Israeli Police Are Arresting Palestinians by the Masses

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Palestinian protest

On the evening of 23 May, the third day of the Gaza ceasefire, Israel police announced that it was continuing with Operation Law and Order, an initiative involving the mass arrest of Palestinian civilian protesters that it had commenced two weeks prior.

At that point, the Israeli police had already arrested 1,550 protesters since 9 May, the majority of whom were Palestinians living in the region now designated as Israel. And police officers were set to continue the mass arrests of up to 500 Palestinians involved in recent demonstrations.

Israel police indicated that the operation is all about intimidating and exacting “revenge on Palestinian citizens of Israel”, as it is out to “settle a score” with them.

Palestinians currently make up about 20 percent of the overall population with the nation of Israel, which came into being in 1948.

Palestinian journalist Abir Kopty outlined that given the deplorable treatment Palestinians have been subjected to in Israeli custody in the past, it’s likely the current arrestees are suffering the same fate. And she added that lawyers from across Palestine are lining up to represent those targeted.

Palestinian demonstrators in Sydney
Palestinian demonstrators in Sydney

An apartheid state

Israel’s 11 day assault on Gaza was preceded by Netanyahu government crackdowns upon Palestinian civilian populations inside Israel.

There were the continuing evictions of Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, as well as an attack on early morning worshippers at the al-Aqsa Mosque.

In mid-2018, the Knesset – Israeli parliament – passed the Nation State law. The enactment of this saw Palestinians living in Israel officially relegated to a second-class status, it also provided that only Jewish people have the right to self-determination, and it removed Arabic as an official language.

The recent assault on the Palestinian population in the besieged region of Gaza began on the evening of 3 May. And over the four weeks since the outbreak of violence, the acknowledgement that Israel is operating as an apartheid state has grown globally.

Protests in support of the Palestinian people continue around the planet days after the ceasefire, with the understanding that the halt to Israeli airstrikes is not enough when other forms of state-sponsored violence – such as Operation Law and Order – continue on a daily basis.

The names of Palestinian children killed in the latest conflict
The names of Palestinian children killed in the latest conflict

Architects of death

“But, of course, the only reason Israel does these things is because it has the backing of the United States,” Australian political commentator Bruce Haigh told Sydney Criminal Lawyers last week.

“If the United States withdrew its backing, then Israel would have to alter its woeful ways and negotiate.”

Last year, the Trump administration gave Israel $3.8 billion in funding, most of which was military aid, under an Obama administration initiative. And unsurprisingly, current US president Joe Biden is continuing Washington’s complicity in the crimes of Israel.

On the day the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire was agreed to, Biden announced that his government would be providing “rapid humanitarian assistance”, as well as marshalling “international support for the people in Gaza and in the Gaza reconstruction effort”.

“I also emphasise what I said through this conflict,” Biden stated during the same speech, “the United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself.” And he further outlined that Washington would be replenishing “Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system”.

Established in 2011, Iron Dome is a state-of-the-art aerial weapons system that has been bankrolled by the States. And obviously, being depleted after having killed at least 248 Palestinian civilians, including 66 children, Biden has determined that there’s a need to replenish its stock of missiles.

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Paul Gregoire

Paul Gregoire is a Sydney-based journalist and writer. He's the winner of the 2021 NSW Council for Civil Liberties Award For Excellence In Civil Liberties Journalism. Prior to Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Paul wrote for VICE and was the news editor at Sydney’s City Hub.

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