SHORTS: Israel’s Campaign of Terror Against Israel’s Palestinians is Revenge for their Gaza Humiliation
SHORTS: Israel’s Campaign of Terror Against Israel’s Palestinians is Revenge for their Gaza Humiliation
SHORTS: Israel’s Campaign of Terror Against Israel’s Palestinians is Revenge for their Gaza Humiliation
First Ever Palestinian Demonstration in Worthing – Board of Deputies Has Turned a Blind Eye to Tommy Robinson Supporters –
This post consists of a number of items of interest. Since the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza Israeli Police have been conducting a reign of terror against Israeli Palestinians. As the following article by Oren Ziv shows, in response to the pogroms against Palestinians in Israeli cities by Jews and armed settler gangs, the Police have been engaged in a widespread roundup, not of the attackers but those who tried to defend themselves.
Interview with Gabor Mate by Russell Brand
Worthing Demonstration in Support of the Palestinians
This is reminiscent of the pogroms that drove over 2 million Jews from Czarist Russia to Britain and America at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Whenever Jews mounted any self-defence against the pogromists the police and army took the sides of the pogromists. 90% of those arrested have been Palestinians not Jews.
Palestine Action activists occupied Elbit System’s Leicester factory during the attack on Gaza – the Fire Brigades Union refused to remove them – 600 local people battled with the Police in an attempt to stop them being taken into custody – despite this Palestine Solidarity Campaign has attacked PA and refused to make any mention of the action
Although there were isolated reprisal attacks by Israeli Palestinians against Jews including synagogues in Bat Yam, which were rightly seen as temples of oppression, this was not the ‘communal violence’ that it was portrayed to be. This was a one-sided attack by vigilantes, armed settlers, aided by the Police and encouraged by Security Minister Amir Ohana.
This cartoon appeared in The Boston Globe – the Zionists have predictably reacted with fury to this ‘antisemitism’
One WhatsApp group was titled “Death to the Arabs in Haifa – War Group.” Members were instructed to bring Israeli flags and to meet at the entrance of the Old City of Acre, masked.
“The police won’t do anything to us, they will back us up and turn a blind eye,”said one Israeli in a voice message to other far-right Jewish activists. And how right they were. Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said settler groups, including far-right organization Regavim and another called My Israel, were forming armed militias to go to mixed cities inside Israel on 13 May.
“We are no longer Jews today,” one user wrote in a Telegram group titled “People from Holon, Bat Yam and Rishon Lezion go out to bring war.” “Today we are Nazis.”Perhaps the Jewish Labour Movement, the supporters of the IHRA and all those who decry comparisons between Israel and the Nazis will note that Israeli fascists themselves recognise the connection.
It is a sad and sick joke when Israel proclaims that it protects all religions in Jerusalem and that people are able to freely practice their religion. Israel’s Police, backed to the hilt by Israeli Security Minister Amir Ohana closed off the plaza at Damascus Gate, where thousands of worshippers congregate during Ramadan to relax and break their fast. This was a deliberate provocation.
Tony Greenstein and others at Worthing demonstration
The Police were forced to back down by the outcry but just imagine that the Police had done the same to a synagogue in Israel and then invaded it firing stun grenades, tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets. It is no wonder at all that Jewish synagogues in Israel became a target for Palestinians.
This is exactly what happened in Eastern Europe – pogromists painted marks on Jewish homes so that pogromists knew who to attack
This all came in the wake of the proposed ethnic cleansing and eviction of families from Sheikh Jarrar. Under the Legal and Administrative Matters Law 1970 Jews are able to claim homes they were forced to vacate in East Jerusalem in 1948 when Jerusalem was divided. However the 45,000 Palestinians who lost their homes in West Jerusalem have no such rights. This is what is called apartheid justice and is a consequence of Israel being a Jewish state.
Worthing demonstration in support of Palestine last Saturday
Like all settler colonial regimes, the Zionist rulers of Israel’s only response to Palestinian demands is brute force. Whether it be murdering children in Gaza or blinding demonstrators in Jerusalem the Israeli state demonstrates every day that it is a Jewish Supremacist state whose ongoing purpose is to ‘Judaise’ Jerusalem, the Negev and the Galilee by removing Palestinians from their homes and confiscating their land.
I have also included a video above of the results of Israel’s ‘self defence’ in Gaza – a strike on a group of children. It’s not for the squeamish.
Youtube removed it but after appealing they reinstated it with a warning. The url is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQHhVmc72bE&t=22s
I’ve also included an excellent interview by Russell Brand with Gabor Mate, a Hungarian-Canadian physician. He has a background in family practice and a special interest in childhood development and trauma, and in their potential lifelong impacts on physical and mental health. Gabor Mate is also Jewish and a child survivor of the Hungarian holocaust. He is also a strong opponent of Zionism.
I also include a letter I wrote to the Morning Star which was published on May 28th. In it I take to task the attempt of the Board of Deputies to explain away the fact that Tommy Robinson and his fascist friends were welcomed onto the pro-Israel demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy on 23rd May. The demonstration was less than a thousand strong in contrast to the 200,000 Palestinian demonstration. As Middle East Eye wrote ‘The anti-Muslim activist was greeted with a hug at a demonstration outside the Israeli embassy’. This has proven extremely embarrassing to the Board of Deputies which has at least one Tommy Robinson supporter in its ranks, solicitor Robert Festenheim.
I have written about 20 articles on the collaboration between Britain’s fascists and the Zionists. This includes welcoming Katie Hopkins to a Zionist Federation Gala Dinner. When the Board of Deputies held a static demonstration in opposition to the 2019 Al Quds demonstration they welcomed far-Right demonstrators, including Tommy Robinson’s body guard Danny Thomas, accompanied by Steve Silverman of the so-called Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, into their ranks. See here, here and here for further details of British Zionist collaboration with fascists today, all under the benevolent gaze of the Board of Deputies and its militia, the Community Security Trust.
I have also included a video compilation of some of Boris Johnson’s lies!
And finally some good news. Worthing, a town about 12 miles from Brighton held its first ever pro-Palestinian demonstration and march. About 200 people took part and a local Labour councilor spoke at the demonstration. We shall have to see if Labour’s racist leader, Sir Keith Starmer, suspends her for ‘anti-Semitism’!
Israeli officers blindfold a Palestinian citizen of Israel during violent confrontations in Lydd, central Israel. (Oren Ziv)
In a surprise campaign on Monday, Israeli authorities launched “Operation Law and Order,” in which thousands of national police officers, Border Police members, and army reservists arrested hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel accused of participating in this month’s mass wave of protests.
In their announcement to the press, the Israeli police claimed that they were looking for “the rioters, the criminals, and everyone who was involved in the events, in order to prosecute them” and to “settle the score” with those who took part. In the two weeks prior, the police had already arrested more than 1,550 people and filed about 150 indictments, some against more than one defendant.
The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, an umbrella organization that is regarded as the national representative of the community, held a press conference Tuesday morning in Haifa to address the operation. According to the committee, between 80 to 90 percent of the offenses that were listed as reasons for the arrests were for insulting a police officer, disturbing an officer in the line of duty, assaulting an officer, or taking part in illegal gathering, rather than property damage, stone throwing, or assaults on civilians.
The Palestinian leadership in Israel claimed that this is the most widespread wave of political arrests in decades — even more so than during the infamous events of October 2000, when police violently repressed mass demonstrations led by Palestinian citizens at the start of the Second Intifada, killing 13 and wounding hundreds. The committee emphasized that the purpose of the current operation is to oppress and punish Palestinian citizens for daring to protest Israel’s oppressive policies in Gaza, Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and so-called “mixed cities.”
The committee’s chairman, Mohammad Barakeh, described the operation as a “campaign of intimidation and terror against the Arab public to exclude it and justify the repression and persecution” against it. Barakeh noted that the 2003 Or Commission, which criticized the police’s conduct in October 2000, clearly stated that the police were treating Palestinian citizens as an enemy — yet since then, “there has been no change.”
Adalah’s Hassan Jabareen (center) and Chairman of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel Mohammad Barakeh (left), the during a press conference on the Israeli police’s ‘Operation Law and Order,’ Haifa, May 25, 2021. (Oren Ziv)
During the press conference, Atty. Hassan Jabareen, who heads the Haifa-based Palestinian legal center Adalah, read aloud a police statement on the operation, which declared that “some of the goals [of the operation] are returning deterrence and increased governance in designated places in the State of Israel.” Such arrests, Jabareen argued, are clearly illegal: “Criminal procedure does not allow you to arrest a person for the purpose of deterrence.”
Punishing Palestinian protest
The decision to launch such a large-scale operation, in which most of the detainees were allegedly arrested over suspected crimes unrelated to property or physical assault, contradicts what a senior Israeli police officer told +972 at the height of the violence in Lydd 10 days ago.
According to the officer, the police set themselves the goal of arresting anyone who committed serious offenses such as arson, attempted lynching, or using live fire. “A 15-year-old boy who threw some stones is not a police target. It is better to meet him at one of the welfare programs sometime in the future. There is no need to punish him,” the officer told me.
However, it seems that the top political brass, and particularly Public Security Minister Amir Ohana — who has repeatedly claimed that the riots were one-sided, committed by Arabs against Jews — have a different idea of how to deal with the violence. In fact, it now appears that the operation is part of a wider attempt to restore pride and confidence in the police force, which according to sources in the police itself, was not at all prepared for the scale of the Palestinian uprising. Their first method, therefore, is to “punish” the Palestinians who participated in the protests.
An Israeli police officer arrests a Palestinian during confrontations in the city of Lydd, central Israel. (Oren Ziv)
In Lydd and elsewhere — despite the claims of the authorities and the Israeli media — it was the police that began violently suppressing Palestinian civilians at protests, just as it did in Sheikh Jarrah and Damascus Gate in Jerusalem last month. This brutal repression stoked some violent demonstrations by Palestinians, which led to property damage, arson attacks, stone throwing, and physical harm to Jewish civilians. The fact that police arrested over 1,500 Palestinians before its latest operation strongly indicates that the new round of arrests is intended first and foremost for political purposes.
According to Jabareen from Adalah, between 30 to 40 percent of the detainees required medical treatment following their arrest. He said that the state prosecution is appealing any decision by judges to release the detainees — even if the chances of them successfully appealing are low — in order to keep people in custody. He added that the police have even been requesting that those arrested for minor offenses remain in custody until the end of legal proceedings.
Jabareen also said that the involvement of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, into the investigation of the recent violence is illegal. “Most of the offenses are civil ones, not security based,” he explained. “The Shin Bet’s intervention is used to frighten and deter Arabs rather than dealing with the things that are allowed by law.”
While Palestinian citizens face mass arrests, one cannot help but notice the leniency with which the Israeli authorities have treated the hundreds of Israeli Jews who took part in the violence this month. For example, police arrested only four of the participants in a lynching of Palestinian driver in the city of Bat Yam — which was captured live on Israeli television — even after the newspaper Haaretz was able to locate around 20 of them.
In Lydd, I documented armed Jews throwing stones at Palestinian citizens while police officers looked on, as well as other incidents in which police turned a blind eye to Jewish violence. The religious settlers who shot and killed Musa Hassuna in Lydd, which spurred the riots in the city, were released on bail last week. It is impossible to imagine that a Palestinian who opened fire on a Jewish Israeli would receive the same treatment.
According to Jabareen, only nine percent of the indictments filed so far are against Jewish Israelis. While Jews were summoned for interrogation and later released on suspicion of incitement to violence, Jabareen said that only Palestinians were actually arrested for incitement.
A Palestinian assess the damage to a mosque in the unrecognized village of Dahmash, near the city of Lyd in central Israel, which was attacked by settlers, May 13, 2021. (Oren Ziv)
The most notable case is that of Sheikh Kamal Khatib, the deputy leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, who Jabareen says has been in custody for 12 days over incitement.
“There is no detainee in the State of Israel who has been detained for such a long time [on suspicion of such an offense],”
“Jews were interrogated for incitement to violence after making explicit calls to kill Arabs, yet they were not arrested following their interrogation.”
The State Attorney’s Office argued in response that
“the claim that the office discriminates against suspects or defendants due to their origin is unfounded, and considers riots and harm to members of the security forces to be very serious, and believes that the cause of danger in such a period does not, as a rule, allow for alternatives to detention. Therefore, the prosecution filed appeals for release from detention. As stated, this policy applies to all rioters, Jews and Arabs alike, and any other claim is unfounded. Now, with the decrease in riots, this policy is being re-examined.”
Living in a pressure cooker
The police statement on the operation explicitly states that, as part of its campaign, officers will conduct searches for illegal weapons and arrest those “belonging to criminal organizations” — referring to the organized crime syndicates that operate in Arab towns, and which have long been a major social and political concern for Palestinian citizens.
The statement, however, only reinforces the criticisms leveled by Palestinian citizens for years: as long as illegal weapons in the Arab community were directed solely against Arabs, the police would do nothing to stop the violence they produced. But now, after a small number of Palestinians opened fire at Jewish police officers and right wingers, the police are suddenly in a hurry to act.
The confiscation of illegal weapons took place following the gun murders of three residents of the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, where activists have led a massive grassroots campaign against gun violence for months.
Mourners carry a casket with the body of Muhammad Kiwan, a 17-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel, who died after being shot by Israeli police, Umm al-Fahm, northern Israel. May 20, 2021. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)
Based on past experience, though, the chances that the perpetrators of these murders will be caught are very slim. “In a week’s time, when they end this unbearable wave of arrests, and after they say ‘We showed them,’ [the cops] will disappear, and we will be left with a dysfunctional police force,” said Mudar Yunis, who chairs the National Committee of Arab Local Authorities, at the press conference.
The large-scale arrest operation was orchestrated by the police as the situation in Jerusalem and in “mixed cities” began to calm down. At the press conference, Barakeh claimed that the Israeli government is now consciously trying to escalate the situation with the aim of “bringing about another round of confrontation.”
The police are evidently redirecting the resources at their disposal in order to show who is really in charge. As such, the current operation is not about restoring “peace.” Peace in Lydd, for example, was only achieved after the police belatedly realized that right-wing Jewish activists, many of whom came from West Bank settlements, needed to be forced out of the city, and only after offices began speaking directly to the Palestinian residents there.
Of the many young Palestinians I have spoken to these past two weeks who have taken to the streets of Lydd, Jerusalem, Jaffa, and elsewhere, some have indeed resorted to forms of violence against property, police, and civilians. They described living in a bursting pressure cooker; the daily brutality and harassment by the Israeli police, long before the recent wave of protests ever began, was one of the biggest reasons for their rage. Many of these young Palestinians have already been arrested over the last two weeks — and no police operation is likely to “deter” people who feel they have almost nothing to lose.
Oren Ziv is a photojournalist, a founding member of the Activestills photography collective, and a staff writer for Local Call. Since 2003, he has been documenting a range of social and political issues in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories with an emphasis on activist communities and their struggles. His reportage has focused on the popular protests against the wall and settlements, affordable housing and other socio-economic issues, anti-racism and discrimination struggles, and the struggle to free animals.
The Justice Ministry department that investigates allegations of police misconduct will not be probing the shooting of Abdel-Afo Bassam and his injury: even though it happened in the heart of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; even though the young Jerusalemite was clearly taking pictures; even though police shot him twice; even though he was one of five Palestinian photographers who were shot by the police at the holy site that day, Friday May 7. About a dozen more photographers were attacked by police officers in other places in Jerusalem that day.
The Plaza at Damascus Gate
This column opts to cover the routine, the unsensational, the repetitious, what has been forgotten in the heat of the more dramatic events. And in Israel, what is less newsworthy than shooting a Palestinian who is taking pictures.
Bassam, 28, a freelance photographer who lives in the East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina, arrived at the Al-Aqsa plaza at about 6 P.M. that Friday. “The atmosphere was quiet and pleasant, families came from everywhere. From the north, from Jerusalem and from the West Bank,” he told me two days later. The war that erupted the next day disrupted my original plan to write about the targeting and wounding of photographers.
“I took pictures during the meal,” Bassam said.
“Afterward I approached Bab al-Silsila [Chain Gate, one of the gates of what Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call Al-Haram al-Sharif]. I saw it was terribly tense there, and people had gathered to see what was happening. But people were still offering food to one another. At about 8:10 P.M. I heard the first stun grenade explode in the plaza. The police assembled at Bab al-Silsila, as though planning to burst in. I think young men threw empty plastic bottles at them, maybe tomatoes, to try to prevent the break-in. I don’t think there were any stones,”
“You would expect that if the police attributed crimes to a few people, they wouldn’t attack the entire plaza, with tens of thousands of people on it, including women and children, right? But they did attack. The call to prayer began about half an hour after the first stun grenade. And even before, and until the nighttime prayer, the Waqf [Islamic religious trust] members cried out over loudspeakers, begged the police not to break in and asked people to show restraint.
“I was surprised by the stun grenades the police threw at the plaza, and the large forces that broke in. Aggressively, while shooting rubber-tipped metal bullets – just like that, in all directions – at people. I photographed the first to be wounded – he was wearing a red shirt, lying on the floor. A few seconds later I was hit in my right arm. Look, the mark on my arm is still there, round like the bullet. I fell, and young men carried me to the clinic.
“There were only two of us, the guy with the red shirt and me. And then, within 10 minutes or less, there was no room in the clinic. At least 20 injured people were inside. Some had head wounds. I remember seeing a boy, three or four old men and a woman who were treated. I was still a little dizzy. The medics put ice on the place where I was hit. I preferred to leave, to make room for those with worse injuries than mine. I stood outside and didn’t believe that what was happening was happening. Every centimeter was dangerous.
“The clashes continued, I looked for a somewhat safe place. But the shooting continued, there wasn’t a minute without someone or several people wounded. The medics worked nonstop. I photographed people fleeing toward the Dome of the Rock (which is usually designated for women and children). There were another four or five photographers next to me, and I saw the police aiming guns at us.
“A soldier who fired at me was about 50 meters from me. I was with my camera, facing him, somehow I turned my head the moment he pulled the trigger and was hit under my right shoulder blade, in the back. This time it was deliberate shooting, not random.”
After the pain did not subside, Bassam was examined and found to have a broken rib.
“If I hadn’t turned around, he would have hit me in a more sensitive place. I heard from the Red Crescent teams that three people lost eyes from the shooting that day. The large number of wounded (205) is no coincidence.
“I fell again, and they took me back to the clinic. The pain was worse than the first time, and the clinic was more crowded than before. It took about 10 minutes until the medics had time for me. Again they put ice on the injury and went to take care of others: several who were wounded by shrapnel from stun grenades, and were bleeding.
“I saw a boy who had been hit in the chest by a bullet, and he was bleeding from the mouth. I couldn’t leave, because there was shooting all the time. This time I stayed for about half an hour. I went out and couldn’t take pictures. I was surprised to discover that the plaza was empty, only police officers everywhere, running like lunatics, and all the exit gates from the plaza were closed, so the remaining worshippers couldn’t leave. The police locked the doors of the eastern [main] mosque with chains.
“I entered the Dome of the Rock, like other men who went in to find shelter. People blocked the doors so the police wouldn’t burst in. But the police threw stun grenades at the doors, and a policeman shouted and demanded that everyone come out. I was next to the door, I heard a member of the Waqf police say to a policeman: ‘Give me five minutes and they’ll come out.’ The policeman said: ‘One minute.’ That really scared the people, women started to shout, others sat and read the Koran and cried. I stayed there all night, awake, I said the dawn prayer and returned home, very tired.”