Sunday, May 19, 2019

A police force of and for all citizens

Civil equality requires, among other things, acceptance of civic responsibility for the entire public, regardless of religion, race and gender. 

Salman Masalha ||

A police force of and for all citizens

There needs to be public discussion of the relations between the police and Arab citizens. Recently there has been a string of murder cases in Arab locales and in the absence of anyone who maintains law and order the extended families of crime are rampaging in broad daylight.

Most of the Arab public is law-abiding and it is fed up with the anarchy. Its right to a tranquil life is indisputable. It is necessary to demand that the government, and above all the Public Security Ministry, put an end to the criminality and afford full security to the Arab citizens of this country.

It is necessary to conduct an urgent re-examination of the flawed relationship between the police, the heads of local governments and the Arab leadership as a whole. It seems the Arab citizenry and the police force are alienated from each other.

A new path must be sought in order to reduce the structural tension between them. The local council heads and the Arab leadership at the national level are correct in their repeated call for confiscation of the illegal weaponry in their locales, but that is not enough.

For law and order to prevail in the Arab locales the Arab public and its leaders must see the police as their police and encourage young people to serve in the force – and they must also demand the establishment of permanent police stations in their locales.

The opposition on the part of leaders of the Arab public to recruiting young people into the police force, or establishing police stations in their communities, is perplexing, to say the least. The meaning of their opposition is that they want a police force of “outsiders” with individual “outsider” police officers to enter their communities in order to impose law and order for a brief period, and then leave. This is anti-civil behavior and it indicates that they are in fact relinquishing their justified demand for full civil equality.

Civil equality requires, among other things, acceptance of civic responsibility for the entire public, regardless of religion, race and gender. Civil equality also means recruiting Arab citizens into the police force and giving security to all citizens.

The state, too, must mend its ways in its relations with the Arab citizens, who are in desperate need of a normative and tranquil life, a life without crime. All the governments of Israel since the inception of the state have disgracefully failed this civic test.

More than once in the past I have noted that it would be appropriate if in every police car there were a male or female Arab police officer. This would constitute a big step forward, as an Arab citizen’s feeling in an encounter with the police would be completely different. The feeling of alienation would gradually disappear and with time the Arab citizen would internalize that the police force is also his police force.

In the past I also raised another proposal, complementary to the one above, that would relax structural tension in the relations with the police. The word “Police” should appear in the Arabic language on every single police vehicle. Without a label in Arabic, the Israel Police will always look to the Arab citizen like an alien police force.

This estrangement, which has existed for years, has recently been reinforced with the passage of the despicable nation-state law. This law has added fuel to the fire of alienation and estrangement by demoting the official status of the Arabic language.

The time has come to conduct a serious examination of this painful issue. The leaders of the Arab public must initiate a discussion with the central government, and propose solutions. It is not enough to release slogans into the air.

At the end of the day, the Israel Police must be the police force of all the country’s citizens. This principle must be accepted both by the national leadership and by the leadership of the Arab public. This is the only way and there is no other possibility. If this does not happen, the alienation will only get worse.

Haaretz, May 19, 2019

For Hebrew, press here


Facebook comments:
Post a Comment

Middle East
  • The Arab world's quagmire

    Only a society that can engage in introspection and self-examination can emerge from its dark past and march confidently to a different future. Otherwise, it will continue to sink into the same marshy swamp.

    Read more

    A Feeble Middle East

    The West learned on its own flesh that this region conducts itself by other codes. Iran has continued to entrench its standing by means of its religious ideology. The toppling of Saddam Hussein shattered the illusion of the existence of a unifying “Iraqi identity” and gave an encouraging shot in the arm to Iran, which is forging ahead.

    Read more

  • The decay in the Arab world

    With great sadness, it can be said that in the absence of a sane civil alternative, the Arab world will continue along this path.

    Read more

    Neither Arab nor Spring

    The vicissitudes that have, for some reason, been collectively dubbed the "Arab Spring" are neither Arab nor Spring. One can say that they are actually living proof of the identity crisis and reverberating bankruptcy of Arab nationalism.

    Read more

  • another title

Israel - Palestine
  • Our troubles come from us

    And so we have reached a situation in which every Arab is concerned with his own problems and everyone talks about what preoccupies him personally – that is, his own troubles.

    Read more

  • Never-ending tragedy

    The Israeli right, in all its forms, wants exclusively Jewish control over all of the Land of Israel. To the Palestinians who live in this space, it promises residency – temporary, of course, on condition that they keep their heads down, accept their designated status and behave accordingly.

    Read more
  • Solomon’s Mosque

    Religion, every religion, is the No. 1 enemy of nationalism. But under conditions of tension, such as tribal warfare, these polar opposites combine into a toxic soup that consumes all common sense.

    Read more

  • They see not, nor know

    The term "neutralize" is very popular with people who have served in the security and expulsion forces. The question to be asked is, What did the poet who spoke of "neutralization" mean in this plan?

    Read more

    For Jews only

    From the moment the pundits followed in the footsteps of the politicians, both large and small, they carried this noxious melody everywhere. They were part of legitimizing the illegitimate in Israeli politics.

    Read more

  • With yearning soul

    The Zionism that aspired to establish a "Jewish home" in the Jews' "ancient homeland" did not take into consideration the fact that the land was not empty. It thus adopted the principle of population transfer, based on the same ancient biblical tradition.

    Read more

    Rabbis of the Dry Bones

    Racism surfaces when a society loses its self-confidence and turns to seeking ways to defend itself against what is different and perceived as increasingly threatening.

    Read more

  • الحلم

    أنّي في سجن جدران بيضاء
    حيث لا يعرفني أحدٌ، وأصواتٌ
    تختفي في الرّدهات، وأضواء تستنشقُ
    جمجمتي اللّاهثة.
    تتمة الكلام

Press photo to Email



Site Archive


  • The pit and the pendulum

    In those days, we did not drink four goblets of wine, because everything that gladdens the human heart is not a part of our custom.

    Read more

  • Welcome Back to History

    Islam, like other imperialist ideologies, still needs enemies to flourish. Enemies have served Islam in the past as fuel for its wagons. Without enemies Islam declines and stagnates...

    Read more

  • another title

  • Balkrishna Sama

    Man Is God

    He who loves flowers, has a tender heart.
    he who cannot pluck their blooms,
    has a heart that's noble.

    Read more

  • Martin Niemöller

    First They Came

    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the Socialist
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Read More

  • Salman Masalha

    The Song About the Child

    Boston Gospel Choir

    Text: Salman Masalha
    Composer: Stephen Feigenbaum