Israel’s arrests are ‘re-energizing the Palestinian movement’


Israel’s detention of Palestinian activists and journalists is bolstering peaceful resistance, launching a new generation of Palestinian activists.

This is not the first time that Israel has detained or arrested Palestinian activists. But mass arrests made since a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas – recently agreed to end the cycle of violence – could backfire.

This time the detention of Palestinian activists and journalists is re-energizing a long-running peaceful resistance and launching a new generation of Palestinian symbols fighting to defend their homes, as well as advocating for self-determination. has been

In StatementIsraeli police said it launched “Operation Law and Order” to bring the rioters to justice and “maintain public peace”. It added so far, “2,142 detainees have been registered”.

However, Palestinians said Israeli police had arrested those who were protesting peacefully with a shaky but clear aim to crush the momentum of their movement, which has gained momentum in the past month.

Israeli police may have proved the Palestinians right after the arrest of Muna al-Kurd. The 23-year-old activist was uncovering an Israeli court order that her family and several others be forcibly evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah – a neighborhood in the heart of East Jerusalem. His twin brother, Mohamed al-Kurd, was also summoned and questioned by the police.

His arrest came a day after Giwara Buderi, a journalist for the Al Jazeera media network, was briefly detained while reporting to Sheikh Jarrah.

While the siblings were later released, their arrest would accelerate their struggle. His story reflects the eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and is now gaining more prominence.

Muna and Mohamed were barely 11 years old in 2009 when Jewish settlers moved into their home in Sheikh Jarrah and occupied half of the area, according to another court order.

Her father was driven out of his ancestral home in Haifa in 1948 and resettled in Sheikh Jarrah in 1956 in exchange for giving up his refugee status by Jordan and the UN refugee agency.

Muna and Mohammed not only inherited a generational trauma but were also forced to share their home with strangers. They had been campaigning against Israeli settlements since they were children, filming tensions between Palestinians and settlers, and were often interviewed by international filmmakers.

But in March this year, as soon as the court ordered their eviction from another part of their house, the siblings lashed out on social media. He is following the #SaveSheikhJarrah trending on Twitter.

A video clip of Muna challenging a ghetto, reprimanding him for “stealing” his house went viral online, while Mohamed was interviewed by several US broadcasters, among other international networks.

asked in an interview Regarding whether he supports the “violent” protests in support of the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, Mohamed briefly asked a question in return: “Do you support the violent expulsion of me and my family?” That clip also went viral, striking a chord with Palestinians at home and in the diaspora.

Muna and Mohamed are examples of a new generation of influential people in Palestinian society who have a large number of followers on social media. He used the medium effectively to organize dissent and spread his message to both local and international audiences.

Anwar Mahajane, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Stonewall College, said the siblings’ activism in using social media, their young age and perseverance to fight for the Palestinian cause has fueled the momentum among more activists who have supported it. Also has hundreds of thousands of followers.

“Muna and Mohammed have been at the forefront of spreading awareness about the threat of al-Kurd expulsion that Palestinian families face in Sheikh Jarrah,” Mahajane told Al Jazeera. “Social media users rallied in support of the siblings after the release of a video posted by their friend, in which Muna was detained from her home in the presence of her father.”

A dozen peaceful protesters were threatened outside the police station stun grenades by police force.

Mahajane said, “The Arabic hashtag #الحرية_لمنك_الكرد, which translates to freedom for Muna al-Kurd, as well as #FreeMunaElKurd, has been widely circulated online, as thousands of people reacted to the arrest of the prominent activist. is.”

Effective use of the Internet and social media has enabled Palestinians around the world to transcend geographic isolation and make themselves heard. But inside Israel and for the occupied territories, expressing one’s opinion is still fraught with risks for the Palestinians.

“They are an easy target for persecution by Israeli security forces and extremists,” Mhajane said, but, “their public visibility and a significant following on social media makes it more challenging for the state to suppress their voices.” “

23-year-old Muna al-Kurd has long been a lawyer highlighting the plight of Sheikh Jarrah’s residents. [Ibrahim Husseini/Al Jazeera]

According to legal experts, 65 israeli law Discrimination against Palestinians Many of these are designed to discourage them from protesting or organizing as activists on the ground.

Palestinian-American historian and professor Rashid Khalidi said, “All gatherings of more than a few people, all gatherings, all demonstrations, or any kind of Palestinian or party flag has been banned in the occupied territories since 1967.” ” Modern Middle Eastern History at Columbia University.

“These acts are considered ‘terrorism’ and are punishable by imprisonment and fine through a system of military injustice where the judge and prosecutor are from the occupying military, and punishment is virtually automatic.”

a renaissance

Fadi Curran, a West Bank-based community organizer and a campaign director at a non-profit organization called voice, said the arrests seek to shift energy on the street “from active action to a place of defensiveness and fear”, adding that they are also adding credibility to some youth leaders.

“Palestinian youth activism is having a renaissance as this generation feels a deep sense of agency,” said Koran. “Recent events have only added momentum and development, and that is why Israeli security forces are trying to tap and kill this energy through mass arrests as well as the increased use of violence. “

It remains to be seen how successful the younger Palestinian generation is in achieving their goals. But as his popularity grows, both in Palestine and in the West, it is clear that Israel’s arrest campaign will have made its target.

It would be difficult for the Israeli military to convince the world that a Muna or Mohamed al-Kurd or Al Jazeera journalist attacked and detained or promoted violence.

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