Witch hunt against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, Jerusalem IDs, amid Gaza war

In the wake of the Hamas attack on October 7th, Palestinian citizens of Israel and residents of occupied Jerusalem are being targeted over their social media activity. Any expressions of Palestinian identity, or support for Gaza, is getting people fired from their jobs, expelled from universities, arrested, and doxxed online by right-wing Israeli groups.

Border police forces with reinforcements from the military Givati Brigade on heightened security, detain and question a young Palestinian man wearing a black sweatshirt with an image of a revolver, 30 January 2023

Yumna Patel reports in Mondoweiss:

On the night of Monday, October 16, a popular Palestinian singer and neuroscientist, Dalal Abu Amneh, was arrested by Israeli police from her home in the Palestinian city of Nazareth, in northern occupied Palestine.

Amneh’s lawyer confirmed to the news website Arab 48 that she was arrested and subject to interrogation and investigation by police. Abu Amneh was later released after spending two days in jail.

Abu Amneh’s crime? A Facebook post.  According to the singer’s lawyer, she was arrested over a Facebook post in which she wrote “There is no victor but God,”  and “Lord grant me relief,” along with links to charities working in Gaza.

The police “had the intention to arrest her” even before an interrogation, her lawyer told Arab 48, adding that in the lead-up to her arrest, Abu Amneh herself had been receiving violent threats and online harassment from Israelis, which she and her team had reported to the police.

The arbitrary arrest of Abu Amneh over her Facebook post is the latest in a campaign of targeted harassment by Israeli authorities, institutions, individuals, and right-wing groups against Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of occupied Jerusalem, who, due to the nature of where they live, are more entrenched in Israeli society, public spaces, and workplaces than Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

The censorship and suppression have even extended to Israeli politicians. On Thursday, October 19, Ofer Cassif, an Israeli member of parliament, was suspended by the Knesset Ethics Committee for 45 days, and his salary was stopped for two weeks over his public criticisms of the Israeli government’s handling of its war on Gaza.

According to rights groups and firsthand accounts, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and Jerusalem residents are being increasingly targeted in both professional and public environments over their Palestinian identity and any expressions of support or sympathy for Gaza and for Palestine in general, in the wake of the Hamas attack on October 7 and the ongoing Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

The forms of harassment range from being reported by colleagues or fellow students internally on an institutional and company level, to being harassed and doxxed online by right-wing Israeli groups. In many cases, the harassment and persecution have led to Palestinians being fired from their jobs, suspended from their universities, or, in more serious cases, being arrested by the police.

“It’s a witch hunt,” one Palestinian lawyer in Jerusalem, who is licensed by the Palestinian and Israeli bar associations, told Mondoweiss, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “People are scared of posting, or even liking or following anything about Palestine. We are being reported by our colleagues, and people are being arrested and disbarred.”

A Palestinian doctor in Jerusalem who works at a private Jewish-Israeli medical center told Mondoweiss that he and his colleagues have received multiple instances of Jewish patients filling out satisfaction surveys, expressing that they did not wish to be attended to by Arab doctors.

A Palestinian woman who is a citizen of Israel told Mondoweiss that many of her friends have received threatening letters from their employers saying they will be fired for publicly expressing their support for Gaza. Another Palestinian citizen of Israel, a Haifa-based lawyer, told Mondoweiss, “Everyone is really scared to even speak amongst colleagues or in public,” she said. “People are keeping their mouths shut out of fear of what could happen to them.”

Since October 7, dozens of Palestinian workers across various sectors have been arbitrarily dismissed from their workplaces, and have even been threatened or targeted with criminal action on the pretext of “supporting terrorism.”

Lawyers from Adalah-The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, told Mondoweiss they’ve received upwards of 80 complaints from Palestinian university students, and 48 complaints from workers across the private and public sectors in Israel.

More ….

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