It is not the first time Israel has detained or arrested Palestinian militants. But the mass arrests undertaken since a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas – agreed at the end of the recent cycle of violence – can backfire.
This time the detentions of Palestinian militants and journalists are rekindling a peaceful long-range resistance and launching a new generation of Palestinian icons struggling to protect their homes, while also promoting self-determination.
However, Palestinians said Israeli police arrested those who had protested peacefully with the goal not stated but obvious. crush the impulse of his movement, which has picked up pace over the past month.
Israeli police may have arrested the Palestinians while they were arresting Muna al-Kurd. The 23-year-old activist had highlighted the order of an Israeli court that his family, and several others, were forcibly evicted. and so case in Sheikh Jarrah – a neighborhood in the heart of East Jerusalem. His twin brother, Mohammed al-Kurd, was also called and questioned by police.
His arrests came a day after a reporter for Al Jazeera Media Network, Givara Budeiri, was briefly detained while being reported by Sheikh Jarrah.
While the brothers were later released, their arrests added only impetus to their struggle. His story reflects the story of the hunt hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and takes on much more importance now.
Muna and Mohammed were just 11 years old in 2009 when Jewish settlers moved into their home in Sheikh Jarrah and took half of them according to another court order at the time.
His father had been forced to leave his ancestral home in Haifa in 1948 and was settled in Sheikh Jarrah in 1956 by Jordan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in exchange for renouncing his refugee status.
Muna and Mohammed not only inherited a generational trauma, but were forced to share their home with strangers. They had campaigned against Israeli settlements since they were children, filming tensions between Palestinians and settlers, and often interviewed by international filmmakers.
But in March of this year, when the court ordered his eviction from the other half of his home, the brothers put in place a fierce struggle on social networks. It looks like I’m behind #SaveSheikhJarrah who has been trending on Twitter.
A video clip of Muna defying a Jewish settler, reprimanding him for “stealing” his house, went viral online while Mohammed was interviewed by several American broadcasters, among other international networks.
Asked in an interview about whether to support the “violent” protests taking place in favor of the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, Mohammed succinctly asked a question in return: “Do I support the violent expulsion of me and my family?” That clip went viral, too, touching on an agreement with the Palestinians at home and in the diaspora.
Muna and Mohammed are examples of a new generation of influencers in Palestinian society with a large following on social media. They effectively used the medium to organize dissent and spread their message to the local and international public.
Anwar Mhajne, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Stonewall College, said the sophistication of the brothers ’activism in using social media, their young age, and perseverance in fighting for the cause Palestinians have mobilized momentum among more activists, who also have hundreds of thousands of followers.
“Muna and Mohammed al-Kurd have been at the forefront in spreading awareness of the threat of expulsion that Palestinian families are making in Sheikh Jarrah,” Mhajne told Al Jazeera. “Social media users gathered to support the brothers after the release of a video posted by their friend showing that Muna was detained from her home in the presence of her father.”
Outside the police station, a dozen peaceful protesters were threatened stun grenades by the cleaning force.
“The Arabic hashtag # الحرية_لمنى_الكرد, which translates into freedom for Muna al-Kurd, and also #FreeMunaElKurd, have been widely circulated online as thousands have reacted to the arrest of the prominent activist,” Mhajne added.
The internet, and the effective use of social networks, has allowed Palestinians around the world to transcend geographical separations and make themselves heard. But for those in Israel and the occupied territories, expressing your opinion is always full of risk for the Palestinians.
“They are an easy target for persecution by Israeli security forces and extremists,” Mhajne said, but, “their public visibility and significant following on social media make them more challenging for the It was to suppress their voices. ”
According to legal experts, 65 And Israeli law discriminated against the Palestinians. Many of these are designed to discourage them from protesting or organizing as ground activists.
“All sorts of gatherings of more than a few people, all organizations, all demonstrations, or any raising of Palestinian flags or parties, have been banned in the occupied territories since 1967,” said Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian historian. American and professor of Modern Middle Eastern History at Columbia University.
“These acts are considered ‘terrorism’ and are punishable by imprisonment and fines because of a system of military injustice where judges and prosecutors belong to the occupying army, and the conviction is almost automatic.” .
Fadi Quran, a West Bank-based community organizer and campaign director in a nonprofit organization called Avaaz, said that while the arrests seek to shift energy down the road from “proactive action to an area of defense and fear,” they also add credibility to some of the youth leaders.
“Palestinian youth activism has a renaissance since this generation feels a deep sense of agency,” the Koran said. “Recent events have only added to momentum and growth, which is why Israel’s security forces are going into overdrive to try to kill this energy through mass arrests, and also increased use of violence. “
It remains to be seen how successful the young Palestinian generation will be in achieving their goals. But as its popularity grows, both in Palestine and in the West, it is clear that Israel’s arrest campaign may have marked an own goal.
It would be difficult for Israeli forces to convince the world that Muna or Mohammed al-Kurd or journalist Al Jazeera has assaulted and detained perpetrated or promoted violence.