At least 74 Palestinians were detained by Monday afternoon, in the first hours of what Israel’s police force is calling “Operation Law and Order.”
Palestinian rights groups called the planned arrest of up to 500 protesters — on charges ranging from attacks on the police to vandalism to online incitement — a blatant crackdown on dissent, timed to coincide with the dimming of the global spotlight on the conflict.
“Israeli forces and police are going on a mass arresting rampage in Lydd, and other Palestinian cities in an attempt to ‘even the score’ with Palestinians that spoke up against their ethnic cleansing,” the Palestinian writer Mariam Barghouti observed on Twitter, as video of two men being detained and blindfolded in the city Israelis call Lod circulated online. “This is what we warned about. Israel will target us all when you stop looking.”
“The world tends to look away as soon as Israeli lives are no longer threatened by rockets but it is stuff like this, that Israel does to Palestinians every day, that guarantees future rounds,” the writer and political analyst Yousef Munayyer commented on the same images.
“The massive arrest campaign announced by Israeli police last night is a militarized war against Palestinian citizens of Israel,” Hassan Jabareen, the general director of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said in a statement. “This is a war against Palestinian demonstrators, political activists, and minors, employing massive Israeli police forces to raid the homes of Palestinian citizens.”