Is Israel now a mad-dog tyrannical state, arresting Palestinians in numbers that far exceed the arrest numbers In other democracies, or do the statistics show that the Israeli police arrest far fewer people than are arrested elsewhere ? More on this can be found here: “Israel haters lying with statistics, part 1: Arrest statistics,” Elder of Ziyon, November 13, 2022:
Someone named Laith Hanbali, of Al-Shabaka -The Palestinian Policy Network, tweeted “Israel arrested 690 Palestinians in October. That’s about 1 Palestinian arrested every hour for a whole month!”
Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Over 1300 people [who tweeted in response] thought so.
This is where it is important to discuss innumeracy – mathematical illiteracy. Seemingly, most people cannot look at this statistic critically to realize how deceptive it is.
Let’s start with another Palestinian source, Muetta, a Palestinian think tank that issues monthly statistics on “acts of resistance.” They count 1,999 such acts in October. Some of them are vague like “resisting settler attacks” which could mean anything, but nearly a thousand of the events listed are potentially deadly – shootings, firebombs, stabbings, car rammings, stone throwing.
By their own count, Israel didn’t arrest close to the number of Palestinians who were engaged in violent acts. And that number has increased a great deal this year.
Are 690 arrests a huge number compared to the number of attacks? Clearly not. If anything, this proves that Israeli arrests aren’t arbitrary, and if anything, they are not aggressive enough given the number of violent acts aimed towards the IDF and ordinary Israelis.
Given the number of Palestinians, is 690 arrests excessive? On the contrary. The number looks positively puny compared to the number of arrests in large American cities with comparable populations.
There are about 4.7 million Palestinians in the territories, about 2.7 million of them in the West Bank a lone. This is more than in the city limits of Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia. But in October, in Philadelphia (1.6 million people), police arrested 1858 people, a rate roughly 5 times the arrest rate of Palestinians in the West Bank per million.
Sounds bad? Just wait.
Chicago arrested over 13,000 people – over 18 every hour – during October.
That’s nothing compared to Houston, with over 40,000 arrests in September(the most recent month with statistics.) That’s 56 people every hour!…
Remember what Laith Hanbali, of Al-Shabaka -The Palestinian Policy Network, tweeted ? “Israel arrested 690 Palestinians in October. That’s about 1 Palestinian arrested every hour for a whole month!”
Compare that “1 arrest per hour” among the Palestinians to the 5 per hour in Philadelphia, 18 per hour in Chicago, and 56 per hour 56 per hour in Houston.
Of course, there is another factor which makes even more impressive the comparatively low number of arrests made by Israel. The kind of crimes people are arrested for in Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, or London, are what we would expect – robbery, burglary, arson, rape, murder. Economic crimes predominate. But in Israel, many of the arrests are connected to terrorist attacks – both those who plan attacks, and those who carry them out. These crimes are most common, and a constant challenge to the security services, in Israel. Terrorist attacks in Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Chattanooga are virtually non-existent. Because of a nonstop campaign of terror in Israel, a large number of the arrests made by the police and the IDF are terrorist-related, often involving the breakup of a terrorist cell before it can act, leading to the arrest, in one fell swoop, of five-to-ten members of a terrorist cell. This burden on the Israeli police to arrest terrorists, both those who have committed such acts and are now on the run, and those who are still in the planning stages of such acts, certainly adds to the numbers of arrests. And that makes a figure like “690 arrests in one month” even more impressively low.
There are other metrics one might use to compare the state of Israel with its neighbors. Israel does not lock people up merely because they are opposed to the government. Opposition, as long as it is peaceful, is permitted. There are no political prisoners in Israel – though the Palestinians, of course, would claim that the terrorists locked up in Israel for their murderous attacks, or for the planning such attacks, are being held as “political prisoners.” On the other hand, in Egypt there are 60,000 political prisoners, in Saudi Arabia there are 30,000, in Syria 130,000 dissidents are still held in prison, and in Iran, of a total prison population of 190,000, about 35,000 – including the 15,000 protesters recently arrested – are believed to be political prisoners rather than common criminals. Of course, the governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria deny having any political prisoners.
The next time the Palestinians, or their willing collaborators in the West, denounce Israel for the number of its monthly arrests, have ready, by way of an answer, both the size of the population, and the number of arrests, in Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, and Chattanooga, as compared to the number of arrests in, and population of, Israel, and the West Bank. And have at the ready, too, the number of political prisoners being held in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, and how those numbers compare with Israel’s number – zero – of such prisoners. Those responses should be sufficient to silence, at least for a time, the army of Israel-critics.