Maryam Assaf, 21, did not hesitate to go out to “Assir Square” in Haifa, the largest and most important city in historic Palestine, and where she lives, to participate in a peaceful march that began on May 9, 2021, denouncing what is happening in Jerusalem and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of uprooting Arabs. from their homes and hand them over to settlers without equivocation in front of the eyes of Arab and international public opinion. Maryam, a law student at the Ono Academic College, wanted to convey her voice to her generation of Palestinians from the occupied interior since 1948, and to convey their message that there are those who reject what the Israeli occupation state is doing against their people of displacement and continuous attacks, as she said in her interview with the website. field
The recent events began with the suppression of those in Al-Aqsa Mosque, when Jewish extremists marched on the tenth of May to commemorate Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967. With the development of events in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, the citizens of Haifa, Jaffa, Lod and others announced their refusal to evict the residents of the neighborhood from their homes In response to a lawsuit brought by a Jewish company against the residents of the neighborhood, then “Hamas” rose up as well and ignited a new war around Gaza for two weeks. As soon as the fires of war subsided, a multifaceted battle began in all the cities of the occupied interior to target Arab activists, a battle in which the occupation authorities exploited the distraction of Arab and international attention from Palestine and the ceasefire with the resistance factions.
The Israeli aggression on Gaza exacerbated the situation in the cities of the interior, and caused an unprecedented disintegration in the fabric of Israeli society in conjunction with an unprecedented interdependence between the sides of the Palestinian cause in Gaza, the West Bank and 48 cities. While the Palestinians of the interior faced violence from extremist right-wing settlers that reached its climax during the war, the police used The Israeli forces attacked the demonstrators with violence they had not seen before. It was followed by extensive campaigns of mass arrests in an attempt to suppress the Arab protests and their drivers, as they raided the homes of activists and uprisings from the Arabs of 48, and its security campaign is still underway until this moment.
Israeli law stipulates that “political demonstration is a legitimate right.” Accordingly, Maryam Assaf left her home to participate in the peaceful demonstration in Haifa, but she was arrested at a time when the residents of her city were attacked by gangs of racist Jews, who were not arrested by the Israeli police, of course. . Maryam describes to Maidan what happened, saying that she and dozens of Haifa residents chanted in solidarity with Sheikh Jarrah, for the “Al-Yasam” unit to gather around them in very large numbers, before the unit’s officers surrounded the demonstrators in the German Quarter of Haifa and forced them to physically contact them.
Only half an hour after her participation in that demonstration, the occupation forces arrested Maryam Assaf after throwing her to the ground with extreme violence, as one of the soldiers pressed her back to immobilize her and tied her hands and feet. “I was in the first row of the demonstrators, so the soldiers quickly picked me up, arrested me violently, and put handcuffs on my hands and feet, and put so much pressure on my spine that the pain lasted for a week,” Maryam says.
The moments of Maryam’s arrest were recorded in audio and video, but a photograph of her raising her head a little while being thrown to the ground quickly turned into a symbol of resistance to the repression that seeks to harm the Palestinians inside. The girl wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh appeared in a painful situation, trying to raise her head, smiling, and Maryam says about that moment and the shot: “I smiled in order to show the language of resistance in my face, and that arrest does not terrorize us as Israel wants, and that we are ready to scream here in the place closest to the Israelis until the last same”.
Maryam, who is the only girl with 16 young men from the same demonstration, was arrested, tied up and then taken to Haifa police station. About these moments, Maryam says: “I saw one detainee after another in a deplorable condition, some of them dripping blood from their face, the last of their eye was injured, and the third was broken. The police did not respond to the lawyers by showing the detainees to the doctor.” Maryam and all the detainees were placed in poor detention conditions until they were brought before the court the next morning. As Maryam tells us, the judge made only one request from them: their release in exchange for a pledge not to participate in any demonstration or political gathering for a month.
In another story, records Maidan what happened with the young man, “Hani Murad” (23 years), who was targeted in the wave of mass arrests as part of what the occupation police called the “law of operations and order” campaign. He was among more than 1,500 people arrested in a joint operation between the Israeli police and the Israeli internal security services that usually deal with terrorism. Two minutes before Hani was arrested on May 11, the young man called his mother and told her that he was going to attend Eid al-Fitr with her, and that he had just bought some Eid items that she liked from the city of Beersheba (southern Palestine), where Ben-Gurion University (Negev) is located In which.
Hani planned to go to his hometown of Tamra (in the north of the country) for a short vacation, but only two minutes after this call, when he set his feet in front of the university housing, Hani and a group of his fellow Israeli policemen attacked them, violently arrested them and taken to prison. Hani spent nine days in prison during which his release was delayed four times. He told Maidan : “It was easy to prove that we did not assault an Israeli policewoman as they accused us, through a quick review of the camera, but this did not happen, and the detention continued without justification or proof, Some of us were detained for weeks.” Hani, a student in his last year at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, spent the Eid vacation in prison, and is now under house arrest, awaiting further legal procedures against the background of his arrest.
Israel entered its battle against the Palestinian inside with the strongest of its tools, as it used to suppress the Arabs of 48 what is known as the Al-Yasam Unit, or the “Special Patrol Unit”, a unit that uses intense violence, and specializes in other areas such as combating crime. The Border Guard forces, a unit whose most important missions are to carry out arrests and raids in the occupied West Bank, and to suppress marches and demonstrations, also participated.
These devices intervened in the time of the funeral of the Arabs for “Moussa Hassouna” (31 years), who was killed on May 10 by a Jewish settler, and then the funeral of the boy, “Mohammed Kiwan” (17 years), who was shot in the head by the occupation police. Those elements, which have largely failed over the past years to pursue the organized crime gangs that have killed about 1,700 Arabs since 2000, have suppressed the Palestinians alone, without prejudice to the Jewish extremists. As one of the mayors of Arab cities said: “For years we have been begging the Shin Bet (the security apparatus) to save us in our fight against crime, but now, when it comes to fears of harming Jews and the police, suddenly the resources appear and the Shin Bet!”
Khaled Zabarka, a Palestinian lawyer who lives in the occupied city of Lod, believes that the voice of protest now in the cities of the interior is the result of large accumulations of injustice, arrogance, and the quest to subjugate and subjugate the Palestinian people at home. Khaled says: “It is clear that we will be subjected to a large and arbitrary campaign of pursuits and pursuits, and I believe that its intensity will escalate in the coming days.”
For his part, Antoine Shalhat, a researcher at the Palestinian Center for Israeli Studies “Madar”, confirms that Israel will try to suppress the opposition at home with all its might, especially since it is – mainly – on the part of the 1948 Palestinians, whom the occupying state does not hesitate to use the most repressive tools against them. And Antoine adds Lamidan : “It certainly will not succeed, because the opposition will remain until it reaches its goal. I say this and I am based on the fact that the opposition erupted at a time that no one expected, and at a time when many imagined that there was a strengthening of the tendencies of integration, and that this integration It will open a new page in the relationship of these Palestinians with the Zionist state.” Shalhat stressed that the current campaign is dangerous and will involve new tools of repression. However, this does not diminish the significance and implications of the protest at this particular time, as it carries Palestinian, Arab and international dimensions, as well as its consequences for Israel, its security and internal cohesion.
Although political prosecutions and retaliatory arrests against the Palestinians of the interior have been ongoing over the past seven decades, the ruling establishment in Israel has sought to legalize repression and racist and repressive policies, such as the prosecution of human rights activists and politicians supporting the rights of the Palestinian people. For example, there is the so-called “anti-terrorism” law, the enactment of which took seven years, and today is the most comprehensive and repressive law, as it was imposed mainly in order to limit freedom of expression and enable political prosecutions that primarily target the Arabs of 48. All resistance, from the popular resistance to the armed one, is terrorism under that law. The Knesset also passed a law increasing the penalties for stone-throwers, ranging from 5 to 20 years in prison.
Antoine Shalhat says that the Israeli legislative machine has always served the purpose of political persecution against the Palestinians inside, in order to suppress the national and patriotic aspirations of the Palestinians inside, prevent their self-organization, and most importantly, prevent their association with their peers in the West Bank and Gaza and their political mobilization according to the agenda of the Palestinian resistance that the resistance factions plan here or There, they are terrorist groups as well, in the eyes of Israeli law.
Antoine tells Meidan that recent years have witnessed a torrent of such laws, culminating with the enactment of the Israeli National Law, which many consider to be directed against the Palestinians of 1948. He believes that what is new now is not in this intense security pursuit of the Palestinians, but the most prominent feature these days is that the flame of challenge among the Palestinians of the interior has not been extinguished despite the circumstances surrounding them, and that this flame has fueled the intifada in the face of the Israeli authorities and their policies, and refined the bond between the Arabs of 48, the West Bank and Gaza In a short time, years and years of Israeli efforts to integrate them into Israeli society and separate them from the Palestinian cause have gone against the wall.
Khaled Zabarka says that Israel has been enacting racist laws for more than 15 years, the most dangerous of which is the Judaism of the State Law, which implicitly states that the right to self-determination is granted only to the Jews, and that Jerusalem is their eternal capital. Therefore, the Arab in this country is no longer a citizen with equal rights, as the occupation promotes, nor a second- or third-class citizen. The laws enacted in recent years prepare – without equivocation – to implement the state’s Judaism on the ground and legitimize and legalize racist practices.
In this unprecedented situation in its openness and racism at the same time, the bonds of the Palestinians are being strengthened across the whole of Palestine more than ever before, and although the Israeli oppression appears to be effective at the present time, the bonds of the social contract – between the Hebrew state and its Arab citizens – that were severed in a few weeks will not It heals easily, and perhaps it will never heal anymore, and this is likely to have major repercussions on the future of the Palestinian cause and the Israeli state at the same time.