Israel arrests community leaders in attempt to quell protests over Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian near the Huwwara checkpoint, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, 16 December. Israel has detained hundreds as part of a violent crackdown aimed at suppressing protests of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

 

Ayman Ameen APA images

Israeli forces have escalated their sweeping arrest campaign of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, detaining hundreds since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on 6 December.

Israeli occupation forces arrested 400 Palestinians on Tuesday and Wednesday alone in a crackdown Israel dubbed “Operation Green Candles.”

Israeli media reported that it was one of the biggest mass arrest campaigns in recent years, involving 1,600 occupation personnel.

As Israel intensified its violent effort to suppress Palestinian protests for Jerusalem, its forces continue “a concerted campaign of arrests,” the prisoners rights group Addameer said.

The arrest campaign has targeted “ex-detainees and individuals who are considered leading figures in their communities,” Addameer stated.

These included the arrest last Monday of Khader Adnan, a former detainee who has previously undertaken two prolonged hunger strikes – 66 days in 2012 and 55 days in 2015 – in protest of his detention without charge or trial by Israel.

Adnan immediately began a hunger strike to protest his latest arrest, according to prisoner solidarity group Samidoun.

Israeli soldiers also arrested Hassan Yousef, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, on Wednesday.

Yousef had been released on 31 August after being held under so-called administrative detention – without charge or trial – for two years.

He is one of 12 Palestinian lawmakers now in Israeli prisons, nine of them held under administrative detention, according to Addameer.

Israeli forces moved imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti – also a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council – to solitary confinement this week, after he made a statement in commemoration of the first intifada, which began 30 years ago this month.

The detained lawmakers include Khalida Jarrar, who is also a board member at Addameer. She was arrested in July and has been held without charge ever since.

Targeting human rights defenders

Amid the current intensification of its arrest campaign, Israel has also targeted lawyers who defend Palestinian prisoners.

On 4 December it arrested three lawyers, including Eyad Messk, who represents Raed Salah, a prominent Palestinian political leader in Israel. Israel also arrested Khaled Zabarqa and Feras al-Sabbah, who work with prisoners and human rights organizations.

The lawyers were held in Israel’s Petah Tikva interrogation center for a week before being released on Monday, according to Addameer.

Commenting on the arrests, Addameer said: “Israeli forces routinely target human rights defenders as part of an intensifying campaign against anyone seeking to further the cause of dignity and justice for the Palestinian people.”

In August, Israel detained Salah Hamouri, a Palestinian-French human rights defender and former detainee who works with Addameer.

He also remains in prison despite protests from French citizens and the French government.

But on 7 December, Israel released Addameer’s media coordinator Hassan Safadi who was held for more than a year and a half. He was never charged.

No limits

As this video and others document, Israeli forces have even arrested injured persons being transported by medical personnel.

In this incident, Israeli forces stopped and forcibly removed two girls from a Red Crescent ambulance in Halhoul, north of Hebron, on Wednesday.

The two girls denied medical treatment were Manar Khader Rayan, 17, who was injured by a rubber-coated bullet, and Assalah Yousef Rayan, 17, Addameer reported.

A third child, 13-year-old Muhassen Taha, was also arrested in the same raid.

Videos and photos extensively document Israeli armed men disguised as Palestinians – so-called mistaravim – pointing weapons at journalists and seizing Palestinians in the midst of protests.

Another video published by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem circulated widely on social media. It shows Israeli soldiers on Tuesday trying to arrest three Palestinian boys, all under the age of 8.

Thousands honor disabled protester killed in Gaza

On Friday, four Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip as Israel cracked down on protests that have continued since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the country’s capital.

Among them was 29-year-old Ibrahim Abu Thurayya, a wheelchair user who had lost both of his legs during an Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008.

He had been seen participating in protests near Gaza’s eastern boundary with Israel, waving Palestinian flags. Abu Thurayya, who supported a family of 11 by washing cars, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers with a bullet to his head.

On Saturday, thousands marched in his funeral.

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Trump may have offered the Palestinian people a golden opportunity by officially burying the joke of the " tow states living side by side in peace......etc." The logical step is now for Palestinians to ask for the establishment of one democratic state based on the principle of one person one vote, comprising the whole of historical Palestine. Why is everybody, including Palestinians and Arabs, but also Europeans still insisting on the fiction of the two state solution? The two state solution never existed and never will. Demonstrating against Trumps's decision is useless and a waste of Palestinian blood and scarce resources. It is high time to start the long struggle for a democratic state for all the people of Palestine. Remember South African history and many others and also that in human history never say never.

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As an admirer of Gideon Levy & Norman Finkelstein, I am relieved Palestinians are finally in the spotlight even if for the usual bad reasons, in that sense Trump did us a favor

As a German Jew who escaped first to England with a Kindertransport, then during the war to the US, I can never stem my outrage at the Israelis lying, accusing, stealing, torturing, imprisoning, destroying homes, arbors, and claiming Palestinian land & water as their own

Now with the world as witness to the atrocities Palestinians endure on a daily basis, perhaps the Mainstream Media can no longer deny and hide what is taking place, and the public will demand justice

Thank you for what you do on a daily basis, may you get more company and finally Justice will come

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Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.