A Christian residing in Jenin, West Bank, expressed grave concerns over the escalating violence in the region, fearing a potential second Israeli invasion akin to the situation in Gaza.
In an interview with Vatican News, Professor Walid Basha, who is also a microbiology professor at An-Najah National University, lamented the surge in violence since Israel’s declaration of war on Hamas after the October 7th attacks.
The West Bank has witnessed a surge in violence, with Israeli settlers expanding settlements and reinforcing Israel’s control over the territory administered by the Palestinian National Authority.
In just over five weeks, the conflict has claimed the lives of at least 190 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry.
Jenin, a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is experiencing unprecedented fear. The city, home to a densely populated refugee camp, saw 15 young people lose their lives in clashes with Israeli forces on October 9th.
Despite efforts by the “Freedom Theater” to foster dialogue, hopes for reconciliation in Jenin have dwindled.
Basha said, “As I speak to you, we are sitting at home waiting for the invasion; we don’t know when it will happen or how. It could be during the day or at night. It could happen at any time.”
He emphasized the vulnerability of the community, noting that their church, a focal point of conflict, remains unrestored since being burned down.
Recalling the devastating attack on July 3, 2023, Prof. Basha vividly described the current state of Jenin, surrounded by snipers, soldiers, and tanks.
He lamented the loss of lives, destroyed infrastructure, and the toll on the youth, emphasizing, “We count the numbers, but we are not numbers; we are human beings.”
Basha described the situation in Gaza as a disaster, expressing concern over the lack of contact with friends and colleagues, including the Sisters of the Rosary, for three weeks.
The dire conditions in Gaza, with a shortage of basic necessities and the threat of diseases, drew attention to the human tragedy unfolding in the region.
Basha called on the international community not to overlook the suffering in Gaza, emphasizing the people’s yearning for freedom and dignity.
“You cannot imagine what it means not to have the freedom to move. It is a disaster,” said Basha.