“We waited and waited for a long time, waiting for the UN, but the number of refugees has only increased; the only way is to use weapons and fight. We want to establish our State, where Muslims, Christians and Jews can live in peace, harmony and justice". Words of Yasser Arafat after being appointed in 1969 in Cairo as president of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The statement is contained in a black-and-white video that can be seen at the Yasser Arafat Museum, along with the mausoleum of the iconic Palestinian leader, a luminous white and glass cube, located next to the Muqataa, the headquarters of the Authority National Palestine (ANP), in Ramallah.
More than half a century later, the Palestinians continue to wait for the UN even though the PLO laid down its arms after the Oslo Accords of 1993. However, a small panel in this modern museum also recalls the creation of all two armed organizations - considered terrorists by the US and the EU, among other countries -, which are not members of the PLO and against which Israel is currently fighting in Gaza: the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (GIP), founded in 1986, and the Movement of Islamic Resistance (Hamas), created in 1987 with the underground support of Israel to weaken Al-Fatah, the party of Arafat and his successor, Mahmud Abbas, who last week turned 88 years old in his residence of the Muqataa.
After passing Israeli control at the border with the West Bank, coming from Tel Aviv, the main road leading to Ramallah has been blocked by the army since the start of the Gaza war, forcing vehicles to detour through a a winding road lined with green Hamas and black GIP flags, passing through small villages where Israeli troops only occasionally enter to carry out an operation against suspected members of armed groups.
The presence of both organizations and other armed groups such as those from Jenin in the West Bank - where three million Palestinians live - is anecdotal compared to Gaza, but even so Israel is exercising a ferocious intelligence control over its sympathizers to prevent the conflict from spreading to these occupied territories.
Since the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, the army has preemptively detained nearly 1,500 Palestinians in the West Bank, a thousand of whom are said to belong to Hamas, according to military sources.
The Commission for Express Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoners' Club assured yesterday, coinciding with World Children's Day, that of the arrests, there are 145 that correspond to minors and that, since by the beginning of 2023, the total number of children and teenagers arrested in the West Bank rises to 880. On the other hand, nearly 200 Palestinians have died since then, most of them killed by the army in selective actions that include use of drones, and others at the hands of Jewish settlers, who have found in the Gaza war an excuse to increase their persecution of Palestinians, especially farmers, with the aim of expanding their lands.
Meanwhile, Israel's military offensive and bombardments continue in Gaza, which have already killed more than 13,300 people, including around 5,600 minors. 387 Israeli soldiers have already died in actions of war, adding to the 1,200 victims killed by Hamas on October 7. In addition, the 240 hostages kidnapped in Gaza, 34 of whom are children.
The bombs claimed more lives yesterday, as they were dropped on the refugee camps of Al-Bureij and Nusseirat, in the central area of the strip. In the north, Israel ordered the evacuation of the Jabalia camp, where Israeli troops faced fighters from.
There were also ground clashes in Gaza City, according to Doctors Without Borders, which reported that its clinic in the capital of the strip had been shot down amid "intense fighting".
Not far from the Jabalia camp, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, Israeli artillery attacked the Indonesian hospital, in the city of Beit, very close to the northern border of the strip.
Indonesia is the second largest health complex in northern Gaza, after the Al-Xafi hospital, controlled by Israeli troops, who on Sunday authorized the evacuation of 31 premature babies, 28 of whom - the majority in critical – they were transferred to Egypt yesterday – 12, to Cairo – through the Rafah crossing. The remaining three - who were more serious - would continue in a center in the south of the strip, according to the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, although Egyptian media assured that they had already died .
Ghebreyesus has described Al-Xifa as a "death zone". After announcing on Sunday the discovery of an alleged tunnel used by Hamas in that hospital, the army released several videos it claimed came from the center's security cameras, with images recorded on October 7, in which observes the forced entry of several people, described as some of the hostages.
In Tel-Aviv and in the central area of Israel, the alarms sounded again yesterday, and on the northern border, the Hizbullah attacks of the last few days and the subsequent bombardments of the Israeli air force on targets of the Shia guerrillas in southern Lebanon.
And meanwhile, in the USA, President Biden told reporters yesterday that he "believes" that the agreement is close - with the mediation of Qatar - for Hamas to release a group of hostages in exchange for Israel accepting a cease-fire and putting release an undetermined number of Palestinian prisoners. Yesterday Benjamin Netanyahu and the War Cabinet met in Tel-Aviv with a large group of relatives of the kidnapped, who in recent days have redoubled the pressure on the Israeli Prime Minister.