Israel security forces push away activists near the Israeli Police checkpoint at the entrance of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in east Jerusalem, during a protest by Palestinians to demand its reopening, on May 22, 2021. AFP
Israeli police have launched a mass arrest campaign against Palestinians overnight on Monday, according to the Palestine News and Info Agency (WAFA).
Thousands of Israeli border police officers and reserve brigades started a large-scale detention campaign where they arrested over 500 young Palestinians.
The arrests, dubbed “Operation Law and Order,” target Palestinians who participated in protests against Israel’s colonial policies, including the forced displacement of residents in Sheikh Jarrah, encroachments upon Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and settler mob violence.
Hasan Jabarin, the director of the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), slammed the arrest campaign as a “declaration of war against Palestinian protestors, political activists and minors to take revenge against them for their recent political and national positions,” according to WAFA.
While Israel has described the campaign as intended to restore order and serve as a deterrence against “rioters” and “criminals” involved in attacks against Jews over the past two weeks, critics have described it as a retaliatory measure against protests.
On the other hand, no arrests have been made against Israeli Jews involved in attacks against Arab Israeli citizens, including the murder of a Palestinian in the central mixed city of Lydda (Lod).
Over 1,550 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been arrested since 9 May, including at least 200 people who will be charged.
The arrests came a week after some 1.6 million Palestinian Israeli citizens participated in a general strike observed by Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza and worldwide, heeding the call of the Arab High Follow-up Committee, which coordinates between political parties in Israel.
The ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas held for a third day on Sunday as mediators spoke to all sides about extending the period of calm after the worst outbreak of fighting in years.
The recent Israeli assault on Gaza, which lasted for 11 days, killed 243 Palestinians, displaced thousands from their homes and ravaged key infrastructure, according to the health ministry.
Officials have said that Egyptian mediators have conferred with both sides on securing a longer-term calm.