Israel-Palestine: Mass arrests of Palestinians called ‘declaration of war’
Airstrikes have stopped but tensions have not yet eased. The U.S. begins a diplomatic tour while Israeli police begin a targeted campaign
As the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas continues to hold after an 11-day war that devastated Gaza, tensions remain high among Israel’s Palestinian minority and Jewish majority. Israeli police forces announced a targeted campaign to arrest Palestinian protesters, reported Al Jazeera.
- Online, the Israeli police campaign has been called a “declaration for war,” reported Al Jazeera.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has officially begun a diplomatic tour of the Middle East aimed to further stabilize the current cease-fire. Blinken’s tour will visit Israel, the West Bank, Egypt and Jordan, CNN reports.
Israeli police campaign against Palestinians
Monday, Israeli police forces announced they will bring “operation law and order,” according to Al Jazeera. The targeted campaign will arrest Palestinian citizens of Israel that protested recent Israeli actions in Jerusalem's Shiekh Jarrah neighborhood, the city’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, or in Gaza.
- Since May 9, police have already arrested 1,550 Palestinians, with most still awaiting charges, Al Jazeera reported.
- More than 500 Palestinian homes are expected to be raided in the next 48 hours, according to Al Jazeera.
This announcement follows from an extended period of unrest among Israel’s Palestinian community during the most recent Gaza war, reported the Deseret News. Palestinian citizens of Israel account for 20% of the country’s population, about 1.8 million people, according to Al Jazeera. In many mixed Jewish-Arab cities throughout Israel, mob violence erupted between Palestinians and Jews with the police struggling to maintain control, the Deseret News reported.
- The police announcement did not mention targeting Jewish citizens of Israel, reported Al Jazeera.
- Thousands of security forces have been deployed for the campaign, including special units of border patrol, undercover operatives and secret service agents, according to Al Jazeera.
U.S. diplomatic efforts continue, but effectiveness may wane
Monday, Blinken arrived in Israel to begin his diplomatic tour. He spoke alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the U.S. will make “significant contributions” to rebuilding Gaza but will do so without strengthening Hamas, CNN reports.
- Blinken spoke of the rights of Israelis and Palestinians, saying that both “equally deserve to live safely and securely, to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity and democracy, to be treated with dignity,” per CNN.
- Netanyahu warned again of the “very powerful” Israeli response if Hamas breaks the current cease-fire, reported The Associated Press.
Blinken does not plan to meet with Hamas officials, the AP said. Rather, he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, the internationally recognized leader of Palestine who holds little credibility among Palestinians.
- For decades, the U.S. remained a crucial ally for Israel. However, according to The New York Times, more recently, Israel has become more independent of U.S. influence, a new development for current diplomatic discussions.