Middle East Monitor / August 16, 2021
Palestinian men in Israel are 36 times more likely to be victims of gun violence than their Jewish Israeli citizens, a new study examining violence between 2017-2020 by the Knesset’s Research and Information Centre has found.
A breakdown of the report’s findings by age and locality paints a startling picture of what Arab [Palestinian] leaders have described as ongoing neglect by the Israeli police force and a failure to get a handle over growing gun crime within Arab neighbourhoods.
According to details of the report in The Times of Israel young Arabs (the report did not specify age) are said to be 21 times more likely to be shot than their Jewish Israeli counterparts while overall those living in an Arab locality were 30 times more likely to be a victim of gun crime than those living in Jewish areas.
The biggest disparity however is in the 25-year category which showed that Palestinian men are 36 times more likely to be shot than Jewish citizens of Israel.
The study found that there were 10,891 people injured by firearms. The overwhelming majority – 84 per cent – were Arab residents of Israel, 12 per cent were Jewish Israelis and the remaining four per cent were Arab non-residents, the report said.
These numbers are alarming not least because Palestinian citizens of Israel only make up 20 per cent of the population. They are descendants of Palestinians that remained after the vast majority of the indigenous population were expelled by Israeli forces in different waves of ethnic cleansing before, during, and after the creation of the Zionist state.
Gun crime has been steadily rising since 2017 when 1,733 Palestinians were shot compared to only 267 Jewish Israeli victims. By 2020 those figures had significantly climbed to 2,983 Palestinians and 397 Jews.
Details of the findings appeared one day after the adviser to Israel’s Education Minister on Arab affairs was shot dead outside his home in the northern town of Rameh.
Palestinian leaders within Israel have long protested against the rise in gun violence. In March, former member of the Israeli Knesset, Yousef Jabareen, a resident of Umm al-Fahm, said “Arabs are crying out for a gun-free society,” denouncing Israel’s double standards when it comes to dealing with issues that affect Palestinians.
“The police have got used to treating Arabs as enemies rather than citizens,” said Jabareen writing in the Israeli Haaretz newspaper complaining about the general indifference in Israel in tackling gun-related crimes in Palestinian Arab communities.