Israeli police crackdown on right to assembly detains several Palestinian leaders in Nazareth

Israeli police crackdown on right to assembly detains several Palestinian leaders in Nazareth
2 min read
09 November, 2023
The Israeli police detained former Arab MKs for organising an anti-war protest in Nazareth.
On Thursday, 9 November, the Israeli police detained several Palestinian leaders in Nazareth including the head of the Higher Follow-Up Committee Muhammad Barakeh (2nd from left) (Archive) for organising an anti-war protest. [Ibrahim Husseini/TNA]

In a further crackdown on the freedom of expression, the Israeli police detained Muhammad Barakeh, the head of the Follow-Up Committee, on Thursday morning, 9 November, ahead of an anti-war sit-in that was set to take place in the city of Nazareth. 

A video showed the Israeli police detaining several more Palestinians in Nazareth's al-Ein square, where the sit-in was taking place. Among the arrested are former MKs Sami Abu Shehadeh and Hanin Zoabi. Also detained were Mansour Dahamshe, Yousef Tattour and Mahmmoud Muwasi. 

Muhammad Barakeh, 68, is a Palestinian politician and former member of the Israeli Knesset. He was the party leader of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality. 

"The Israel Police will not allow any attempt to violate public peace or attempt to incite, and will take a heavy hand against anyone who tries to do so", the Israeli police said in a statement released moments after it detained Barakeh. 

The Israeli police statement added that the situation is "very tense" and "our abductees have not yet returned".

On Wednesday, the Israeli parliament approved the so-called Counter-Terrorism Bill, which prohibits the "consumption of terrorist publications". 

Adalah, the legal centre for Arab minority rights in Israel, criticised the law, calling it "draconian" because it intrudes on "personal thoughts and beliefs and amplifies state surveillance of social media use".

Adalah said it will petition the Supreme Court to challenge this law.