Israel launches a campaign against domestic critics of its war on Gaza

Israel launches a campaign against domestic critics of its war on Gaza

Since the attack launched by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on October 7, the world's attention has been entirely focused on the escalating attack launched by the Israeli army on the Gaza Strip, without anyone paying attention to the growing political persecution inside Israel against the Palestinians and some Jews who oppose the destruction of Gaza. And its siege.

With this introduction, the Israeli magazine "972" began - a joint investigation between Ghosn Bsharat, Oren Ziv, and Baker Zoabi - in which they shed light on what is happening inside Israel, amid the world's preoccupation with the events in Gaza, including suspension of studies, expulsion from jobs, and nightly arrests, due to posts on social media.

The magazine reviewed - as an example of the growing climate of repression in Israel since the start of the war - a letter addressed to an Israeli Jewish faculty member at Central Israel College reprimanding him for changing his profile picture on Facebook with the comment that “the Gaza ghetto will be liberated,” concluding that “in view of the danger Your posts have resulted in you being suspended pending a disciplinary investigation that will be conducted with you in the coming days.”

Increasing climate of repression

The magazine pointed out that the day before Monday, the Attorney General’s Office asked the heads of higher education institutions - who contacted it following cases of students who published words praising terrorism - to send the details to the Israeli police so that their case could be investigated at the criminal level outside the disciplinary level with which the educational institution deals. .

But the increasing persecution in recent days has not been limited to academic institutions, as the Civil Society Coalition for Emergencies in the Arab Community reported that at least 30 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been fired from their jobs, due to social media posts seen as supporting an attack. Hamas, and the Israeli police revealed that about 170 Palestinians had been arrested or submitted for interrogation, at a time when the Attorney General’s Office said that it had “zero tolerance” for those who express “support for the enemy,” and for those who wish to harm Israeli soldiers “as they fight the deadly enemy.” .

Director of the Justice Center, Hassan Jabareen, said that his center “received reports of illegal arrests carried out often brutally and late at night without justification, all based on posts on social media,” which reflects “a worrying trend of deliberate persecution and banning of expression.” Project,” and indeed the center has received reports of people being summoned for police investigation or interrogated simply for “liking” posts on social media.

Help the enemy

In another strange case seen last week, Amer Al-Huzayel, the candidate for the position of mayor of the Bedouin city of Rahat, was arrested on suspicion of “aiding the enemy during wartime” on the basis of a brief political analysis he wrote and shared on Facebook, in which he presented his interpretation of the possibilities of Israel reoccupying the Gaza Strip. Police representative Muhammad Mohamed said. Ibrahim Al-Huzail “published several posts, including one that we believe helps the enemy.”

In the same context, the famous Palestinian singer Dalal Abu Amna - who has more than a million followers - was arrested because of a post in which she wrote, “There is no victor but God,” when she was filing a complaint at the Nazareth Police Station against right-wing activists who sent her several threatening messages, so he called her. One of her children told her that there were police officers knocking on the door and asking to see her. After the call, the officers returned to the police station and arrested her.

This campaign against freedom of expression extends beyond the level of the state and academic institutions to the broader society, as the magazine says, as Israel Frey, the left-wing Jewish journalist and outspoken critic of Israeli policy, was subjected to a campaign of intimidation in his home carried out by the extreme right, and demonstrators fired flares at his apartment and chased him as he fled, and he stated that The police officers who took him for interrogation spat on him, physically assaulted him, and accused him of “supporting Hamas,” which the police denied.