How crime became a cover for Israel to tighten control of Palestinian citizens

Palestinian citizens of Israel protest outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem against gun violence and organized crime in their communities, October 10, 2019. (photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)
Rather than addressing the roots of crime and violence among Palestinian citizens, Israel is advancing plans to depoliticize the community.

By Shahrazad Odeh |  +972 Magazine  | Dec 4, 2020

Rather than investing in social services and offering original solutions that center rehabilitation in Palestinian society, it lists outdated recommendations that are merely tools by which the state can tighten its grip on Palestinian citizens under its colonial rule.

Four years ago, in early September, I woke up in the middle of the night in Umm al-Fahem to the sound of machine guns. Afraid and baffled, not knowing where the shots were coming from or who they were being fired at, I called the police to report a crime. It took the officers two hours to make their way from the police station, which is a 15-minute drive away. When they finally arrived, they collected the ammunition in a clear plastic bag, and waved it in front of children looking on at the scene.

These kinds of incidents have persisted despite the Israeli government introducing several programs over the years to help eradicate crime across the country. In many Palestinian cities and towns in Israel, citizens still go to sleep to the sound of gun shots.

In a response to a freedom of information request received in November by Gun Free Kitchen Tables, a coalition of organizations seeking to restrict arms proliferation in Israel, the Israeli police stated they do not have official statistics on how many citizens have been killed or wounded by guns, indicating that the issue is not a high priority for law enforcement. But based on data gathered by Palestinian civil society groups and local press, an estimated 82 to 89 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed in violent criminal incidents this year alone, up to 15 of whom were women.

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