Members of the Lions’ Den group during their armed parade in Nablus West Bank on 9 December 2022. (Photo Credit: FilistinPost via Alam 24)
Israeli media has shown significant interest in the latest armed parade by the rising Palestinian resistance group, the Lions’ Den, on 9 December, which the Israeli army claims to have quashed.
About 50 to 70 fully equipped fighters gathered in Askar refugee camp in Nablus, West Bank, to commemorate the group’s fallen leaders Ibrahim al-Nabulsi and Tamer al-Kilani.
The group called on its members to remain prepared for confrontations with the Israeli occupation forces: “The enemy understands only the language of blood and bullets,” it said in a statement.
The rally also praised Wadee al-Houh, an influential founder of the group, who was murdered by the Israeli army.
Houh had been accused of killing Israeli soldier St.-Sgt. Ido Baruch and leading countless other attacks.
رسالة عرين الأسود.. #عرين_الأسود pic.twitter.com/ZunPnWyNkE
— Hisham Abu Shaqrah | هشام أبو شقرة (@HShaqrah) December 9, 2022
According to The Jerusalem Post, the founders of the Lions’ Den have established contact with Gaza-based resistance factions and their representatives in the West Bank.
Houh is described as having been a close associate of Hamas member Musab Shtayyeh, who later on joined the Lions’ Den as a co-founder and field commander.
Similarly, Nabulsi, an ex-member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade was commemorated on social media as a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
Israel’s security establishment and other observers believe that the Lions’ Den group has evolved into a collective effort by West Bank factions against Israel.
“The Lions’ 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 [1st and 2nd Intifada],” said a group member in an interview with the media.
He added that Israel “is delusional [to assume we are defeated]. We stand firm despite everything. We analyze, learn and adapt to new strategies and tactics that will surprise the enemy.”
Earlier this week, Aman, the Intelligence Directorate of the Israeli army, submitted its first annual assessment for 2023 during a conference held by the Gazit Institute, a research department unit of the directorate.
In its assessment, the head of the research department, Brigadier General Amit Saar, tackles the challenges Israel expects to face in 2023 and also includes Israel’s points of strength against Iran, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian resistance factions.
However, he places emphasis on the newly emerged Lions’ Den group, describing its existence as a “disappointment for the security establishment,” which has failed to quell their “motive to fight.”
Saar adds that Israel was successful against the resistance faction in the assassination of all its leaders, but that the group is still alive through the phenomenon it created and continues to attract the Palestinian youth.
“We see young men born after the outbreak of the second intifada, rebelling against everything, even against the Palestinian Authority,” decries Saar.
In his assessment, he reckons that eventually, Israel will have to use additional excessive force against the Palestinians in the West Bank and put an end to these displays of power that are meant to challenge Israel’s security.
Nonetheless, throughout 2022, the Israeli army murdered a record high of Palestinians, compared to the previous decade, killing over 150 in the West Bank alone.
For Israel’s newly emerging right-wing government, it is acceptable for thousands of Palestinians to be murdered, even if to deter just one resistance act against the occupation.
Israel is set to be ruled by its most far right government ever… amidst escalating violence this new MP was shockingly blunt about what to expect:
“If it's (a choice between) 1 Israeli mother crying, or 1,000 Palestinian mothers crying… 1,000 Palestinian mothers will cry" pic.twitter.com/tSfLOVIaGu
— Secunder Kermani (@SecKermani) December 9, 2022