Jenin

Jenin

Jenin is a Palestinian city located in the northern West Bank and administered by the Palestinian Authority. Jenin is referenced in the Bible as the city built atop the ruins of Ein Ganam. Jenin is an agricultural center with a population of 256,000 residents. There is also a Palestinian refugee camp of the same name located near the city, which has been the scene of heavy fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.

When the British captured Palestine from the Ottomans in 1923, Jenin along with all the major cities in Palestine were incorporated into the Palestine Mandate. As tensions began to rise between Jewish immigrants and the Arab population in Palestine, Jenin became a center of civil unrest during the 1936 Arab Revolt in Palestine, as it was also used as a base for Arab militias fighting against the British. In the 1948 Arab-Israel War, Jenin was defended by the Iraqi army, but Jewish forces managed to briefly capture the city. The end of the war brought new realities to Jenin and the city came under the administration of Jordan, which later annexed it in 1950. The war also resulted in an influx of Palestinian refugees, forcing the establishment of the Jenin refugee camp in 1953.

After 19 years under Jordanian administration, the IDF captured Jenin on the first day of the 1967 Six-Day War. In 1996, Jenin was handed over to the control of the newly established Palestinian National Authority, as outlined in the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

But Jenin became a flashpoint of fighting during the Second Intifada. The city had become a center for dispatching suicide bombers to northern and central Israel and, along with the refugee camp, had become a haven for Palestinian militants. The fighting there claimed the lives of many, including international aid workers.

The Jenin camp was also the location of fierce fighting during the Israeli army's Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, when troops entered the camp to hunt down those responsible for dispatching suicide bombers. The fighting in the camp cost the lives of 13 IDF reservists, along with several dozen Palestinians, whom Israel said were mostly militants. Palestinian claims, however, that the army had carried out a "massacre" in the camp were later debunked.

In recent years, however, Jenin has been the first Palestinian city to successfully implement the "Dayton plan," a program devised by U.S. General Keith Dayton, aimed at improving security and civil conditions in the city. The plan has seen a real change in the city, which, once regarded as the spearhead of the Second Intifada, is now a model for fomenting change from the grass roots up.