Police Violently Attacked Vigils Protesting the Arrest of Arab Higher Committee Members

Israeli police arrest 18 left-wing activists, among them Hadash and Communist Party of Israel members, during a demonstration against the crackdown on dissent toward the army’s deadly assault on Gaza and the arrest of Arab Higher Committee members, outside the Tel Aviv district police station. A parallel demonstration in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem saw one protester arrested and four hospitalized due to police violence.

Police using brutal force against demonstrators outside the Tel Aviv district police station, Thursday night, November 10 (Photo: Hadash)

Earlier Thursday, police arrested several members of the Arab High Follow-Up Committee — the de-facto representative body for all Palestinian citizens of Israel — including former Knesset members, who had planned to hold a small, silent demonstration in Nazareth against the war on Gaza.

A leading Communist Party of Israel (CPI) and former Hadash lawmaker was detained after he announced a protest against the war in Gaza. Mohammad Barakeh, chair of umbrella organization for the Arab-Palestinian community in Israel, the High Follow-up Committee, called for Arab officials to demonstrate in Nazareth.

“The persecution of Arab public leaders and left-wing activists only because of their call for an end to violence and for peace indicates fascist deterioration under the cover of the war,” a spokesperson for Hadash said. “Apparently the police chiefs are afraid of Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, but we will take to the streets despite the threats.”

In Nazareth, hundreds of CPI’s members and supporters gathered in a public meeting to protest against the escalation of fascism and to demand an end to the war. “We are willing to defend our beliefs, and that will cost us. It is not the first time. Our stance has always combined internationalism and patriotism, and this is the humane and political stance that protects the peoples and ends wars. The Palestinian people will rise from the ashes and will enjoy his rights,” Barakeh said.

The General Secretary of the CPI, Adel Amer, added, “The way to stand in the face of fascism is together, Arabs and Jews against fascism. We have to continue demanding the end of the war! If this demand will be the reason for arrests and charges – then we are all guilty!”; “today, when we shared the arrest of comrade Barakeh with our comrades in the fraternal parties, they took action immediately, denouncing and questioning this persecution and demanded a position on this from the European parliament – we also received many solidarity messages. I tell you this to assure the solidarity and support of our comrades in many places, we are not going through this long struggle all alone.” 

According the Haaretz editorial published on Friday, “The police’s detention of the head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee shortly before a planned protest vigil against the war in the Gaza Strip, coupled with the Supreme Court’s decision to deny petitions against the police’s ban on demonstrations against the war, reflect a worrying erosion of every citizen’s basic right to express himself and demonstrate, including against the government.”

On Thursday evening, hundreds of people, including the family members of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, protested in front of billionaire Simon Falic’s Jerusalem home, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been living in for the past several weeks. The protestors are knocked down the barriers that the police have erected in front of the house and approached the entrance.

The police also asked to extend the detention of a 49-year-old Omer resident, Yael Abadi Reiss, who is suspected of spray-painting “1,400” near the house of Knesset member Shalom Danino (Likud).  “1,400” – is the number of people estimated to have been killed in Hamas’ October 7 assault. The activist was asked in her interrogation what she did on October 7, and in the hearing at the Beer Sheva Magistrate’s Court the police representative could not say why she was asked this. Later, the police representative admitted that the suspect was asked if she voted for the current far-right government.

Related: https://maki.org.il/en/?p=31339