Israel arrests 1,951 Palestinians in anti-protest crackdown

Israel arrests 1,951 Palestinians in anti-protest crackdown
2 min read
04 June, 2021
Palestinian leaders have accused Israeli authorities of acting only to protect the interests of Jewish citizens.
Hundreds of Palestinians still remain in detention over recent protests [Getty]

Israeli police announced on Thursday that they had arrested a total of 2,142 people in relation to protests and "riots" in the occupied West Bank, 91 percent of whom were Palestinian.

The crackdown follows protests across historical Palestine last month, including in the West Bank, Gaza and within Israel's 1948 borders, against the Jewish state's raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and expulsions of Palestinians.

During the unrest, Israeli mobs targeted Palestinian residents in streets and in their homes, in attacks recorded and posted to social media.

"We have made use of advanced intelligence tools, and the operations have focused on rioters with whom we have come full circle. Most of the violent cases have been solved," police operations chief Avi Biton was quoted by Haaretz as saying.

"Despite the end of the [arrest] operation, there are several investigations that are progressing in which we have not yet managed to identify the suspects. We will continue to bring to justice anyone who was involved in the riots."

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Israeli police said 614 people remain in custody, while indictments have been filed against 285 defendants. At least 64 of those arrested since May 10, a day before Israel began its bombardment of the Gaza Strip, were minors.

'War' on protests

Palestinian-Israeli officials and rights groups have Israel's response to the inter-communal violence, accusing authorities of acting only to protect Jewish citizens.

Rights groups have urged Israel to release those detained over protests against Israel's actions in the West Bank and Gaza.

Al Aqsa celebrations
Protests took place last month in several areas of historical Palestine [Getty]

"This is a war against protesters, political activists and minors," the Adalah legal centre for Palestinian minority rights said in a statement late last month.

"It includes Israeli police carrying out raids on the homes of Palestinian families to intimidate them, and seeks to exact retribution on the Palestinian citizens for their political stance," the statement added.

On Friday, Israeli forces continued arrests of Palestinians in the West Bank, as police fired tear gas and live rounds at protesters following weekly prayers.

Mass protests were sparked last month after Israeli commenced a relentless air strike campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip, killing over 250 Palestinians, including 67 children.