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Israeli police 'using coronavirus lockdown rules' to beat Palestinians in Jaffa

Police reportedly attacked Palestinians [Twitter]

Date of publication: 1 April, 2020

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Palestinian citizens of Israel in Jaffa took to the streets to protest Israeli police using lockdown as an excuse for police brutality.

Palestinian citizens of Israel on Wednesday were beaten by Israeli police in Jaffa when police reportedly used coronavirus lockdown rules as cover to crack down on the area's Arab population.

Civilians took to the streets Wednesday afternoon to defend themselves after allegations that Israeli police had violently and disproportionately targeted Palestinians for breaking quarantine rules.

Videos emerged on Wednesday of large numbers of police crowding around and beating a Palestinian man who did not have his identification documents.

“This is police violence in Jaffa today”, The Mossawa Centre, a Haifa based advocacy group for Palestinian citizens of Israel said in a statement.

“There is clear selective enforcement of coronavirus rules and clearly shows the police are not adhering to social distancing rules themselves,” the group added.

In response to the police violence, Palestinian-Israelis in Jaffa began their protests, burning tyres and skips in an attempt to deter the security forces from entering. 

Israeli police stormed Jaffa with reinforcements and helicopters, locals say.

Last week, two Palestinian-Israeli youths in Jaffa were arrested and violently beaten across the head by the police whilst they were walking to a kiosk for supplies. 

Read more: Negligence in crisis: Palestinian citizens of Israel 'not being tested for coronavirus'

The victims said they passed a police car on their way and were arrested and beaten so badly that they had to be hospitalised for their injuries.

Systematic racism

Palestinian citizens of Israel make up 20 percent of the Israeli population and face systematic discrimination and complain of being treated as second-class citizens in comparison to their Jewish counterparts.

Large segments of the Israeli public see Palestinian citizens as a demographic threat to Israel's Jewry, with discrimination entrenched across housing, public services, education and employment.

Palestinian citizens of Israel have regularly suffered discrimination in Israel in areas such as housing, healthcare, and education. The 2019 Israeli "nation-state" law stated that only Jewish citizens of Israel have the right to self-determination in Israel.

According to 2019 a study by the Adava Center, 49.2 percent of Palestinian-Israeli households live below the poverty line and 13.5 percent of households live in near poverty.

This is in comparison to Israel's Jewish population, 13.2 percent of families were in poverty and a further 7.2 percent in near poverty.

They are often a target in political campaigns. Running up to the April 2019 elections, Israeli politicians used its Palestinian citizens as a political tool to encourage citizens to vote for them to "combat" Palestinian voices.

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