“A declaration of war”: Palestinians in Israel denounce mass arrests News of the Al-Aqsa Mosque


Israeli police have announced their intention to arrest hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the coming days for their involvement in recent Palestinian support settlements in the occupied East Jerusalem and the besieged Gaza Strip.

The wave of mass arrests will take place as part of what police called a “law and order operation.” It is intended to penalize those who have participated in demonstrations against the violence of settlers, the repression of Israeli forces against the enclosure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the army. 11-day bombing Gaza campaign, which killed 248 people.

In a statement on Sunday night, Israeli police said some 1,550 people had been detained since May 9 and that the campaign is a “continuation” aimed at “chasing” protesters who have been out for the past two weeks. on the street of towns and cities of Israel.

Thousands of security forces from “all units” will be deployed to carry out raids, he said, in cities where Palestinian citizens of Israel predominate, representing about 20 percent of the country’s population.

The statement did not indicate that the campaign would be aimed at Jewish settlers attacked the Palestinians and their homes, as documented in videos and images widely shared on social media.

Police, including border guards and reserve brigades, will search homes and conduct “investigations” until charges are filed and prison sentences are imposed, he added.

The director general of Adalah, the Legal Center for the Rights of Arab Minorities in Israel, declared the campaign a “war” against Palestinian protesters, political activists and minors.

The mass arrest operation is a “militarized war against Palestinian citizens of Israel,” Jabareen said in a statement sent to Al Jazeera on Monday, urging a “rapid response” from all Palestinian political movements, parties and the government. ‘High Monitoring Committee. for Arab citizens of Israel.

The purpose of the arrests is to “intimidate and avenge Palestinian citizens of Israel -” to resolve the outcome “with the Palestinians, in the words of the Israeli police, for their political positions and activities,” he said.

Disturbing protests

Rallies in cities such as Haifa, Yafa, Lydd and Nazareth began earlier this month in solidarity with Palestinian families facing imminent forced labor. eviction from their homes to Sheikh Jarrah.

During the sit-ins, several Palestinians were attacked by Jewish settlers who, sometimes backed by Israeli police, marched into the streets chanting anti-Palestinian slogans, including “killing the Arabs.”

Others died when the protests grew rapidly after Israeli forces attack on the faithful on the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the subsequent Israeli military assault on Gaza.

On May 10, a Palestinian resident was shot dead by a Jewish settlement that was part of a far-right mob. And on May 19, Mohammed Kiwan, 17, succumbed to his wounds after being shot in the head by Israeli police in the town of Umm al-Fahem.

Dozens of others have been arrested and some are still pending formal charges.

So far, 140 charges have been filed against 230 people, most of them Palestinians, including minors, local media reported. They have been accused of assaulting police officers, endangering the lives of citizens on the streets, protesting, throwing stones and setting themselves on fire.

“He didn’t want us to go home”

In Yafa, Bashar Ali, a 25-year-old college student, was among the 1,550 detainees in the past two weeks.

He was with a group of protesters who suffered blows and inhalation of tear gas after protesting against the Israeli bombing and the ongoing siege of Gaza on 11 May.

“It was a peaceful stay of about 250 people,” Ali said. “Some of us were working to raise funds for the wounded in Jerusalem and Gaza.”

After gathering for nearly two hours at one of Yafa’s community parks, protesters began heading home around 6:30 p.m., but police blocked the main streets.

“They did not want us to return home. Some police officers started attacking us, I saw them hit an old man and a young lady “, Ali recalled.

“We confronted them and that was when a group of armed policemen came together and arrested me along with several others,” he added.

Ali was released the next day, but is now under house arrest for a month. He is currently in Kokab, a village in al-Jalil (Galilee), where he said six people were arrested from their homes overnight.

Tensions continue over forced evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in favor of Jewish families [Alaa Badarneh/ EPA-EFE]

Janan Abdu is a Haifa-based lawyer on the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel who has volunteered to defend detained Palestinians.

“They are not just police forces, but they also include special units: border police, secret services and covert forces,” he said.

Abdu said he noticed similarities in the “type of rape and ill-treatment” these same units committed against Palestinians in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

“They treat their citizens like enemies. There have always been two systems: one for Arabs and one for Jews, ”said Abdu.

“Police have attacked and arrested people recording and documenting the assaults. In some cases, the police also collected false evidence of minors during interrogation sessions during detention.

“Large calculation error”

Meanwhile, Ahmed Tibi, a member of the Israeli parliament with the joint list, the Palestinian-majority electoral alliance, said Israel did not expect Palestinian citizens of Israel to come together to support others in Jerusalem and Gaza.

The “big miscalculation” by the Israeli police came though it is not the first time Palestinian citizens of Israel have protested against Israeli policies in Jerusalem and other parts of the occupied territories.

In the last round of sit-ins, police “lost control” inside Israel, said Tibi, who described the latest campaign as a “show” and an offer by Israeli police to claim control at the expense of the Palestinian people.

It is a “miserable attempt to intimidate our young people to prevent them from exercising their right to express their opinion,” he said.

Majd Kayyal, a Haifa-based activist, agreed.

“Israeli police have lost their ability to intimidate and terrorize the Palestinians. That’s why they launched this campaign, ”he told Al Jazeera.

More than 500 Palestinian homes are expected to be raided in the next 48 hours, Kayyal said, citing reports from Israeli police and the media.

“They want to restore this feeling of terror in us, to teach us a lesson. But they also want to break Palestinian unity, which is what uprising is all about. “

Meanwhile, requests for action on social media by Palestinians in Israel – numbering 1.8 million people – have spread and many also describe the announcement as a “declaration of war.”

Palestinian citizens of Israel have long been discriminated against in many aspects of life, including the right to due process.

But, according to Kayyal, the protests are not enough to stop the cycle of violence.

“We must start a new chapter as Palestinians in Israel. We must break and dismantle Israel’s fragmentation policy [of Palestinians under its control], “He said.

“Our struggle as Palestinian citizens of Israel is part of the collective struggle of the Palestinian people against the colonial project of Israeli settlers.”

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