‘A war declaration’: Palestinians in Israel decry mass arrests

Israeli police launch wave of arrests targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel who rallied in support of Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Aqsa and Gaza

By 24 May 2021
photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP

Israeli police announced they will arrest hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel over the coming days for their participation in recent sit-ins in support of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the besieged Gaza Strip.

The wave of mass arrests will take place as part of what police called “operation law and order”. It is intended to penalise those who have taken part in demonstrations against settler violence, the Israeli forces’ crackdown on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and the military’s 11-day bombardment campaign of Gaza, which killed 248 people.

In a statement on Sunday night, Israeli police said some 1,550 people have already been arrested since May 9 and the campaign is a “continuation” that aims to “prosecute” demonstrators who have over the past two weeks taken to the streets in towns and cities across Israel.

Thousands of security forces from “all units” will be deployed to carry out raids, it said, in towns and cities predominantly inhabited by Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 20 percent of the country’s population.

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