David Hearst writes in Middle East Eye:
The losers of the Gaza war – Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) – have each responded to the demonstrations that took place in Jerusalem, Ramallah and throughout the occupied West Bank during those 11 days with the use of maximum force. “Calm” has been restored to Palestinian quarters of towns and villages in Israel and the occupied West Bank through mass arrests.
At the last count, Israeli forces had arrested more than 2,100 Palestinians within Israel, 1800 in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and inside Israel since last April. In addition the Ramallah-based Lawyers for Justice reports that 20 Palestinians have been arrested by the PA preventative security, mostly for “inciting sectarian strife” and “slander” against the PA.
Police at the Nazareth station created what Adalah, the legal centre for Arab minority rights in Israel, called a “torture room”. Detainees were reportedly led to a room on the left side of the station’s entrance corridor, and forced to sit on the floor handcuffed and to lower their heads towards the floor.
Police officers then “began to beat them on all parts of their bodies, using kicks and clubs, slamming their heads against walls or doors, and more. Officers wounded the detainees, terrorized them, and whomever dared to lift his head upwards risked more beatings by officers. According to affidavits, the floor of the room was covered in blood from the beatings,” Adalah noted.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Authority, the recent arrests across the country “were accompanied by brutal attacks, including insults, beatings, and vandalism of the contents of citizens’ homes and property”.
But neither Israel nor the PA have yet managed to restore order in the way they have traditionally understood the concept. This is because they are finding that there is no “new normal” to return to; something has fundamentally changed.