Israeli police have detained more than 2,800 Palestinian citizens of the occupation state since May, Safa news agency reported on Tuesday. They were arrested after taking to the streets in protest at the Israeli offensive that killed over 250 people in Gaza.
According to lawyer Khaled Zabarqeh, 40 of those arrested have been indicted in Israeli courts. Thirty-five are still in prison.
Zabarqeh said that the detainees were questioned about their activities in May. The charges against them included claims of "killing Jews" or "participating in confrontations with the Israeli police and Jewish citizens." He does not expect those who have been indicted to get short prison sentences.
"The incitement by the Israeli media and the failed attack by Jewish militants on Arab Israeli citizens were planned at the political level to sow the seeds of chaos within the community during the Israeli offensive on Gaza," he explained. "Hence, we are facing a major campaign intended to punish us for that failure." The aim of the chaos and panic is to scare Arab Israeli citizens so that they might be controlled easily by the security forces in future.
Arab politician Mazen Ghanayim pointed out that most of the detainees are aged between 17 and 21 years. He said that Israel is afraid that inequality between Arabs and Jews in Israel might be a reason for these youths to rise up against the Israeli occupation at any time. "That's why they are carrying out scare campaigns and trying to traumatise our young people so that they will not get involved in any activity for their human and civil rights in the future," Ghanayim told Safa.