A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) into abusive and discriminatory policing found that Israeli officials coordinated with far-right Jewish ultra-nationalists during May’s civil unrest in the city of Lod.
The report, released on Tuesday, found that Israeli law enforcement agencies used excessive force to disperse peaceful protests by Palestinians in Lod and urged the UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate the discriminatory practices of the occupation state.
These practices include the contrasting treatment of Jewish and Palestinian protestors; apparent support and coordination of far-right Jewish ultra-nationalists; peddling of misinformation by government officials to stoke civil unrest and discriminatory treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel in court following their arrest.
Israeli law enforcement agencies used excessive force to disperse peaceful protests by Palestinians in Lod (al-Lydd) in May 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. @hrw @KhuloodBadawi
— Ramy Abdu| رامي عبده (@RamAbdu) December 14, 2021
Lod and other cities in Israel and the occupied West Bank witnessed unrest in May against the backdrop of discriminatory efforts to force Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem, the use of excessive force by Israeli security forces against protesters and worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the eruption on May 10 of Israeli aggression on Gaza.
Over the course of about two weeks of unrest, security forces detained 2,142 people across Israel and East Jerusalem in a “deterrence” operation that authorities named “Law and Order.” According to Amnesty International, approximately 90 percent of those detained were Palestinian citizens of Israel and residents of occupied East Jerusalem.
A report into the crackdown by Amnesty in June found Israeli far-right supremacists sharing selfies posing with guns and messages such as “Tonight we are not Jews, we are Nazis.
Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday that the Zionist entity’s police used excessive force against Arab protesters in the city of Lod during May unrest, while treating Jewish rioters more favorably.#Zionist #HumanRightsWatch#KuwaitTimes #KuwaitNews #Kuwait pic.twitter.com/fZuyRlCLKu
— KUWAIT TIMES (@kuwaittimesnews) December 14, 2021
Among the many examples of discrimination cited by HRW in the report is the apparent cooperation between Israeli officials and Jewish ultra-nationalists. On May 12, scores of Jewish ultra-nationalists who do not live in Lod entered the city, some of them armed, in violation of the government’s emergency declaration issued hours earlier barring non-residents from entering.
An Israeli journalist reporting from Lod is cited in the report saying that municipal authorities hosted the Jewish ultra-nationalist outsiders overnight in a building owned by the city near a Palestinian cemetery. Though the city denied having been informed of this move or approving it, these groups went on to target Palestinians. Overnight they threw stones at Palestinian houses and shops, and at the Al-Omari Mosque. Video clips of some incidents show police positioned close to Jewish rioters as they throw stones but do nothing.
Dozens of Israeli settlers take part in the provocative "March of Flags" in the occupied city of Lod. This march was led by the far right member of the Israeli Knesset Itamar, Ben Gvir. pic.twitter.com/gpeCkiVeD1
— SueHsy #BDS💙💜Cult member 054- (@Thehopper7) December 5, 2021
During the rioting, Palestinian properties and places of worship were attacked. Scores were injured, a Muslim cemetery was vandalized, and dozens of cars burned. HRW said that law enforcement deployed to secure Lod stood by or failed to act in a timely manner to protect Palestinian residents of Lod from violence by Jewish ultra-nationalists located near them or in their line of sight.
Highlighting the discriminatory practice of the Israeli courts HRW highlighted the stark contrast in the different ways the murders of a Palestinian man and of a Jewish Israeli are handled. In the murder of Musa Hassuna, a Palestinian, Israeli authorities released all Jewish suspects on bail less than 48 hours after the killing, after they pleaded self-defense and closed the investigation less than six months later.
Tomorrow, @hrw releases the final of its reports on the May hostilities—this one focused on unrest inside Israel, in Lod/Lid. The way Israeli authorities responded speaks volumes about how differently they value the lives of Jewish, as opposed to Palestinian, citizens. Stay tuned pic.twitter.com/7lLBNr4v25
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) December 13, 2021
In the murder of Yigal Yehoshua, who is Jewish, eight Palestinian suspects have been detained for months, awaiting prosecution on a number of charges, including “murder as an act of terrorism.”
“In Lod, Israeli police and authorities appear to have treated citizens differently based on whether they are Jewish or Palestinian,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch.
“The UN Commission of Inquiry should seize the unprecedented opportunity to tackle the discrimination and other abuses Palestinians in Israel face solely on account of their identity.”
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)