Palestinian-Israeli MK calls for UN protection from Israeli violence
In a letter sent to Michelle Bachelet, the leader of the National Democratic Alliance called on the UN to provide urgent international protection for the 1.8 million Palestinians living in Israel, who he said are subjected to racist discrimination and violence from Israeli forces and armed right-wing Zionist extremists.
The letter, obtained by The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site, was also sent to United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes.
This is the first time Palestinian Israelis have demanded international protection from the UN against Israel's discriminatory policies against them.
The letter comes amid continued violence by Israeli police and Jewish extremists against Palestinians in Jerusalem and within Israel.
Israeli authorities have in recent days attacked worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, considered the third holiest site in Islam. The escalation began after the forced expulsion of Palestinian residents from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.
“Over the past few weeks, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel have used their right to peacefully demonstrate against Israel's crimes in the Holy City of Jerusalem, in what has become a larger popular (civil rights) movement to dismantle Israeli institutional discrimination against the nearly 1.8 million Palestinians in Israel. That is more than 20% of the total population”, read the letter.
It added that “the peaceful protests were met with brutal repression by Israeli forces and right-wing Zionist extremists, violently attacking Palestinians who protested peacefully, as Israeli forces used firearms and illegal arrests”.
In his letter to Bachelet, Abu Shehadeh highlighted the death of 25-year-old Moussa Hassouna, who was shot by an Israeli in the city of Lod.
The MK slammed the Public Security Minister Amir Ohana’s claim that Hassouna's killing was in self defence, and for considering armed Jewish extremists to be law-abiding citizens.
“The armed Jewish extremists are a force that complement the work of the Israeli police”, added Abu Shehadeh.
He concluded that had it been up to Ohana, the killer would be released, adding that the minister’s remarks give a green light for other Israeli extremists to use their weapons against Palestinian citizens.
Abu Shehadeh's letter also touched on Ben-Gurion University summoning the police to quell the protests of Palestinian students against the killing of Hassouna on May 11. Police assaulted Palestinian students, injured several of them, and arrested others.
He said right-wing Israeli activists imprisoned a number of other students in their student accommodation, threatening and endangering their lives as neither the university nor the police intervened to protect them.
The letter concluded by reiterating Israel's systematic racism against Palestinian citizens, and its repression of them in its laws that discriminate against them in issues of land, nationality, residency, and other rights.
Israel’s Palestinian citizens, located mainly in the north of the country and around the West Bank, are a mix of Muslims, Christians, Druze and Circassians.
They are represented by a few political parties in the Knesset, including the National Democratic Alliance –locally known as Balad – as well as Hadash, the United Arab List, and the Islamic Movement in Israel.