Opinion

Israel’s Great Betrayal of Its Arab Citizens

A protester raises a Palestinian flag at a demonstration against police inaction in Nazareth, October 3, 2019.
Gil Eliahu

You don’t need decades to suspect that the police have deliberately imposed anarchy on guns and crime in the Arab community. At a time when gangs in the Jewish community are handled with an iron fist, organized crime in the Arab community is flourishing and drowning the Arab population in blood and tears.

The security forces, which keep an eye on every move an Arab makes, even in his bedroom, have suddenly gone AWOL. Isn’t that a decision – to do nothing when action is called for?

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Inexcusable decisions usually aren’t written down. Sometimes they’re transmitted via seemingly empathetic statements like “God have mercy,” as happened at Kafr Qasem, where those comforting words were the signal for the cold-blooded murder of 49 people by the security forces in 1956. Sometimes the order is sent with a wave of the hand, like the one Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion made when asked what do with the residents of Lod and Ramle during the War of Independence. As a result of that gesture, residents of both cities were expelled.

Given the apathy with which the police have responded to the widespread possession of guns in the Arab community, the shocking acts of murder and the anarchy that lets people open fire in the main squares of Arab towns, it’s impossible not to conclude that something chilling is going on among the police’s top brass. I don’t know if a written decision exists in some drawer in some dark room, but the lack of action is itself a resounding decision.

It’s a decision like that “God have mercy” in Kafr Qasem but this time without firing a shot. It’s a decision consisting of two parts – flooding the Arabs with guns and letting the criminals run wild. This is the new “God have mercy” by Israel’s government against its citizens. And then they say that non-Jews kill non-Jews and in the end the Jews pay, like what Prime Minister Menachem Begin said after the 1982 massacre by Israel’s Christian allies in Lebanon’s Sabra and Chatila refugee camps.

Let's consider the story of Omar Abu Jariban. He was a resident of the Gaza Strip who was in Israel illegally. In 2008 he was seriously wounded, and the police let him die by the side of Route 443. The police officers didn’t beat him, heaven forbid, and they certainly didn’t shoot him. They didn’t even curse him. They just left him there, all alone in the face of death that was marching toward him with giant strides.

That’s precisely the situation today. Demonstrations are no longer being dispersed with bullets; there are no beatings and no arrests. The police simply made a decision to vanish, to let the Arabs bleed with no relief. True, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan didn’t order the shooting of the more than 70 Arab citizens of Israel who have been killed so far this year. But he prepared the ground for their murder by nullifying the police.

What’s all this but a chillingly cynical act that only a heartless and conscienceless government would perpetrate on its own citizens – citizens who have entrusted it with their security and the security of their children and families? The Arabs say: “If a person entrusts to you what is most precious to him, don’t betray him, even if you’re a treacherous type.”

Meanwhile, the fascist side of the political map is celebrating. Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich posted a video on Twitter of a young Arab man shooting in the middle of the street. What an absurdity! This clip, with which Smotrich intended to smear the Arabs, is actually a grave indictment of the police brass and the responsible minister, Erdan, under whose command this grim spectacle took place.

Others say that this is the Arab mentality. But just a few minutes’ drive away – in Jenin, Tul Karm, Ramallah and all the rest of the territory governed by the Palestinian Authority – the crime rate is extremely low. Apparently people who care about what happens to their citizens have every incentive to do well by them.

But in Israel, Arab haters are at the top of the pyramid. How will they have pity on the people they hate? Especially when they accuse these people of going to the polls in droves, committing electoral fraud and stealing elections, and when these people are always suspected of being murderers of Jewish children in potentia.

When you make the cat responsible for guarding the bird, you shouldn’t be surprised if the bird gets eaten.