The Israeli police have declared yet another war against Palestinians – this time, against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
On May 23, the Israeli police announced the launch of a massive arrest campaign against Palestinians who took part in the latest uprising to resist Israel’s colonial project (the police charged them with participating in “riots” and online “incitement”). Within hours, police had begun raiding houses, arresting hundreds of protesters in a matter of days. This campaign follows the arrests of 1,550 others in the past two weeks, of whom between 70 and 90 percent are Palestinian.
In the words of Israeli police, this campaign aims to “settle the score.” Just as each war on Gaza has a name, this campaign has a name, too: “Law and Order.” And as with those code names and the various euphemisms that come attached to them – like “Israel has a right to defend itself” – “Law and Order” is a pretext to continue the state’s aggression against Palestinians.
This massive arrest campaign aims at crushing the uprising by disciplining those who stood up to Israel’s colonialism. For the first time in decades, Palestinians across historic Palestine managed to unite, joining together in struggle. But the state prefers it when Palestinians inside Israel endure their oppression and subordination in silence. So its police forces have begun terrorizing neighborhoods, aiming to deter others from protesting. Moreover, forcing Palestinians to divert their energy toward organizing around arrestees drains the movement of momentum. These are the same tactics Israel employs against Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem, where hundreds have been arrested in recent weeks.
And once arrested? The hostility and racism of Israeli police toward Palestinian citizens has been well documented by human rights organizations. When you live in a country that is against you, you can’t rely on institutions for protection, because these too, are against you. You are left alone, and you have no choice but to fight back.
Palestinians understand this, and this is why they are organizing to support detainees and their families. Lawyers across Palestine are volunteering to defend them, and people are organizing to protest outside courts during the arrestees’ court hearings. We believe it is our duty to stand by each other and not leave anyone behind.
But that is not enough. There needs to be a global outcry, because the more that Palestinians stand up for their rights, the more they will be crushed.
This has long been the logic of the state of Israel: Everything can be solved with force, and if that doesn’t work, then try more force.
None of this is about “law and order.” Nor is this a story of a “clash” between a state and its citizens. This is part of the continued aggression and suppression of Palestinians.