FactualNearly 2,000 Palestinian citizens of the Hebrew state have been arrested since early May. NGOs denounce collective punishment to silence Palestinian political demands inside Israel.
Omaïr’s face is hollowed out by the restless nights. “Before sleeping, I go over again. I dream that I am handcuffed, that I am being hit. Almost every day “, blurted out the 21-year-old Palestinian from Israel, his features still adolescent under his black beard. On Eid night, May 12, he went out with his brother and two friends to celebrate the end of Ramadan in Nazareth, in the north of the country. “I was withdrawing money when a brigade approached, he recounts. One of the men in uniform came running up to me, his fist raised as if he was going to hit me. “ He then runs in his turn but the Israeli security forces catch up with him; they are ” around twenty ” and beat him up. ” I was shouting : “It’s good, I surrender!”, but they continued to beat me. I thought they were going to kill me. “
The young man is dragged to the police station. There again, the blows rained down, he received one behind the head. “Maybe it was an U16 stick. I don’t know, I didn’t feel but suddenly I had blood on my feet ”, he remembers. Despite the bleeding, Omaïr was beaten up again and finally taken to hospital. On the back of his shaved head, top left, four stitches are emerging. Since then, he has had a drop in voltage, he has stopped his temporary work in construction. “All for nothing, I hadn’t done anything!” Next to me another youngster had a broken nose and a 14 year old boy – 14 years old! – got off with an open lip. Why ? He applauded during the demonstration that took place that evening ”, Omaïr is indignant. He was ultimately never questioned.
Intimidate young people
On May 23, Israel announced that it was launching a massive campaign of arrests, dubbed “Law and Order”, to “Dissuade and strengthen governance” in some areas of the country. Originally scheduled for forty-eight hours, it officially ended on June 3. The Hebrew state claims to target the perpetrators of violence and want to dismantle organized crime networks; the police thus seized 970 weapons. The operation comes after a series of clashes in so-called “mixed” towns in which a Palestinian citizen of Israel and an Israeli Jew were killed. The arrests began before the campaign was announced; since May 9, more than 2,100 people have been arrested – the vast majority of whom are Palestinians who are citizens of Israel – of whom 285 have been charged. The others were often released during the day or the next day. Much violence has been reported; on May 19, in the Arab town of Umm El-Fahm, a 17-year-old young man died of his injuries after being shot by police.
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