A year of resistance and repression: a timeline of ‘Operation Break the Wave’

In 2022 the Israeli counterinsurgency campaign Operation Break the Wave sought to break the back of a newly-emerging phenomenon of armed Palestinian resistance. This timeline explains a pivotal moment in Palestinian history that continues to unfold.



The year 2022 was unlike any other we have witnessed in over a decade. For an entire year, it seems as if the old yoke of collaborationism and complacency was cast off, and resistance was back on the agenda. The West Bank was “on fire” as Palestinians attempted to put a halt to the constant degradation of their lives and the humiliation of living under Israeli settler-colonialism. For the first time since the Second Intifada, Palestinians collectively took up arms and pointed them at the colonizer. Nablus and Jenin became the most important epicenters for the various armed groups that took shape throughout the course of the year, the most important being the Jenin Brigade and the Lions’ Den.

Resistance was not limited to the armed groups, either. A string of “lone wolf” operations targeting Israeli settlers and soldiers posed a serious problem for the Israeli army’s counterinsurgency strategy and marked a significant security failure on the part of the colonial apparatus to anticipate and prevent these armed operations.

This year of resistance has been a decade in the making. It was preceded by several popular uprisings (or, in Arabic, habbat sha’biyya) that were punctuated by mass protests and numerous individual operations.

The most recent of these uprisings was the Unity Intifada of 2021, which notably involved Palestinians with Israeli citizenship in the struggle against the colonial reality. An Israeli crackdown on Palestinians ensued through judicial, economic, and military means — issuing court orders mandating sweeping arrests of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship (under the name “Operation Law and Order”), levying punitive fines, signing demolition orders, and forging ahead with court-sponsored land annexation and expansion. 

Palestinians found themselves still reeling from 2021 while also facing a renewed tripartite wave of aggression from Israeli settlers, the military, and the legal system. Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa compound yet again in April 2022, which was quickly followed by the settler “flag march” in May.

In what has become an annual bombing season, Israel launched Operation Breaking Dawn on five besieged governorates in Gaza. 50 Palestinians, mostly non-combatants, including 17 children, were killed.

Things don’t happen in a vacuum, and the three days of military aggression on Gaza between August 3 and August 7 are no different — Operation Breaking Dawn was part of a much larger and more encompassing Israeli campaign of counterinsurgency, launched in late February and early March, called Operation Break the Wave. 

This wide-ranging operation, of which the aggression on Gaza was just one iteration, had a singular purpose: to break the back of a newly-emerging phenomenon of armed Palestinian resistance. The months that followed would witness a dramatic campaign of repression, spearheaded by the twin strategies of military detention (often without charge or trial) and extrajudicial assassination

In the West Bank, Israel used both strategies to liquidate prominent resistance fighters and suppress the rest through mass detention. In Gaza, the Israeli air forces made liberal use of extra-judicial targeted assassinations against known leaders in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), who Israel claimed were fomenting armed groups in the West Bank.

Palestinian resistance fighters continued to confront the Israeli efforts to quell the armed groups. Jenin and Nablus became key flashpoints, and the Palestinian resistance fighters stationed there were becoming increasingly known for their fierce gun battles with the Israeli army, despite having comparatively outdated weapons (mostly assault rifles, shotguns, and AK-47s), no official and institutional training, and being prohibited from amassing arms by both the PA and Israel. 

Much of the media reporting on this issue has been lacking, missing local, regional, and international overlaps, eliding distinctions between different official and non-official actors, and subsuming the majority of events under tired tropes and misleading characterizations of the various actors in Palestinian politics and society. The following is a timeline of events that were part of Operation Break the Wave, including international and regional developments that tie into Israel’s evolving military escalation and attack against Palestinian society. 

Topically, the timeline focuses on the Israeli military assault in the West Bank, but we have also included relevant regional and international developments to allow for a broader view of the interaction of Israel’s military onslaught with its larger regional machinations throughout the year. These include regional diplomatic negotiations and trade agreements, joint military drills, and the Lebanon-Israel maritime border agreement. This is because “Break the Wave” was not only a localized campaign against the Palestinian resistance but was a means of establishing worldwide Israeli deterrence and ties into Israel’s joint military drills in the region, such as “Operation Chariots of Fire.”

Mondoweiss has compiled this timeline in the hopes of serving as a reference for anyone seeking to contextualize and better understand this pivotal moment in Palestinian history, which continues to unfold before our eyes. We do this with the intention of providing a more complete picture of this latest chapter in the Palestinian struggle for liberation. 

The events are arranged chronologically, many containing links to more expanded stories and reporting that Mondoweiss has put out throughout the course of the year. Of course, given the broad scope of events, this timeline cannot claim to be exhaustive, but it has strived to be as intentional as possible in its delineation of key events that have shaped the current moment, and Mondoweiss hopes that it will serve as an important resource for apprehending the developments that have led to the rebirth of a resistance movement whose future still remains uncertain.

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