Jenin refugee camp, the Balata refugee camp, the Nour Shams refugee camp, the Tulkarem refugee camp and the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp.
Jenin refugee camp
The Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank is considered the hottest area that witnesses Israeli military activities and confrontations with Palestinians.
Since the start of the year, the Israeli army has killed 73 Palestinians inside the camp, in addition to destroying buildings and its infrastructure.
According to Palestinian figures, nearly 80 per cent of the camp’s homes and shops were either severely damaged or lightly damaged during an Israeli military offensive in July.
Palestinian groups affiliated with Fatah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are also active in the camp, with a strong military presence.
In April 2002, the camp faced a major Israeli incursion that left at least 52 Palestinians dead and large-scale destruction.
The camp was established in 1953 by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), and is currently home to 12,000 Palestinians.
Nour Shams refugee camp
The Israeli army has, so far, killed five Palestinians in the Nour Shams refugee camp and carried out three military operations.
The main active Palestinian group in the camp is the Islamic Jihad group’s military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, in addition to other Palestinian groups.
The camp is home to some 7,000 Palestinians, living in a small area that does not exceed a square kilometre.
Tulkarem refugee camp
The Tulkarem refugee camp is located near the Nour Shams refugee camp in the northern West Bank and is home to 10,000 Palestinians.
The camp regularly faces Israeli attacks. On 11 August, the Israeli army raided the camp and killed a Palestinian after clashing with Palestinian fighters. The camp was established by UNRWA in 1950.
Aqbat Jabr refugee camp
The Aqbat Jabr refugee camp is located near Jericho city, in the eastern West Bank, and has so far experienced 10 military operations since the start of the year which targeted its armed battalion, known as the Aqbat Jabr Battalion.
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At least 11 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli forces inside the camp since early January.
The camp was established in 1948 following the Palestinian Nakba and is currently home to nearly 10,000 Palestinians.
Balata refugee camp
The Balata refugee camp is considered the biggest refugee camp in the West Bank with 16,000 Palestinians living there.
The camp is located in the east of Nablus city and has been regularly attacked by Israeli forces due to the presence of some Palestinian resistance groups.
The camp is also located near the Joseph’s Tomb site, which is regularly stormed by the Israeli settlers, prompting protests with the Palestinians.
At least 13 Palestinians have, so far, been killed by the Israeli forces in the camp since the start of the year.
‘Incubators for resistance’
For Palestinians, these refugee camps are a symbol of deprivation, refuge and expulsion from their homes by the Israeli forces
said Palestinian analyst Sulaiman Bsharat, the Director of the Ramallah-based Yabous for Consulting & Strategic Studies, an NGO.
Speaking to Anadolu, Bsharat said, since the Nakba in 1948, these Palestinian camps have been in a continued state of resistance and turmoil.
Bsharat said these camps are not affected by major social changes in towns and cities, as the refugees have preserved their national identity in the resistance and confrontation.
“The refugee camps are popular incubators for the resistance,” he said, noting that the camps were home to revolutionary Palestinian leaders.
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