Israel goes to war against its own citizens

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Video from the police crackdown in Umm al-Fahm yesterday against Palestinians during a right-wing Israeli march. Located near Haifa, Umm al-Fahm is a center of Palestinian life inside Israel.

Jesse Rosenfeld comments on the growing repression of Palestinian citizens of Israel for The Daily Star:

In a country that continues to call itself “the only democracy in the Middle East,” it would appear that the days of Israel trying to present expanding segregation in the context of liberal values are over.

While the legislation calling for non-Jews to declare loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state has been billed as Netanyahu’s capitulation to his coalition in order to extend a partial settlement freeze, the reality is that Israel has shifted its primary target of controlling Palestinians to its own Arab citizens.

Seemingly in tune with the political climate, days before the vote, the military’s Home Front command, police and prison services held a training operation for a scenario where Palestinian citizens of Israel rioted in response to an agreement with the Palestinian Authority that involved their transfer to a Palestinian state. Israeli radio reported the scenario involved the establishment of a hypothetical internment camp in the Galilee to process those detained in the unrest.

While now being put into action, this shift can be traced back to the last Israeli polls that ran congruently with the Gaza war. Back then, the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu leader and now foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, described Israel’s largest threat as its “internal enemy” – meaning Arabs in Israel. At the same time, the centrist now-opposition leader of the Kadima Party, Tzipi Livni, had contended that Israel’s Palestinian citizens would need to fulfill their national aspirations in a future separate Palestinian state.

This redirection of political and security attention display both the Israeli establishment’s comfort in their ability to maintain domination in the territories occupied since1967, and desire to solidify Jewish dominance within the 1949 armistice lines.

Israeli riot police shoot tear gas during clashes in Umm al-Fahm, Israel. Hundreds of Israeli police attended the protest against a rally of ultranationalist extremist Jews in the Israeli-Arab town, using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. (Photo: Mozafar Najafzadeh)

More photos from Umm al-Fahm:

Israeli riot and undercover police violently arrest a Palestinian demonstrator in Umm Al-Fahm. (Photo: Mozafar Najafzadeh)
Riot police violently arrest an unarmed Palestinian youth during clashes, on October 27, 2010 in Umm al-Fahm, Israel. (Photo: Mozafar Najafzadeh)


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