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HomeWorldNew generation of Palestinians fighting Israeli raids | Close Up

New generation of Palestinians fighting Israeli raids | Close Up


By: Al Jazeera close up

We rarely get access to the Jenin Battalion as they fight back against Israeli incursions into the occupied West Bank.

“I have no choice but to carry my rifle and resist until I die, because as things stand I am dead while I breathe.”

Abu Aseel, not his real name, believes that resorting to guns is the only way to protect himself and his family, who live in Jenin, a Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank. Like many young men from the impoverished refugee camp, Abu Aseel has taken up arms and joined the Jenin Battalion, a relatively new armed group created to keep Israeli forces out of the city.

Angered by years of Israeli restrictions and exposed to violence as a young boy during the battle of Jenin in April 2002 – which resulted in the deaths of dozens of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli forces – Abu Aseel argues that nothing can be expected of him but violence . “They come here to invade our camp and our houses and they ask us why we carry guns?” he adds. “If they come to invade my house and my family is in the house, then of course I will resist. I would rather die than watch this happen.”

Meanwhile, Mariam Mohammad Ahmed Qassem, whose son was also a fighter in the Jenin Battalion, talks about how the state of degradation in which Palestinian communities live causes anger in children and drives them to aggression. A few months ago, her son was shot dead during an Israeli military strike. “There’s no point in arguing, he chose his path,” she says. “But I’m proud of him for defending his country and his country.”

In this episode of Close Up, we head to the occupied West Bank and gain rare access to Palestinian fighters from the Jenin Battalion as they prepare to engage the Israeli army in what they see as the legitimate defense of their city.


Executive Producer: Donald Cameron

Director/Producer: Tierney Bonini

Editor: Khaled Ahmad Mohamad

Assistant Producer: Antonia Perello

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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