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‘They’re fighting ordinary people who want to live ordinary lives’

Two taxi rides gave a small glimpse into some of the daily realities of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents — ordinary people forced to live in unordinary circumstances.

“These houses were once neighbors,” says Naseem, a Palestinian taxi driver, as we drive through the neighborhood of Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem. He points to the separation wall to our right, jammed between homes that were mere meters away from each other. “These people are even from the same families. Now they have to walk or drive around the wall and through a checkpoint, just so they can visit one another.”

Naseem, who is in his early 50’s, speaks with a soft voice and a relaxed demeanor as he drives me from Jerusalem’s central bus station to Ramallah. I would normally use the regular public buses, but an attack on Qalandiya checkpoint just a few days before has me wary of running into trouble or going through more tedious security checks.

I give Naseem the name of the street where my meeting was located, but he has never heard of it. I call my colleague in Ramallah to ask for directions, she tells us the hotel nearest to the building. “Ah of course!” laughs Naseem. Palestinians generally don’t navigate their towns by street names (if they had any); instead we ask for the closest neighborhoods, landmarks, or family homes. “These street names in Ramallah are all new,” he says. “They name them after this country or that donor or that historical person. I don’t know if anyone even uses them to get around.”

Naseem lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and six children. His family is poor, and with a high rent and daily expenses, he says it is hard to make ends meet. He doesn’t mind his job – “I like having a simple life,” he says – so long as he can support his kids and help them enter higher professions. His eldest daughter just began her pharmacy studies at university.

I ask Naseem how life has been for him in the city during the past few months. Since October, Jerusalem has been the epicenter of violence both from Palestinian knife and car attacks against Israelis, and from the Israeli security forces’ crackdowns and closures on Palestinian residents and neighborhoods. Naseem gives me the same answer I always hear from Palestinians in the city: “Hiya se’ib (it’s...

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Israel's housing policy for Arabs is designed to fail

Israel’s housing system is not ‘failing’ its Palestinian citizens. It is working exactly as it was intended: to minimize Arab lands in order to maximize Jewish communities.

Half an hour north of Tel Aviv stand several hills offering a natural panoramic view of the bustling Arab towns of Taibeh and Tira, their congested neighborhoods, and their narrow roads and alleys. Surrounding the towns are the smaller and orderly Jewish villages and farming communities of Sha’ar Efraim, Sde Warburg, Ramat Hakovesh, and others. The hilltops used to be empty; now they are home to high-rise apartments of the new Jewish town of Tzur Yitzhak, along with Tzur Natan, Kokhav Yair and Tzur Yigal.

The view from those hills encapsulates Israel’s land policy toward the Palestinian communities in the state that survived after 1948. Although Taibeh and Tira are among the largest localities in the area (about 40,000 and 24,000 residents respectively), they are physically constrained by the sparse Jewish communities around them, whose populations are at most in the few hundreds or thousands. Many of the surrounding lands once belonged to Palestinians but were transferred to Jewish owners during the state’s formative years. The roads and highways around Taibeh and Tira further serve as barriers that prevent the towns from expanding.

This man-made landscape is not only the result of decades-old policies – it is an active process that continues to this day. Just last week, Israeli authorities demolished a home near Taibeh that belonged to a family of 11, which was built without a construction permit on land that was zoned for agricultural use. The Israeli tractors were accompanied by masked police forces that used stun grenades and “skunk” water to disperse and arrest protesting residents.

The following day, Haaretz reported that the attorney general approved recommendations to “increase enforcement of planning and construction laws,” which includes carrying out demolitions against illegal buildings and issuing fines against their inhabitants. Members of the Palestinian leadership in Israel connected these developments to Netanyahu’s call to enhance law enforcement in the Palestinian sector, a message he championed after last month’s shooting in Tel Aviv. The new plan amounts to harassment of the Palestinian community, the Palestinian leadership maintains.

Israeli authorities claim the demolitions are about applying the rule of law, saying that thousands of Palestinian citizens are refusing to follow planning procedures and abide by their local and regional...

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More police won't solve Arab crime in Israel

The government is exploiting the shooting attack in Tel Aviv to disguise discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens as an effort to bring the rule of law to an ‘unruly’ society.

Prime Minister Netanyahu directed a range of comments at Israel’s Palestinian community Saturday night, speaking at the scene of a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv. A day earlier, a Palestinian citizen from northern Israel opened fire at a bar, killing two and wounding eight.

Netanyahu denounced what he called “lawless enclaves” in the Arab sector; condemned the “wild incitement of radical Islam”; encouraged Arab integration through the IDF; and declared that police presence will ramp up in Palestinian towns and villages. “Whoever wants to be Israeli must be Israeli all the way,” he said, adding that he “will not accept two states within Israel.”

Netanyahu’s comments have been widely criticized as amounting to racist incitement, with commentators accusing the prime minister of blaming the Palestinian community in Israel for the actions of a man with a personal history of crime and mental health problems. Local and national Palestinian leaders in Israel publicly condemned the attack in Tel Aviv, while some Jewish politicians joined in blasting Netanyahu for “lashing out” at Palestinian citizens.

There is, however, another concerning element of Netanyahu’s comments that is not being given enough scrutiny: his call to increase law enforcement in the Palestinian communities in Israel.

On the surface, it would seem that this measure is actually a positive move. Not only do Palestinian communities face high levels of crime and violence, but Palestinian citizens themselves have long demanded that police become more involved in addressing these problems, with many initiatives for trust-building and cooperation being pursued by local Palestinian leaders, civil society groups, and certain police branches.

Netanyahu’s “solution” in the wake of the Tel Aviv attack, however, is deliberately misleading. As Palestinian citizens have long criticized, Israeli law enforcement authorities have historically taken little interest in the Arab sector unless they related to security matters, excessively belligerent mob activities, or political and anti-war demonstrations.

The reason for this, as the Abraham Fund’s Co-Director Thabet Abu Rass told +972 Magazine in October, is that the Israeli police “are not operating as a civic service for the [Arab] community, but as a security-oriented institution for the state.” This is reflected in Israel’s...

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Arab group in Israel paves new future for town's next generation

University students from Tira are proving they can be a force for change in the Palestinian community in Israel. The key: taking the fate of their hometown’s youth into their own hands.

Three weeks ago, the building of the municipality of Tira, a Palestinian Arab town in the Muthalath (“Triangle”) area of Israel, was bustling with over two hundred people gathering in its auditorium.

Five speakers took the stage and delivered captivating talks on five different topics, all of which were nothing short of inspiring. Fadi Matar, the 24-year-old founder of the organization behind the event, described the process of making it happen in a community not used to such initiatives. A professor and scientist then spoke about how his own experience could be an example for youths to build a successful and fulfilling career. An activist made the case for why youths should visit Palestinian villages destroyed and depopulated during the Nakba. A fashion designer showcased how to create modern women’s clothing out of their grandmothers’ traditional Palestinian gowns. And a man told the story of how he channeled difficult moments in his life into a passion for Arabic calligraphy.

The “Tira Talks” were organized by the Academiyu al-Tira (“the students/educated of Tira”), a local collective of Arab university and college students from the town. Inspired by the TED talks format, the Academiyu initiated the event as a creative way to invigorate new social interests and ideas among the town’s residents.

“We wanted to give members of our community a stage to speak about their lives, experiences, and special pursuits,” said one of the organizers. “We want our town to know the diverse kinds of people we have in our midst.”

Tira, a largely conservative Muslim town, has for years garnered a negative image among both Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel as a place of crime, reckless driving, and gun violence – problems that indeed affect the town to this day. However, local initiatives like the Academiyu are showing that there is much more to the town than these stereotypes, with many even seeing their work as playing an important role in countering Tira’s social troubles.

+972 Magazine spoke with two members of the Academiyu: Mais Jondia, 21, an accounting student at Tel Aviv University; and Aseel Bishara, 21, a medical student at Ben-Gurion University. The two spoke about the beginnings and purpose of the collective and...

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In Bethlehem, even running is a political statement

Despite their difficult circumstances, Palestinians in Bethlehem find ways to remind the world that Israel’s occupation cannot exist forever.

The organizers of the Palestine Marathon, held annually in the West Bank city of Bethlehem since 2013, recently announced that its next run will take place on Friday 1st April, 2016.

The event – one my most memorable highlights of 2015 – is a thrilling experience. The thousands that gathered in Manger Square, where the run kicks off, included Muslim and Christian Palestinians, internationals from dozens of foreign countries, and even some Israeli Jews. Some came to support the marathon’s motto of “the right to movement;” some just came for the exercise. A few joked that they were practicing running away from soldiers for the next time they went to a demonstration.

As the runners passed through the streets, we were watched by children cheering and waving Palestinian flags from their windows, with the occasional men teasing from the sidewalks: “Forget this crap habibi, yalla come have coffee with us!” Among the crowds were groups wearing T-shirts promoting various causes, while artists walked by showcasing their work. This year one artist, Rana Bishara, carried a large wooden cross covered with empty tear gas shells used by the Israeli security forces.

The most notable feature of the Palestine Marathon, however, is the route itself. Starting from the Church of the Nativity (said to be the site of Jesus Christ’s birth), runners are taken through the streets of the city and into the Aida and Dheisheh refugee camps – the entrance to the former marked by an arch with a giant key representing the Palestinian right of return. The route then goes along Israel’s separation wall, where runners witness firsthand the concrete barrier enclosing the town, the security towers and cameras leering down at them, and the graffiti displaying political images and defiant slogans.

Bethlehem is in many ways an exceptional place in the West Bank due to the mix of its religious significance, cultural vibrancy, international presence, and relative autonomy as an urban center in the PA-governed Area A. But even with its stature, the historic city cannot escape the fate of the other Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

Friday marked the 49th Christmas which Bethlehem has celebrated under Israeli military occupation. While thousands gathered around the massive lighted tree in Manger Square to the sounds...

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After Odeh's U.S. visit, the Joint List must step up its game

Ayman Odeh’s visit to the U.S. demonstrates that the Joint List needs to take a more central role in the global discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ayman Odeh’s recent visit to the United States garnered much attention among American audiences. But back home, within his own community, the scant attention given to his visit was mostly critical. Various circles among Palestinian citizens of Israel had characterized Odeh’s visit as a politically futile and undermining exercise, while others made personal attacks claiming that he did not represent Palestinian public opinion and was only doing it for self-promotion.

Some of these criticisms were understandable, primarily because Odeh has garnered an international persona which has not yet been granted to him domestically. Contrary to how Foreign Policy magazine portrayed him in its list of 100 Global Thinkers, Odeh was not the architect of the Joint List. In the face of a raised electoral threshold, the Joint List was formed (and is arduously maintained) by a collective effort of parliamentary representatives, organizational members of the four different parties, civil society figures and activists, and of course, the Palestinian public that voted for them. As Jackie Khoury rightly wrote in Haaretz, “Foreign Policy magazine would have been more accurate if it had awarded the honor to the list headed by Ayman, rather than to Ayman.”

However, despite these criticisms, Odeh’s visit to the U.S. was arguably one of his most important acts since entering the Knesset this year. In the span of the last two weeks, Odeh managed to do what the Palestinian leadership in Israel failed to achieve in years: raising his community’s experiences and aspirations onto the international stage, and specifically the American political arena, in a highly visible and influential manner.

This was partly due to Odeh’s communication style and his passionate articulation of building a shared future and ending the occupation, which received a warm reception from left-wing American audiences. But this success was also due in large part to the platform of his Joint List, the self-proclaimed “democratic camp” of Israel’s political spectrum.

In fact, more than anything, Odeh’s visit revealed the need for the Joint List to conduct much more strident advocacy abroad. As American discussions on Israel and Palestine slowly open up to more divergent opinions, particularly within the American Jewish community, the Joint List...

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An unsettling moment of justice under occupation

Did a Palestinian activist see justice only because the soldier who shot him was an Arab?

In a rare piece of positive news, Haaretz reported Saturday that the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court decided that 155,000 shekels ($40,200) should be paid in compensation to Rateb Abu Rahmeh, a Palestinian activist and university lecturer from the West Bank village of Bil’in.

The decision was made after Abu Rahmeh filed a lawsuit against a Border Policeman who, in 2005, shot him in the leg with a sponge-tipped bullet during a weekly demonstration in Bil’in. The court found that the policeman had given a false account of the events when he claimed that Abu Rahmeh threw stones during the demonstration; a video of the incident showed that the protesters “were not unruly,” and that the officer fired the bullet while his unit used stun grenades to disperse the demonstration.

The officer was sentenced to seven months in prison (reduced to six months community service), and the judge ruled that he — rather than the state or the security forces unit — was personally liable for the compensation payment.

The case marks a modicum of justice for Rateb Abu Rahmeh. Although it has been 10 years since the incident, the fact that the court acknowledged the truth of the shooting, and ruled that monetary compensation should be paid, is a rare accomplishment for any Palestinian demanding accountability for abuses committed by members of the Israeli security forces.

However, there is one detail that doesn’t sit quite right: the Border Policeman was Arab.

The oddity is not that there are Arabs serving in the Israeli forces; Druze and Bedouin citizens have long served in the military and Border Police units — the former being conscripted and the latter being encouraged to volunteer. What is strange is that out of the countless violent incidents that occur every year (let alone every week) in the occupied territories, one of the few to actually result in an admittance of guilt by the authorities (with a decision to provide compensation for an offense) is a case where the perpetrator was Arab and not Jewish.

This statement may very well be invoking an assumption without hard evidence. But Israel’s track record when it comes to accountability — even when extensive and undisputed evidence is available — leaves nothing but suspicion any time a...

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Israel’s most repressive law is about to get worse

Using the Emergency Regulations to outlaw Palestinian political movements is a preview of what’s coming.

In June 1951, member of Knesset and future prime minister Menachem Begin participated in a meeting of the Knesset’s Constitutional, Law, and Justice Committee on whether Israel should adopt administrative detentions as a legitimate security practice. During the discussions, Begin gave a scathing criticism of the Emergency Regulations of 1945, the British law that permitted detentions without charges or trial during its colonial administration of Mandate Palestine:

Despite Begin’s criticisms in the forum, the Knesset decided to keep the Emergency Regulations as a part of Israel’s legal system, under the pretext that the newly-formed country was still in a state of war and should therefore hold on to the extensive security powers that the law provided.

As Begin predicted, the law was routinely used for non-security purposes, though perhaps not as he had conceived. During Israel’s formative years, the law was one of the key mechanisms that allowed the state to impose military rule on its Palestinian citizens until 1966; seize Palestinian lands and properties under the guise of “military necessity;” and prevent Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons from returning to the homes they lost during the 1948 war. After the beginning of the 1967 occupation, Israel expanded the Emergency Regulations into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, making it the legal basis for the military rule we see today. Israel’s Supreme Court, far from questioning the law’s existence, continually upheld its legitimacy and the military occupation that derived from it.

Begin, though renowned as a hawk and a nationalist, had both personal and political reasons for opposing the Emergency Regulations. During the British Mandate in Palestine, the law granted Britain extensive military powers as a means to suppress local Arab resistance and Zionist insurgents fighting against foreign rule. Begin and his underground militia, the Irgun, were among the primary targets of the ensuing crackdown. Having experienced the brutal power of the law — and believing it to be a severe threat to the freedoms of Israel’s citizens — Begin asserted that “this law is bad from its very foundation and…does not become good because it is practiced by Jews.”

It seems Begin’s warnings were not only ignored by the Knesset committee in 1951, but also by the leaders of his own Likud party decades later. Two weeks ago, Defense Minister...

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Paris attacks show the interconnectedness of our troubles

If the attacks on Paris are viewed as ‘an attack on us all,’ then so too should the wars in Syria and Iraq.

Like millions of others last night, I stayed up for hours following the news of the horrifying attacks in Paris. At the same time that I dreaded the rising body count and the welfare of my friends and a family member (all safe), I was also afraid of what the public responses would be to the events both from France and around the world.

Indeed, I came across plenty of hateful and racist comments lambasting Muslims, cursing Syrian refugees, and calling for an all-out war on “them” (whoever “they” are). But I also saw that many people were just as quick to condemn these hostile messages, chastise racism and political opportunism, and insist that “terrorism has no race or religion.” In the midst of yesterday’s dark events, it was comforting to know that there were still many beacons of humanity refusing to succumb to twisted narratives.

The next weeks will be filled with analyses of the attacks in Paris, seeking to provide lessons for moving forward on the questions of Da’esh (the Arabic name for ISIS), the security of European countries, and the ongoing humanitarian crises in the Middle East. At the same time, many political actors will try to exploit the events for their gain, from Bashar al-Assad to the French far-right to Israeli government officials.

The biggest challenge in the midst of this mess is to assert a key understanding about last night’s events. The cause of the Paris attacks is not the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe, nor France’s involvement in military operations in the Middle East, nor the religion of Islam. It is the desire by groups like Da’esh and their followers to exert power over governments and civilians, and to project an image of omnipotence and far-reaching influence. Fear is the most effective tool to achieve this goal, and atrocious acts of violence are its quickest generators.

However, contrary to the claims of Da’esh and many politicians and pundits, the main targets of this agenda are not people from Western countries. In fact, its primary victims are the people of the Middle East. A night before the Paris attacks, two suicide bombings by Da’esh ravaged the Beirut neighborhood of Burj al-Barajneh, killing 43 people and injuring over 200 more. The following...

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Can we call it one state and be done with it?

The debate over whether we are living in a single state is irrelevant – the answer is a resounding yes. The real problem is that freedom and equality are only extended to some of its subjects.

“You’ve just crossed the Green Line.” I say it every time I take a friend or a group from abroad to visit Jerusalem, as we turned left from Jaffa Street down toward Damascus Gate in the Old City. Many of them do a double take, looking around for a sign or marker indicating the line’s existence – but there are none. The roads intersect, the light rail train passes by, and pedestrians walk across the street as usual.

I always raise this fact with visitors not to emphasize the importance of the Green Line, but rather to show them how insignificant it really is. Decades ago, this “armistice” line separated the hostile armies of Israel and the neighboring Arab countries. Today it is supposed to demarcate the border of a Palestinian state. But the Green Line is nowhere to be found in East Jerusalem, nor in any other part of the occupied territories. Settlements, highways, national parks, and the separation wall have completely erased it from the land’s geography.

The only places one can find the Green Line are on some foreign maps (not Israeli- or Palestinian-made maps), and in the minds of policymakers and observers who believe that the two-state solution is still possible. But even that seems to be changing. Barak Ravid recently reported in Haaretz that senior officials at the White House are beginning to publicly speak about the situation in the West Bank as a one-state reality, with almost “no chance of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.” This news comes a few weeks after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry remarked that the violence of the past month “offers a glimpse” into the reality of two peoples being forced to live with each other.

The White House would predictably disavow these comments with statements reiterating its commitment to establishing two states and renewing peace talks. It shouldn’t. For years, the international community has glued itself to the notion that a two-state solution is still within its grasp, albeit slipping away due to Israel’s expansion into the West Bank. Their assumption is that the occupied territories have not yet been completely absorbed by Israel,...

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'When the police aren’t your protectors, there is no safety'

Palestinian citizens of Israel share the same fear of violence as Jews in recent weeks. But many of them don’t find security or comfort in Israel’s police forces, who seem to think that Palestinian citizens should accept that their rights and dignity must be compromised in order to make Jewish citizens feel safer.

“We are scared to leave the town,” an Arab woman in Tira told me last week. “A man from the neighborhood who works in Ra’anana happened to be walking on the same street where a stabbing attack had just happened. A group of people saw that he was Arab and started yelling and charging towards him. They would have beaten him to death had it not been for a Jewish person nearby who blocked them and told him to run.”

I spoke with an Arab friend later that evening about the incident, and about many similar ones that have been taking place across the country during the past few weeks. I asked him if he would ever consider filing a complaint to the police if he were attacked on the street or harassed at his workplace. “Please,” he replied with a sarcastic grin. “The police aren’t here to protect us; they’re here to protect Jews. When this is the case, there is no safety for us.”

The comment illustrated a troubling aspect of Palestinian life inside Israel. Despite what many Jewish citizens may think, Palestinian citizens share the same fear that has gripped the country since the violence began several weeks ago – sometimes worrying that they too may be stabbed by a Palestinian thinking they were Jews. Many Arab families are starting to avoid going to malls in Jewish towns; some Arab university students are anxious for their safety on campus as the new school year begins; and Arab workers are worried about appearing “suspicious” to onlookers while driving or walking in public.

Justifying racial profiling

But unlike for most Jewish citizens, Palestinian citizens do not find security or comfort in Israel’s law enforcement authorities. In the weeks since the violence began, police forces have increased their presence at the entrances and exits of Arab communities throughout Israel, creating makeshift checkpoints and pulling over Palestinian citizens for inspection, both young and old, men and women. Arabs in mixed cities like Lyyd (Lod), Jaffa and Acre have also been stopped and searched.

These police methods are...

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Palestinian citizens will always be enemies in a Jewish state

The Or Commission’s report on the October 2000 events was a symbolic indictment of Israel’s ‘enemy doctrine’ toward its Palestinian citizens. But Israel has not absorbed the lessons of the report, because demands for equality remain anathema to the states raison d’être.

Twelve years ago, in its report on the events of October 2000, the Or Commission of Inquiry wrote a statement that was unprecedented in the history of Israel’s Palestinian minority. After extensively criticizing the police’s violent conduct, the commission concluded: “The police must instill among its officers the understanding that the Arab community as a whole is not their enemy, and that it should not be treated as an enemy.”

Though perhaps unintended, the commission’s statement amounted to a symbolic indictment of Israel’s longstanding “enemy doctrine” toward its Palestinian citizens. For the first time, an official Israeli body was acknowledging the systemic hostility behind the state’s policies since 1948, and determined that those attitudes had to change in order to resolve the roots of the people’s grievances.

Twelve years later, however, it is clear that Israel has not absorbed any lessons from the report. Far from revising its enemy doctrine, the state has intensified it. Government ministers in charge of law enforcement spew out racist speech to delegitimize the rights of Palestinian citizens. The Shin Bet routinely monitors and harasses Palestinian activists for attending demonstrations or writing social media posts against Israeli policies. Now police officers have permission to open fire on Palestinians who throw stones in Israel just as they do against Palestinians in the occupied territories.

These continuing trends reveal how the idea of the internal enemy remains a powerful force for Israeli policy. It rallies many among the Jewish public behind the government and marginalizes criticism of their methods, bonding the state and society with assumptions of the dangers posed by the “other” Israeli citizens. No one questions the police’s violent suppression of anti-war protests, just as no one blinks when Palestinians like Kheir Hamdan are unjustifiably shot by the police. Netanyahu did not even have to give details last month to justify the use of live gunfire against Arabs in the Naqab; all he had to do was say there were people throwing stones in the South, and the public understood him.

The enemy doctrine is not only intrinsic in Israel’s security apparatus, but permeates all aspects of social...

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Thirteen killed, no one punished: Remembering October 2000

During a single week in October of 2000, Israeli Police shot dead 13 Palestinians — 12 of them Israeli citizens — who took to the streets to show solidarity with demonstrators in the West Bank and Gaza. The violence profoundly impacted the Palestinian community in Israel. Just as devastating, however, has been the complete absence of accountability.

A series of photos circulated on social media last week showing people holding portraits of 13 young men. The 13 men were Palestinian Arabs – 12 citizens of Israel and one resident of Gaza – who were killed by Israeli Police in what became known as the “October 2000 events.” The photos read in Arabic: “We carry the memory, we continue the struggle.”

This week Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up 20 percent of the state’s population, are marking the 15th anniversary of those killings. The events were a significant turning point in the community’s history; but most people in Israel and abroad have long forgotten them, or are completely unaware of the victims’ stories, or have many misconceptions about what occurred that month.

On September 28, 2000, Ariel Sharon, then-leader of the opposition Likud party, made his infamous visit to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound escorted by hundreds of Israeli police officers. The move was viewed as a deliberate provocation both against the Palestinian people and against Israel’s negotiations with the PLO, and became the final spark that unleashed the Second Intifada after months of worsening tensions.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the occupied territories immediately demonstrated against Sharon’s bellicose move, but were met by Israeli security forces that used lethal force to suppress the protests, killing several Palestinians and injuring scores more.

Targeting citizens

Palestinian citizens in Israel soon organized their own demonstrations in Arab towns and villages across the country, with thousands taking to the streets in solidarity with Palestinians in the territories and in protest of the government’s policies. While the demonstrations were largely non-violent, rioting also occurred with stone-throwing, burning of tires and clashes with police forces.

The state’s response to the demonstrations inside Israel was unprecedented. Israeli police deployed thousands of officers around Arab communities, and more alarmingly, sent special sniper units to accompany the forces. The police and their snipers used live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas against the crowds. In one week,...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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