‘Israel Is A Terrorist State’
Unrest grows among Palestinian citizens of Israel, outraged by
restrictions on access to al-Aqsa and causalities in the occupied
By Jonathan Cook
October 13, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - The violence rocking the
occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and now Gaza is on the verge of
spilling into Israel, Palestinian leaders in Israel warned.
A wave of unrest has swept Palestinian towns in
Israel over recent days, with repeated clashes with Israeli police
in Nazareth, Jaffa, Lod, Ramle, Taibeh, Sakhnin, Rahat, Kfar Qassem
and elsewhere. Dozens of protesters have been arrested.
On Thursday, as Palestinians declared a day of
rage, police fired tear gas and stun grenades and led baton charges
against several hundred protesters in Nazareth, the largest
Palestinian city in Israel. Sixteen demonstrators, five of them
minors, were arrested.
“We want the world to see the reality of what is
going on here. The massacres and the discrimination have to end,”
said Dima Kfeeny, 20, who added that people had come to protest
peacefully. Her cousin was one of 13 demonstrators killed 15 years
ago at the start of the second Intifada.
“We have not forgotten what happened,” she added.
“We know Israel can turn violent towards us at any moment.
Israel’s Palestinian minority, a fifth of the
population, have been angered by Israeli
restrictions on access to al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem,
Palestinian casualties in the occupied territories and frustration
at systematic discrimination inside Israel, say community leaders.
On Friday, similar clashes erupted again in many
towns at night, and again on Saturday, after a video showed security
forces shooting Israa Abed, a 30-year-old mother-of-three from
Nazareth, in the nearby town of Afula in northern Israel.
Abed, who was badly wounded, was reported to have
tried to stab a security guard at a bus station.
Footage showed her standing alone and largely immobile before
video that emerged on Saturday, showing her lying injured on the
ground, a pair of sunglasses is visible next to her, but no knife.
Bassel Ghattas, a member of the Israeli parliament
for the Arab party the Joint List, said Abed’s treatment showed “the
police and media are encouraging cold-blooded executions of Arab
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
announced on Saturday night that 2,000 paramilitary police would
be deployed immediately in Israel and Jerusalem.
The Border Police, which operates chiefly in the
occupied territories, are to be placed at flashpoints in Israel,
including cities where Jewish and Palestinian citizens live near
Concerns about aggressive policing have been
underscored by a
government decision to relax live-fire regulations in Israel and
Jerusalem against demonstrators, including children, who throw
Palestinian leaders in Israel fear that police
violence could quickly lead to a repeat of events in October 2000,
at the start of the second intifada. Then, security forces killed 13
unarmed Palestinian citizens across the Galilee and injured hundreds
more in a few days of confrontations.
Relations between the two populations have not
“There is a hyper-militarised culture of
incitement and belligerence in Israel,” Mohammed Zeidan, director of
the Human Rights Association in Nazareth, told Al-Jazeera. “We are
still viewed by the state and much of the Israeli public as enemy
combatants rather than citizens.”
There have also been indications of the first
settler-style, vigilante attacks inside Israel.
A Jewish youth was
reported on Friday to have stabbed four Palestinians, two of
them Israeli citizens, in the southern Israeli town of Dimona.
Three Palestinian-Israeli youths were also
attacked in the central city of Netanya, with one
severely beaten in what police described as an attempted
Crowds of Israeli Jews chanting “Death to the
Arabs”, common in Jerusalem for some time, have been reported with
increasingly frequency in Israeli cities in recent days.
Last week Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat,
called on all Israeli civilians who own a firearm to carry it at
all times and be ready to use it.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government has raised the
temperature for Israel’s Palestinian minority at al-Aqsa Mosque
On Sunday, Netanyahu
said a Palestinian MP, Haneen Zoabi, would be investigated for
incitement, after quoting an interview in which he said she had
urged hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to converge on al-Aqsa
to create a “popular Intifada”.
Days earlier, Netanyahu banned Palestinian members
of the Israeli parliament from entering the mosque for the first
time, in what he called a move to “restore calm”. Ahmed Tibi, a
Joint List MP,
told the Jerusalem Post newspaper Netanyahu was “adding fuel to
The government has also threatened a crackdown
against the Islamic Movement in Israel, which has taken an
increasingly central role at al-Aqsa since 2000. Most Palestinians
in the occupied territories face restrictions preventing them from
The Islamic Movement has repeatedly accused Israel
of planning a takeover of the site.
said he was ready to take “aggressive steps” against the group.
“Nobody will be immune,” he added.
Zaki Aghbaria, an Islamic Movement spokesman, told
Al-Jazeera: “Israel fears us because we defend the rights of all
Palestinians at al-Aqsa. But we will not be intimidated. Netanyahu
has no authority there.”
‘Preventive’ arrests by police
Human rights groups in Israel have decried
“repressive measures” being taken by the Israeli police to try to
end the wave of protests in Israel.
Adalah, a Palestinian legal rights group in
Israel, said that, in addition to the large number of arrests at
demonstrations, police had made a series of unlawful “preventive
arrests” of political activists before the protests took place.
Police detained nine youths who they said were
planning Thursday’s demonstration in Nazareth, accusing them of
intending to organise a riot.
Suhad Bishara, a lawyer with Adalah, told
Al-Jazeera: “This is a very dangerous development. These are clearly
political arrests. Israel has used this measure before, but not in
such a sweeping manner as now.”
She added that in an unprecedented move, police
had also briefly detained the fathers of several protest organisers.
“This is a clear attempt to intimidate their families. The police
are acting like they are above the law.”
Police barred a dozen buses from entering Nazareth
on Thursday to prevent protesters from across the Galilee from
joining the rally. The drivers were issued with house arrests.
In a statement, Adalah said the police were
“taking advantage of the political situation and the spirit of
racism to persecute, suppress, scare, threaten and silence a
legitimate political protest”.
Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said: “The
police are carrying out operations on many fronts, and these
security measures are needed to ensure the public remains safe.”
Awad Abdelfattah, a leading member of the High
Follow-Up Committee, the main umbrella body for Palestinian citizens
of Israel, said the protests in Israel reflected growing solidarity
between Palestinian youth in Israel and the occupied territories.
“It is becoming clear to the young people here
that they are being colonised, too, and left with nothing. The
killings in the occupied territories have ignited the rage they
“Israeli policies are pushing us to unite with the
Palestinians in the occupied territories in one common strategy of
At Thursday’s demonstration in Nazareth, which
ended in clashes, Hana Daher, a 14-year-old student, said she was
there because “my brothers and sisters are being killed. Israel is a
terrorist state, but we will not be silenced. Change must come.”
Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and
winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism -