Members of the Lions’ Den marched through the West Bank Askar refugee camp in Nablus in an armed military parade in early December last year. Two months earlier, the Israeli Prime Minister brushed the group off as only having 30 members and being disorganized, vowing to “get his hands on them.” Israel proclaimed the Lion’s Den was defeated after killing many of the group’s influential leaders, but this has only inspired more Palestinian youth to join the group. In early December, the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, Aman submitted the first security assessment outlook for 2023 to a conference held by the Gazit Institute, a military research institute of the Israeli government. According to reports Head of the research department at Aman, Brigadier General Amit Saar stated that the establishment of the Lion’s Den is a disappointment to the security state, and Israel has failed to “quell their motive to fight.” Saar added. "We see young men born after the outbreak of the second intifada, rebelling against everything, even against the Palestinian Authority.” During the Lions Den’s armed parade in Nablus, one of their members stated, “the Lion’s Den belongs to all of Palestine without exception. We believe in the unity of blood and struggle. We are members of all Palestinian factions and the sons of the two uprisings the colonists are delusional to assume we are defeated.”
Aman is no ordinary government agency, and the fact that the Lion’s Den has gained their attention is a testament to how seriously the Israeli government is taking the Lion’s Den and other resistance groups. Aman controls the Israeli secret prison in northern Israel that houses prisoners considered to be high-risk, known publicly as Camp 1391. Camp 1391 is often referred to as “Israel’s Guantanamo.” Aman controls Unit 8200, a youth cyber group consisting of teens and twenty-year-olds recruited from high school after school programs to run the Israelis Signal Intelligence Unit, spying on Israeli and occupied territories for intel, much like the NSA in the United States. Aman also controls Unit 81 and provides Israeli soldiers and spies with cutting-edge technologies, SIGINT, and decryption. Why is Israel discounting and brushing aside the current Palestinian Resistance while one of Israel’s top intelligence agencies mentions the Lion’s Den in the same sentence as Hezbollah and Iran at a security conference in early December 2022?
The short answer is that Israel would prefer to not acknowledge the Lion’s Den and show the resistance in occupied territories any attention. Israel refuses to confirm the Lion’s Den is a threat in Israeli media while denouncing Palestinian media outlets that do not reach western audiences who report on the resistance. The Israeli government does not want western audiences to see that Israeli troops are raiding refugee camps and killing Palestinians while attempting to arrest suspected resistance fighters daily. Repeated Israeli raids of Palestinian refugee camps in Jenin, Nablus, and Dheisheh throughout December led to the deaths of over 20 Palestinians. Israeli soldiers storming villages and kidnapping Palestinians is not an abnormality. What is abnormal is the fierce resistance Israeli troops are now facing when they enter Palestinian villages and refugee camps. Videos and images are emerging online of Palestinians flooding the streets and attacking armored vehicles with rocks and sticks or throwing Molotov cocktails. Palestinian communities are creating their own armed resistance groups or they are supported by an armed group in the area. When one Palestinian village is besieged by Israeli forces all the Palestinian resistance groups will respond to that village. In the past, we have seen a multitude of resistance groups spring up in occupied territories, but what makes this uprising different, is that all the separate Palestinian resistance groups are teaming together as one collective unit.
A prime example of the power of this new collective resistance is the recent clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian resistance groups in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Resistance fighters posted videos and images online of them engaging with Israeli troops in heavy fighting for over eight hours. Israeli forces raided the refugee camp on January 1st and attempted to destroy the home of Ahmed and Abdulrahman Abed with a bulldozer. In September of 2022, Palestinian brothers Ahmed and Abdulrahman Abed dressed up as Israeli officers and infiltrated the Jalameh checkpoint killing an Israeli soldier and wounding 12 others. Palestinian resistance groups rallied to defend the home from being destroyed by a bulldozer because the brothers are considered martyrs of the resistance; the house was demolished by Israeli forces using explosives 8 hours later. Resistance fighters in Jenin tweeted that they blew up an Israeli military jeep with an explosive device and challenged the Israeli government to deny that there were casualties during the Israeli operation in Jenin. Resistance groups have declared that Jenin and Nablus are off-limits to Israeli soldiers. Israel can deny the existence of the third Intifada uprising in Palestine. Israeli soldiers can shoot Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints or during raids killing 20 Palestinians in one month. Israel can imprison over 200 children in one year and invade Palestinian refugee camps with military convoys to arrest Palestinian people, but when Palestinians rebel, Israel points a finger at them and calls them terrorists.
Joziah Thayer is a researcher with the Pursuance Project. He founded WEDA in 2014 to combat mainstream media narratives. He is also an antiwar activist and the online organizer behind #OpYemen.
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