While speaking to residents of Nur Shams refugee camp in the West Bank, TRNN reporters found themselves in the middle of the most destructive IDF raid since the Second Intifada. In this raid, Israeli troops killed 14 Palestinians and destroyed a neighborhood, including a local school. This video was co-produced with Shadowgraph Productions.


Everything about this is normal.

This film and its matching gallery present both a historic and an ordinary event. Historic, because we inadvertently captured Israel’s largest military operation in the West Bank since the Second Intifada. And ordinary, because Palestinians are faced with operations of this kind, varying in their intensity, almost daily. In this sense, everything captured here is normal. All of it. The raids, the indiscriminate killings, the destruction of property and any infrastructure sustaining life, the collective punishment. This level of violence and pain, incomprehensible in our minds and intransmissible through our screens, is a lethal normality in the West Bank.

But what you are about to view is normal in another sense: it is this violence that sustains our own privileged Western normalcy. For every smart appliance, workplace perk or fancy bar drink that we enjoy, there is a gun cocked and pointed at a Palestinian by a settler at this western outpost. This is why, through these stories, we wish to pay homage to the humanity, strength, and courage of the Palestinian people that we encountered at the 1948 refugee camps of Tulkarm and Nur Shams in the spring of 2024. As the courageous student protests sweeping Western universities chant: “Palestine is everywhere.” This is true, of course. But Israel is also everywhere: it is a grotesque exemplar of, but not an exception to, the carnage caused by the insatiable western thirst for power and privilege. Freedom, then, to Palestine. And freedom to all of us.

 Antonis Vradis and Ross Domoney


Produced by Ross Domoney, Antonis Vradis, and Waleed Samer
Filmed and edited by Ross Domoney (Instagram: @ross_domoney, Twitter: @rossdomoney)
Photos by Antonis Vradis (Twitter: @da_slow)
Shadowgraph (Instagram: @shadowgraph_media, Twitter: @shadowgraph_m)


Transcript

Ross Domoney:  This is Ross Domoney and Antonis Freddis reporting for The Real News Network.

Speaker 2:  We are in the city of Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank of Palestine. We are staying next to the Nur Shams refugee camp, established soon after the 1948 Nakba. Armed resistance movements against occupation are active here.

Speaker 3:  It was fear that pushed us to join the battalion. Anyone could be killed in their home at any time. Why wouldn’t they carry a weapon to defend themselves?

Speaker 2:  Many of these camps’ residents have been unemployed since Oct. 7. The Israeli state collectively punished them by revoking their work permits. Meanwhile, the frequency of army raids has also increased.

Ross Domoney:  We notice an Israeli bomb drone hovering overhead. We decide that for our safety it’s best to leave the camp. Moments later, the resistance fighters set off the air raid alarm [raid sirens]. The much anticipated raid on Nur Shams has begun.

Those who can flee for their lives. This would turn out to be the biggest raid since the Intifada of the early 2000s. The Army brings in Jeeps and bulldozers to destroy key infrastructure and collectively punish the community for daring to resist the occupation.

Everyone is banned from leaving or entering the camp, with the soldiers pointing their guns at those who attempt to get closer. Ambulances try to defy the army and enter the camp, but are turned away.

Speaker 2:  The battles rage into the night [explosions and gunshots]. [Singing over PA system in background] Our fixer, Waleed, is apprehensive to reunite with his family, who are trapped inside the camp.

Waleed’s Father:  [Phone message] Waleed, my precious son, how are you? Stay alert and be careful, because this army doesn’t differentiate between anyone.

Waleed:  Oh, my feeling. I cannot explain my feeling, man. Stress, fear, my family inside the camp. I don’t have a good connection with them. No electricity, no water, nothing. I’m very stressed. Maybe Jeeps inside this hotel and take the rest, all the hotel.

Ross Domoney:  No one knows how many are dead or injured, or when the army plans to retreat. Rumors are flying around that the camp’s battalion leader has been killed. [PA announcements in background] The mosque calls out the names of the martyrs. The army drives past us.

Moments later, we hear they have shot dead a 16-year-old boy on a road far away from the camp. Three days later, we finally get word that the army might be leaving. It’s not clear if they have fully retreated.

Speaker 5:  Okay, go.

Ross Domoney:  We jump into Waleed’s car. He is anxious to get inside the camp.

Speaker 6:  Turn around!

Speaker 5:  They are coming back.

Ross Domoney:  We quickly realized we have been tricked. An army squad is coming back towards us.

Speaker 5:  Let’s go inside, in the hotel [inaudible].

Speaker 6:  Stop! Turn around! The army is right in front of you!

Speaker 2:  Soon, we try again, and this time we are in luck.

Waleed:  My camp… I feel I was out of the camp for one year, man. I didn’t see my family for two days or maybe three days.

Speaker 7:  [Inaudible].

Speaker 2:  The destruction of the camp is overwhelming.

Speaker 5:  Oh my God.

Speaker 6:  They totally destroyed the whole of the western neighborhood. As well as this district, and the school one over there. They didn’t give us a chance, we couldn’t do anything. I had twenty people in my house. They even shot at our water tank.

They say they are gone. But there may still be army around. No one knows. No one knows. Everyone is afraid. And I can’t express my feelings.

Speaker 2:  Waleed navigates the narrow alleyways looking for signs of the dead. The army has taken the bodies of the fighters.

Speaker 6:  They surrounded the guys from here. There was a young man inside, the soldiers came from everywhere and ambushed them. They surrounded them from three sides, and from above. The fighters are all in pieces. The army came a second time and shot at them, even though they were already dead.

Ross Domoney:  It’s the day after the raid. The army has left the bodies of those killed at the local hospital. The Nur Shams community awaits solemnly for them to be returned to the camp.

[Crowd chanting and guns firing]

Grief and rage take hold of the narrow alleyways. The surviving fighters resurface after the battle.

11 fighters and three civilians are dead. The sadness for all these lives lost is mixed with apprehensive celebration as a prisoner is released and the battalion leader is found out to be alive after all. Even though the army collectively punished the camp’s residents and took so many fighters’ lives, it is clear that many more will replace them. The West Bank’s seething war will rage on.

Visit the original post at https://therealnews.com/like-a-mini-gaza-idf-raid-on-nur-shams-causes-worst-west-bank-destruction-in-decades.