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UK urged to intervene to protect Palestinian citizens of Israel

Head of umbrella body for Palestinian citizens of Israel says international community needs to intervene immediately to protect their safety and human rights
Palestinians attend a march to mark the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba, the "catastrophe" of Israel's creation in 1948, in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on 15 May 2021 (AFP)

The chairman of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel has called on the UK to intervene in Israel to protect Palestinian citizens, as violence continues to the flare up across the country between Jewish and Arab communities.

In a letter addressed to UK Ambassador to Israel Desmond Patrick Neil Wigan, Mohammed Barakeh, who is also former leader of the left-wing Hadash party, said the international community needed to "intervene immediately to protect the safety and human rights of our community".

"In recent days, Palestinian citizens of Israel (PCI) have been victims of intense violence at the hands of the Israeli police and extreme right-wing Israeli citizens, vigilante groups, including settlers," he wrote in the letter, shared with Middle East Eye.

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"We urge you to intervene immediately to protect our community from violent attacks and human rights violations by both state and private actors, and we ask that you use all measures to compel Israel to take immediate steps to protect PCI and to stop the violence against them."

Barakeh was leader of Hadash, a Jewish-Arab communist party, between 1999 and 2015, before taking the role of chairman of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, an extra-parliamentary umbrella body that represents the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Numerous cities across Israel have been gripped by communal violence in recent days, as anger over the Israeli bombing of Gaza and the eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem has spread across the country.

"These current events constitute the worst case in memory of Jewish-Arab violence in Israel. The Palestinian citizens, collectively, are afraid for their lives," wrote Barakeh. 

"This fear is intensified as the bodies that should be affording protection and enforcing the law appear to be shielding the Israeli Jewish vigilante and settler groups."