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US response to West Bank assault underlines Israel's free hand

Israel’s increasing use of sophisticated military hardware in the occupied West Bank, including drones and Apache attack helicopters has been met with a muted response from the Biden administration, underlining Washington’s lack of red lines as violence in the region escalates.

The raid on Jenin is a culmination of weeks of military strikes that have seen Israel deploy ever more heavy weaponry in the occupied West Bank.

“The US clearly has no red lines when it comes to Israel’s use of force,” Marwa Maziad, an expert on US-Arab-Israeli relations, at the University of Maryland told MEE. 

In June, helicopter gunships were dispatched to the occupied West Bank for the first time in nearly 20 years after an Israeli troop carrier was hit by what the military called a “pretty advanced” improvised explosive device (IED).

Just two days later, Israel killed two members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement's military branch and a Fatah military leader in a drone strike near Jenin.

Some experts have said the US is concerned that Israel’s introduction of armed drones into the occupied West Bank has the potential to loosen rules of engagement and inflame tensions further, but analysts tell Middle East Eye that Israel’s deadly raid on Jenin shows it's a muted issue for the Biden administration.

'No red lines': US response to West Bank assault underlines Israel's free hand

An Israeli Air Force AH-64 Apache attack helicopter releases flares during an Israeli army raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank on 19 June 2023.