The situation is tragic in Jenin Camp in the West Bank in the aftermath of the Israeli military aggression on July 5, 2023. Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett justified the killing of four Palestinian children by claiming they were fighters. This sparked controversy, leading to an apology from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) after pro-Israel and extremist Jewish groups in Britain criticized them.
The extent of the damage inflicted on the camp and its residents, particularly children, has become evident. The camp suffered severe destruction, with many housing units completely destroyed or uninhabitable. Schools were damaged, depriving children of education, and infrastructure such as roads, water networks, and sewage systems were destroyed. The camp faced shortages of food, healthcare, and medical resources, further exacerbated by the damage to the UNRWA health center. The camp’s cemetery was overwhelmed with bodies, forcing residents to dig more burial grounds.
Approximately 3,500 Palestinians, or around 500 families, were forced to evacuate the camp, causing devastating physical and psychological effects. Although most families have returned to their homes, at least 40 families remain internally displaced due to uninhabitable homes. The camp’s water and sanitation systems were severely damaged, leaving the population without clean water and sanitation supplies. The electricity network was also destroyed, resulting in a lack of electricity.
Children have been the primary victims of the occupation’s practices in Jenin Camp over the years, experiencing displacement, violence, and psychological trauma. In response to the recent attack, organizations like UNRWA prioritize protecting children, restoring essential services, and providing emergency cash assistance to affected families. UNRWA managed to reopen its schools, but many children fear leaving their homes. Mental health and psychosocial support are crucial for the children who have suffered severe shock.
Immediate needs include healthcare, rehabilitation of the damaged health center, restoration of water and sanitation systems, support for families in uninhabitable homes, food distribution, and providing school supplies. The Palestinian Network for Early Childhood Development emphasized the need for comprehensive and swift action to protect children, ensure access to education, and provide mental health and psychosocial support. Strengthening family and community support systems and enhancing psychological and social well-being are also essential.
Read our article on the latest Israeli offensive in Jenin here.