Mass arrests: Palestinians decry ‘Operation Law and Order’

Shaheb News Agency

Mass arrests of hundreds of Palestinian citizens living in Israeli occupied land who have participated in recent protests against Israeli aggression continue, with more than 1,550 Palestinians, including children, picked up since May 9.

According to Israeli police, “Operation Law and Order,” a campaign targeting Palestinian cities and towns in Israel is meant to ” settle the score”. The arrests also coincide with a visit to Israel by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who faced widespread criticism during the Israeli onslaught.

West Bank officials say Israeli forces have killed 25 Palestinians, including four under the age of 18, in the occupied territory since May 10.

Palestinians and their advocates around the world condemned the arrests as hypocritical collective punishment and as another example of Israeli apartheid, noting that there have been no mass arrests of members of Jewish mobs that in recent weeks have brutally attacked Arab people and property throughout Israel.

“Today I felt nothing but absolute rage at the spiteful Occupation Forces who are literally exterminating us one Palestinian at a time. Imagine saying bye to your friends only to be killed extra judicially by a spineless undercover unit in the Zionist death cult,” Mohammed El-Kurd tweeted, angered by the ongoing violent crackdown.

A Palestinian man was shot and killed by undercover Israeli forces early on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israeli police have arrested Jewish suspects, including two men allegedly involved in the May 10 murder of Mousa Hassouna, a 32-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel, and two men and a minor for alleged attempted murder and terrorism in connection with a May 12 mob attack on a Palestinian citizen of Israel that was broadcast on live television.

However, most Jews who have attacked Palestinians have done so with impunity.

On Sunday, Jewish settlers protected by Israeli security forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, brutally assaulting worshippers and arresting numerous Palestinians there. Repeated attacks on Al-Aqsa—Islam’s third-holiest site—and the imminent forced expulsion of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem sparked widespread protests in Haifa, Yafa, Lydd, Nazareth, and other cities and towns earlier this month. 

The mass arrests come amid a fragile ceasefire following 11 days of Israeli aerial and artillery bombardment that killed 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, while wounding around 1,900 others and displacing tens of thousands more. 

Thousands of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza by Palestinian fighters killed 13 people, including two children. 

Remi Kanazi, a Palestinian-American poet and activist, tweeted Monday that “apartheid inside Israel is when Jewish Israeli mobs chant ‘Death to Arabs’ and brutalize Palestinians in their neighbourhoods, while the cops do nothing, only for those same cops to conduct mass arrests of Palestinian citizens two weeks later.”

Middle East Eye reports Palestinian citizens of Israel have taken to social media to warn others of the arrest threat. According to the outlet, one widely shared post reads: “This is a declaration of war, the Israelis will storm more than 500 homes to kidnap our children and youth.”

“This is not just an attempt at intimidation, and it is not just a policy of intimidation,” the post continues. “This is an unprecedented war on Palestinians at home, and it will be carried out under the cover of a humiliating silence. Our people must act now and immediately to thwart this war.”

Majd Kayyal, a Haifa-based activist, told Al Jazeera that “the Israeli police lost their ability to frighten and terrorize the Palestinians. This is why they launched this campaign.”