As soon as the truce was signed with Hamas, Israel launched an unprecedented wave of repression across Israel, targeting its Palestinian citizens who had been demonstrating in support of those facing expulsions at Sheikh Jarrah or against the bombing of Gaza. Over 2000 have been arrested, according to Suha Mousa, Executive Director of Mossawa, the Advocacy Centre for Palestinian citizens of Israel. Read more and watch the interview…..
“Israeli forces are arresting hundreds of Palestinian citizens in the most widespread crackdown in decades”, according to various observers in Israel.
In an official announcement of a campaign dubbed operation “Law and order”, Israeli police claimed that they were looking for “the rioters, the criminals, and everyone who was involved in the events, in order to prosecute them”.
Unofficially, the police indicated that the campaign was to “settle the score” with those who took part in demonstrations in East Jerusalem and elsewhere. In the two weeks prior, the police had already arrested more than 1,550 people. By May 20, police had charged 170 people: 155 Arabs and 15 Jews. In every case but one, Arabs were accused of being motivated by racism.
Left: Thousands demonstrate in Uhm Al Fahm, one of the largest Palestinian communities in Israel. This and other demonstrations were aggressively repressed by police who carried out many arrests.
According to the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, an umbrella organization that is regarded as the national representative of the Palestinian Arab community in Israel, between 80 to 90 percent of the arrests were for things like “insulting a police officer”, “disturbing an officer in the line of duty”, “assaulting an officer”, or “taking part in illegal gathering.” Few were related to property damage, stone throwing, or assaults on civilians.
One of those arrested was Jafar Farah, founder and general director of the Mossawa Centre, based in Haifa. The Mossawa centre (Mossawa means “equality” in Arabic), “seeks to promote a democratic society and acts against all forms of discrimination” according to its website. In 2007, Mossawa outlined its vision for an inclusive Israel in a document entitled “An Equal Constitution for All?” by Dr. Yousef Jabareen, who later became a member of the Israeli Knesset.
Farah was interrogated by police for several hours, before before being released without charge. His son was also arrested and held for two days.
“The real objective of this repressive campaign”, says Suha Salman Mousa, Mossawa’s Executive Director, “is to intimidate the Palestinian citizens of Israel into submission.”
CTIP interviewed Musa about the current situation. “It is similar to Trump’s “Law and Order” call against Black Americans”, she said..
Israel appears to be facing an unprecedented situation. After years of successfully fragmenting the Palestinians into separate geographical groups with different legal and physical circumstances (e.g. those in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, in Gaza, inside Israel), Israel’s most recent actions seem to have created an unprecedented unity among Palestinians no matter where they live.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.
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