Arab circles inside Israel rejected the prospective government’s endeavor led by Benjamin Netanyahu to establish a special unit in the General Security Service (Shin Bet) to combat the escalating crime within the Arab community.
On Wednesday evening, Netanyahu, leader of the “Likud” party (right), announced that he had been able to form a government, which he is expected to present this week to the Knesset (Parliament) to gain confidence.
According to the Hebrew news website Walla on the same day, a coalition agreement between Netanyahu and the Otzma Yehudit party led by far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir provides for the establishment of a Shin Bet unit to assist the police in combating criminal offenses in the Arab community. Inside Israel, in cooperation between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of National Security, which Ben Gvir will lead.
The Shin Bet is primarily concerned with thwarting and preventing any illegal activity aimed at harming the security of the state, the regime or its institutions.
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“The Arab citizens are not a security or criminal target. They are a civil group whose needs must be taken care of like any other category of citizens,” Muhammad Baraka, the head of the Higher Follow-up Committee for the Arab Masses in Israel (the highest representative body for the Palestinians in Israel), told Al-Mawaqea on Thursday.
The Arab population of the Palestinians in 1948 amounted to 2.026 million, or 21 percent of the total population of Israel of 9 million and 593 thousand people, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (governmental) on September 20.
Baraka accused the Israeli security apparatus of conspiring against the Arab community, saying, “The Shin Bet is already involved in organized crime as a supporter and sponsor, and this is according to the testimony of the police officers, and what is required is for it to lift its hand from the Arab community and not use criminal organizations as a tool to dismantle the Arab community.”
Since the beginning of 2022, 106 Arab Israeli citizens have been killed in light of the escalation of violence and crime, and accusations against the Israeli police of failing to pursue organized gangs and turning a blind eye to the proliferation of unlicensed weapons.
Baraka continued, “The police are required to perform their role like any police in the world and apprehend criminals. Since they were able to do this in Jewish cities, they are able to do it on the Arab street.”
Meanwhile, “the army is required to fill gaps in its bases from which weapons and ammunition flow to criminal organizations,” according to Baraka, referring to the increasing phenomenon of theft of weapons and ammunition from Israeli military bases.
As for the director of the Masafi Center for Arab Rights in Israel (independent), Jaafar Farah, he told the “Walla” website on Thursday that the “Shin Bet” prevents the police from arresting criminals who work as “informants” for him, and “since 2012, hundreds of millions of shekels (currency) have been transferred Israel) to the police, which is proven not to be used to fight organized crime (in Arab society).
Farah’s accusations were not limited to the Shin Bet and the police, as he accused the Israeli Ministry of Education of not combating the dropout of Arab students from the education system, which turns them into “soldiers in criminal organizations,” he said.
While the Adalah human rights center (independent) considered in a statement Thursday that “the establishment of a separate security system (from the Shin Bet) with separate powers directed against different population groups on an ethnic basis, is a deliberate creation of two separate legal systems and a return to the days of military rule,” which The Palestinians lived in the lands of 1948 from the Nakba until 1968.
The center warned that “if this policy is actually implemented, this will be another significant pillar in a policy bearing the characteristics of apartheid promoted by Israel against the Palestinians.”