November 10, 2023
From In Defense Of Communism

A leading Communist Party of Israel (CPI) and former Hadash lawmaker
was detained Thursday morning after he announced a protest against the
war in Gaza. Mohammad Barakeh, chair of umbrella organization for the
Arab-Palestinian community in Israel, the High Follow-up Committee,
called for Arab officials to demonstrate in Nazareth. The general public
was not invited to the vigil.

Police say in a statement that Barakeh is detained because he,
“contrary to police instructions, is trying to organize a demonstration
that could lead to incitement and damage public order.” 

He was held by
police officers using an unmarked police vehicle, while he was on his
way to a protest in Nazareth. The police also detained in Nazareth five
Arab-Palestinian political leaders, members of the High Follow-up
Committee, was also detained. Barakeh was transferred to the Beit She’an
Police Station while the other detainees were transferred to the Migdal
Haemek police station Police Station.

Yesterday, Barakeh informed the Nazareth Police Commander that the
High Follow-Up Committee planned to organize a protest vigil in Al-Ain
Square in Nazareth, expecting no more than 50 participants. In his
communication with the commander, Barakeh emphasized that, according to
Israeli law, the protest did not require a permit and requested that the
police refrain from interfering with its organization.

According Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman, “It appears we are under
undeclared military rule. The arrest of Mohammad Barakeh, head of the
High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, is an attack on
the entire Arab population. We won’t give up our right to protest and
oppose the war.”

According a CPI appeal, “The unlawful arrests today come at the heels
of orders issued by the Israeli Police to ban all demonstrations
calling to end the war in Gaza and the occupation, upheld by the Supreme
Court yesterday. It reflects the swift intensification of state
repression against the Palestinian minority, which includes legal
prosecution of citizens who express their solidarity with Gaza or their
Palestinian identity on social media, as well as swift amendments to
Emergency Regulations, which sanction shooting live ammunition at
unarmed civilian demonstrations.” 

“Israel is receiving massive support from the international community
for fighting Hamas under the pretext that it is a democratic state.
Democratic countries don’t repress political opposition during wars,
precisely when dissent and public criticism are most important to
protecting human rights and values. Democratic states don’t persecute
their minorities, threatening to arrest, injure, or kill those who stand
by their identity. Democratic states don’t put minority leadership
under arrest,” CPI said.

Hassan Jabareen, the General Director of Adalah – The Legal Center
for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, who provides legal counsel to
Barakeh and the other political leaders, commented: “Just yesterday, the
Israeli Supreme Court delivered a ruling emphasizing that the police
have no authority to sweepingly and arbitrarily ban protests by
Palestinian citizens in Israel, even during times of war. Today,
however, we are witnessing a draconian ban by police being implemented
on the ground, with the intention of silencing all forms of criticism
and suppressing the freedom of expression and assembly of Palestinian
citizens and their leaders. These detentions are blatantly illegal, and
are clearly aimed at obstructing Palestinian political activity that
falls within the confines of the law.”