Operation Cast Lead in Gaza did not come as a surprise to the Palestinians living within Israel's 1948 borders, but the severity of the onslaught sparked widespread popular protests, the most sustained and among the largest ever witnessed in the Arab community in Israel since the creation of the state. Protesters gathered daily, both spontaneously and under direction from the Higher Follow-Up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel, in rallies that took place from Sakhnin to Tel Aviv. These demonstrations——and the organizers behind them——were treated as hostile by both the Israeli media and the state security apparatus.

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