Israeli police say they have arrested 348 suspects in recent days for plotting to oust the alleged perpetrators of years of unrest in Israel and Palestine.
The statement echoed reports by Adalah, a human rights activist in Israel, late Thursday evening that at least 200 Palestinians had been arrested in Israel this week, saying the attacks were a means of “intimidating” and “exact retaliation.”
Israel agreed last week Ceasefire After 11 days of clashes with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, when Hamas fired rockets into the depths of the Jewish state, and Israel launched its heaviest attack on Gaza in the last seven years, killing about 250 Palestinians, including women and children. About 13 people were killed in Israel.
That conflict also broke out community riots Among Palestinian “Jews” with Israeli citizenship, which is rare for a wider community of unruly political leaders in Israel, is the unrest on the West Bank. Regular clashes between police and “youths” have taken place in the West Bank since the ceasefire.
Activists warn that the crackdown on protesters threatens to revolt this week
Police launched a “law and order” operation this week, describing it as a “mass deployment against insurgents, criminals and all those involved.” Police said Thursday that the operation would continue next week, focusing on people with illegal weapons. The alarm is based on the 1938 arrests made during the Israeli bombing of Gaza.
“We will continue to work with the great forces we have. “To make sure that the people who violated the security of the citizens are arrested, prosecuted and the streets are calm,” said Police Commissioner Yakov Shabtay. Police did not provide the ethnic origin of the suspects.
Mariam Afifi, 26, was arrested after trying to help a woman who had fainted from a Palestinian home in occupied East Jerusalem and threatened to deport her. He was charged with throwing rocks and attacking police, but was released after videos showed he was threatened by an officer. He said the protesters had dared to use social media. “All we have seen is the loss of land and more Israeli settlements,” he said. “The situation is getting worse.”
Shadi Kharuf, 25, said he was arrested and beaten in the Old City after he intervened to help a young woman whose headscarf had been pulled out by police. He spent a week in jail before a court placed him under house arrest until he was convicted of assaulting police. “I was not political,” he said. “All I did was protect my ‘sister’ without even touching the officer.”
The conditions for Kharuf’s release include a three-month ban on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the epicenter of the recent unrest. The mosque is located in a complex known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif or a noble shrine, and to Jews as the Temple Mount, which is sacred to both religions.
Despite the ceasefire, tensions remain high due to the increase in the number of Israeli “settlers” allowed by the Israeli authorities to enter the area. The Palestinians claim that they are extremist groups that are suing for the ultimate goal of building a third Jewish temple there.
Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, the mosque’s director, said the resettlement actions by the aggressive police threatened to further incite Palestinians and Muslims around the world. “Their provocations are the cause of this unrest,” he said. “We feel that every time we come to this sacred place, there is war.”