Organized Crime Takes Away Palestinian Youth
Palestine–Organised crime gangs are worst enemy of children and grownups alike in Israel right now. The most vulnerable are the Palestinian citizens of all these at the moment, according to a report. The general mistrust between the citizens and police forces is also becoming the biggest reason for massive loss of lives and allegiances shifting to the wrong side. Currently, there are more than seven such criminal gangs functioning in Arab communities whose presence has led to 125 deaths in 2021 itself. Of these, 2 of whom were below the age of 30, and another 14 have died since the start of this year.
According to police sources, some of their members previously worked as “contractors” for Jewish crime organizations but by 2016 many of these had been dismantled and Arab gangs filled the vacuum, with tens of thousands of weapons at their disposal. Career in crime is a tempting option. It helps fulfill the young aspirations of children below the age of 18 years. Many economic factors have been seen as reasons as to why these gangs are continuing to function in Arab communities.
In Israel, Palestinians don’t get loans easily from banks. Those without construction licenses from the Israeli authorities, for example are on the receiving end. Arabs instead seek loans from the black market or criminal gangs and families; if they fail to repay the money they owe on time, they are targeted with violence. Those arrested within the gangs by the police are usually the low-lying contractors or the middle men. Gang leaders are kept clear off these confrontations, which means huge amounts of money continues to flow into arms dealing and trafficking as well.
There have been calls from some to use the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, to assist the police but there are strong reservations about having the agency interfere in civil affairs. Meanwhile, despite a pledge by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev to crack down heavily on organized crime and illegal weapons, the violence continues largely unabated, though the Israeli police have established a unit called Saif to tackle violence within the Palestinian community.