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Palestinian leader demands international protection from racist Israeli policies 

September 20, 2023 at 2:40 pm

Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Khaled Mohamed Khiari speaks during a UN Security Council meeting on April 17, 2023 in New York City [Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images]

A senior leader in the Palestinian community in Israel has asked the UN for international protection for the Arab minority in the occupation state. Kamel Rayan handed details of his request to Dr Mohamed Khaled Khiari, UN Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East and the Pacific.

Sheikh Rayan is the head of Aman, the Arab Centre for Safe Society in Israel, which monitors crime and murder in the Arab community and advocates for changes in the way that the Israeli authorities respond to Arab-on-Arab violence.

He called for the UN to intervene to protect the so-called Arab Israelis from criminal gangs and the racist policies of the state. He pointed out the huge disparity in the number of murders in Arab society within Israel, which is 29 times more than the number of such crimes in Jewish society, despite the fact that Arabs make up only a fifth of the population in Israel. According to data, as of the end of last month, the number of victims of violent crimes this year was 115 per million citizens in the Arab community, whereas in the Jewish community the number was four per million. In the areas of the occupied Palestinian territories under Palestinian Authority control, the figure is 10 per million.

Rayan accused Israel of failing to protect and secure the lives of its Arab citizens and of not taking the steps required of it as a sovereign state with official agencies to fight crime, organised crime and the spread of unlicensed weapons in Arab society. He pointed out that, since the beginning of 2023, with the current far-right Israeli government in power, and the racist Itamar Ben-Gvir as Minister of National Security, there has been a record escalation in violence and organised crime. The numbers of killings in the Palestinian Arab community in Israel has surpassed the number in previous years.

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The details provided to the UN official were supported by statistics from the Knesset Research and Information Centre indicating the intentional failure of the Israeli police to file indictments against criminal gangs in Arab society, and to solve murders and arrest the perpetrators, compared with those in the Jewish community.

the data could open the way to UN intervention in terms of preserving the rights of minorities and fighting racism

Dr Al-Khiari and his team expressed keen interest in the issue, noting that the data could open the way to UN intervention in terms of preserving the rights of minorities and fighting racism. He also said there is a possibility to submit a UN report on the issue of rampant crime in the Palestinian Arab community within the territories occupied in 1948 in order to find mechanisms to confront the phenomena facing Israel.

Sheikh Kamel Rayan held another meeting at the UN with representatives of five international institutions that expressed interest in the issue of crime in Arab society, especially in light of the racist structure and policies of the current Israeli government, and the alarming rise in the number of murder victims since it took office, especially among women and children.