Militarised Israeli cops are waging a campaign of fear and intimidation against Palestinians inside Israel’s own borders.
Footage from the city of Jaffa shows border cops terrorising Palestinian neighbourhoods with stun grenades and night time raids. Palestinians also report facing daily harassment at newly-set up police checkpoints and being spied on by plain clothes cops.
Cops have also begun mass arrests against Palestinians in Israel who took part in protests and defended their neighbourhoods from right wing Israelis.
The increased repression comes after Palestinian citizens of Israel took the lead in a wave of revolt across all of Palestine.
Now Israel is sending border cops to try and put them down.
In a report in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Palestinians describe police incursions into their neighbourhoods in the middle of the night.
The stories—some of them backed up by video—follow a pattern. Police, armed with assault rifles, step out of armoured vehicles and throw stun grenades at people’s homes in all directions.
One Palestinian, Wisam Abu Nar, described an attack on his family home. “The entire family was sitting outside the house,” he said.
“A police van passed. Suddenly, and it’s not clear why, they started throwing grenades at us into the yard, at my 70 year old father who came out to talk to them. The children were in shock and cried.”
Another video, filmed by Palestinian resident Ibrahim Suri, captures the moment police shot him with a sponge-tipped or rubber-coated bullet for filming them.
“I was sitting at home. I saw forces in the street, entering and leaving every hour or two, throwing stun grenades in all directions and indiscriminately,” he said.
“I filmed until they saw me. I saw someone pointing upward to his friend. I told him ‘If you want to shoot me, shoot me, I’m in a democratic country and I can still document.’
“And then he really did shoot at me, in my worst dreams I didn’t think that he would really shoot at me. After they shot me in the face, they also threw a stun grenade on the roof.”
Palestinians also report that, during the day, police stop them at checkpoints and demand to see ID. Cops also target young Palestinian men on motorbikes, confiscating their keys, and using minor traffic offences as an excuse.
The repression comes after Israel’s government approved the use of militarised security forces against Palestinians in Israeli cities.
Palestinians had protested in solidarity with those in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, and also defended themselves from attacks by armed Israeli gangs.
The cops’ methods are almost identical to those Israel uses to repress Palestinians in the militarily occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. They expose Israel’s lie that Palestinian citizens are treated equally to Jews.
Now it’s clear that Palestinians in all parts of Palestine are united under the same system of racism and violence against them.
Warmonger prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu threatened even more violence against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
He and his defence minister Benny Gantz want to control the “reconstruction” of Gaza to squeeze the resistance group Hamas, which governs there.
Netanyahu said Israel would respond with “a whole new level of force” if Hamas ever fires rockets again.
Israel’s nine-day assault on Gaza, which ended last Friday killed 232 people, including at least 65 children.
The assault also forced at least 58,000 Palestinians to flee their homes.
It destroyed 1,000 homes, made 1,800 unfit for living, and damaged another 14,900.
Residents of the Gaza Strip had just a few hours of electricity a day during the assault.
One resident, Salma, told Socialist Worker, “The magnitude of the destruction is huge. The war this time was the most difficult—worse than in 2014, 2012 and 2008.”
She added, “Everybody is looking forward, trying to strengthen themselves. We need to cry, find some time to speak about it, share some memories and build some resilience.”
But, she said, “It is a mixed feeling. The war has ended but the siege is still going on.”
Israel has kept Gaza under siege since 2007, shortly after Hamas won Palestinian elections.
Hamas has gained some new support among Palestinians for being seen to resist Israel. It also declared victory after Israel failed to stop it from firing rockets.
Hamas’s leaders want to use support to be recognised as legitimate representatives of Palestinians by rulers of nearby Arab states.
Last week’s ceasefire was mediated by Egypt.
Now Gantz wants to use the siege to put the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs in the West Bank, in charge of the “reconstruction” of the Gaza Strip.
And he wants the PA, not Hamas, to be seen as the “legitimate” Palestinian leadership.
The other side of this is to threaten more violence against Gaza if Hamas dares to object.
But Salma said Israel’s latest assault showed solidarity was growing among Palestinians and beyond.
“This time Israel could not tell its own story and have people believe it,” she said.
“They could not claim it is a war between two balanced forces because the destruction is obvious.
“And this time, all the Palestinians stood beside each other, in Israel, in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.”
Israeli politicians are using the aftermath of the assault on Gaza to try and break a long-running political crisis.
Political parties in Israel are struggling to form a government following their fourth election in two years.
Prime minister Netanyahu hoped that the assault on Gaza would allow him to rally other right wing parties into a coalition behind him.
But a poll following the ceasefire shows there is still no majority support for any political party.
Instead, some 47 percent of people said they opposed the ceasefire on Gaza because it failed to disarm Hamas as Netanyahu had promised it would.
Nationalist leader Naftali Bennett has attacked Netanyahu’s government for failing to defeat Hamas.
“The state’s deterrence—in the face of a group of terrorists in Gaza and in the face of armed gangs inside Israel—is at the lowest point in its history,” he wrote on Facebook.
Netanyahu’s main opponent, Yesh Atid, has until Wednesday of next week to form a government. Bennett’s support could help them form a government and end Netanyahu’s time as prime minister. But many of Bennett’s supporters would see this as a betrayal, as Yesh Atid is not seen as right wing.
It could mean Israel heads for a fifth election—where all political parties fight to be the “toughest” on Palestinian resistance.
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