Sweeping Israeli Arrest Campaign Sees Thousands Of Palestinians Detained Last May

Within the month of May, figures reported the Palestinian prisoners’ association Addameer showed that roughly 3,100 Palestinians including children were arrested by Israeli authorities in a crackdown across Israeli and Palestinian territories.

The report noted that the majority of these arrests occurred within Israel’s ‘Green Line Boundary’. Roughly 2,000 of these Palestinians were arrested following mass protests at Al-Aqsa Mosque, clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians, and the eviction of a number of Palestinian households in East Jerusalem. The report further observed ‘in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem a campaign of arbitrary arrests led to over 1,100 arrests, including 180 children, and 42 women and girls. The highest of these arrests took place in Jerusalem, with 677 arrests’.

These arrests have been accompanied by a “catalog of violations” according to a recent report by Amnesty International. Allegations against the Israeli police force include widespread discriminatory arrests, the use of unlawful force against peaceful protesters, and the use of torture and mistreatment during and after the armed hostilities in Gaza and Israel.

“The evidence gathered by Amnesty International paints a damning picture of discrimination and ruthless excessive force by Israeli police against Palestinians in Israel and in occupied East Jerusalem,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

On the 3rd of June, Israeli Police released figures stating that they had arrested a total of 2,142 people in relation to protests and ‘riots’ on the West Bank. Researchers from Amnesty International found that more than 90% of the arrests made were against Palestinians.

“Police have an obligation to protect all people under Israel’s control, whether they are Jewish or Palestinian. Instead, the vast majority arrested in the police crackdown following the outbreak of inter-communal violence were Palestinian. The few Jewish citizens of Israel arrested were dealt with more leniently. Jewish supremacists also continue to organize demonstrations while Palestinian’s face repression.” Higazi went on to say.

Amnesty researchers have further recorded over 20 cases of Israeli police violence between the 9th of May and the 12th of June when protests against the eviction of Palestinians from the East Jerusalem suburb of Sheikh Jarrah began. Since then, hundreds have been injured in the police crackdown of these protests, and a 17-year-old boy shot dead, during largely peaceful protests across the region. A 16-year-old girl, Jana Kiswani, was also shot in the back by Israeli police as she entered her home in Sheikh Jarrah, leaving her unable to walk.

These latest reports from Amnesty International and Addameer clearly indicate an attempt by the IDF and the Israeli government to silence the demands and protestations of the Palestinian masses to a level that forfeits basic Palestinian human rights.  Israel currently undergoes a change of power as Benjamin Netanyahu steps down to make way for Naftali Bennett’s government.  Meanwhile, Bennett’s ties to right-wing religious groups, and his continued and egregious use of the IDF, makes it appear unlikely that Palestinians will see any change to their freedom of speech or security. Greater international scrutiny must now be placed on Israel and its use of unlawful police violence to ensure the egalitarian treatment of its citizens in the eyes of the law. It is now up to Western superpowers such as the U.S., EU, and the U.K. to vocally and directly decry the ongoing issues in Israel in order to hold its government to account, else Israel continues its vicious assault on Palestinian human rights.