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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vows to rebuild Jenin

July 12, 2023

Mahmoud Abbas visited the West Bank refugee camp a week after parts were destroyed in an Israeli military operation.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaking to a throng of people in the Jenin refugee camp
President Abbas, who observers say has lost control of the West Bank, warned those who threaten his authority thereImage: Issam Rimawi/AA/picture alliance

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to rebuild the Jenin refugee camp while on a brief visit to the site, one week after it was targeted in a deadly Israeli military raid.

On his first trip to the Israeli-occupied West Bank in over a decade, Abbas called the camp an "icon of struggle."

The 87-year-old laid a wreath at the freshly dug graves of the people killed in last week's raid, then spoke to a crowd.

He promised to rebuild the camp and the city "to what it was, or even better."

Jenin refugee camp was heavily damaged in Israeli military operation

Last week, large sections of the Jenin refugee camp were destroyed during two days of intense Israeli military operations involving hundreds of troops supported by armed drones and armored bulldozers.

Twelve Palestinians, including militants and children, and one Israeli soldier were killed during the operation.

Last week's raid was the largest military operation in the area in nearly two decades. 

According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops dismantled six explosives-manufacturing facilities and three situation rooms in the area and also confiscated large quantities of weapons during the operations.

Israeli forces leave Jenin after two-day operation

Abbas warns Palestinian rivals

Abbas heads the Palestinian Authority (PA), the autonomous government that administers parts of the West Bank in cooperation with Israel.

However, the PA has largely lost control over several militant strongholds in the region, including Jenin.

Members of Abbas' security detail were deployed around the area and snipers were placed on rooftops along his route for the hourlong visit.

Speaking to the crowd gathered around him, Abbas threatened any armed groups "undermining" Palestinian security, saying: "There will be one authority and one security force. Anyone who seeks to undermine its unity and security will face the consequences. ... Any hand that reaches out to harm the people and their stability shall be cut off."

Jenin's refugee camp was created in 1953 to house some of the 750,000 Palestinians who were forced to flee their homes after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

Thousands flee Jenin refugee camp amid Israeli operation

js/ab (AFP, AP, dpa)