Israel’s Police Launch Wave of Mass Arrests against Arab Citizens

Israel’s police forced launched overnight Monday, May 24, a wave of mass arrests against Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel as part of violent crackdown on recent protests against occupation of the Palestinian territories and racism.

A young Arab protestor is arrested by cops in the Galilee, last week. (Photo: Al-Ittihad)

Thousands of active border police officers and reservists have started a large-scale detention campaign to arrest hundreds of young Arabs as part of what far-right government has dubbed “Operation Law and Order” to “settle accounts” with the latter over their participation in protests against Israel’s colonial policies, including the forced eviction of long-time Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, Israel’s encroachments upon the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and mob settler violence.

As part of the campaign, the police are carrying out violent arrests, involving the breaking in of doors and the brutalizing and intimidating of minors and families in impoverished communities across Israel. Among those arrested thus far are activists from Hadash, the Communist Party of Israel and members of the Young Communist League.

Director of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Dr. Hasan Jabarin, slammed the arrest campaign as a “declaration of war against Arab-Palestinian protestors, political activists and minors to take revenge on them for their recent political and national positions.”

According to police figures, prior to the new wave of detentions, over 1,550 Israeli citizens, only 168 of them Jews, had been arrested by police since internecine violence erupted across Israel on May 9. Of those detained during the past two weeks, 1,039 have been released thus far, but at least 200 of those still being held will be indicted, as part of the state’s violent crackdown on protests in the Arab-Palestinian cities, towns and villages in Israel.

The new wave of arrests on Monday night came a week after some 1.6 million Palestinian citizens of Israel participated in a general strike called for by the Arab High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel.