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Arabs Protest Lax Police Response to Violent Crimes in Israel

Arabs Protest Lax Police Response to Violent Crimes in Israel

Thursday, 3 October, 2019 - 07:15
A medic is seen at the scene of an incident at an Israeli checkpoint, east of Jerusalem January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

In light of growing violence, civil killings of Arab citizens in Israel, callous police work, and with the death toll reaching around 70 since the start of 2019, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee in Israel has declared a general strike on Thursday.

The planned protest comes after brothers Ahmed and Khalil Mana (30, 23) were killed Tuesday in the Galilee town of Majd al-Krum, apparently hit by gunfire during a brawl. Murders and violence have jumped in the last week. The death of nine more people brought the number of victims to 71, in addition to about 1000 wounded.

The Joint List faction announced that its Knesset members would not attend Thursday's swearing-in of the new Knesset, which was elected on September 17, the day of the planned strike in the Arab community.

In an emergency meeting, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee voiced the Arab community’s anger against the wave of violence.

Salim Salibi of the Majd Al-Krum town, speaking at the meeting, relayed the fear and anger the Arab sector is living due to the ongoing acts of violence. “I call on the leaders of our society to take bold and courageous decisions to express the anger of the Arab citizens in the country,” he said.

Former Member of Knesset Mohammed Barakeh, head of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, described the situation as “disastrous.”

He said that it would be a “second disaster” if the Arab citizens limited their reaction to mere condemnations. We need to defend ourselves,” Barakeh said. Barakeh also accused the Israeli establishment of “being in collusion with crime.” The Israeli government, he said, is “directly responsible for each crime” in the Arab sector.

He pointed out that 1,380 Arabs have been killed since 2000. “The issue of crime is at the top of our list of priorities,” Barakeh added.

“We hold the authorities responsible; however, we also bear responsibility. But we don’t have the authority to confiscate weapons or indict the criminals. This is the job of the State.”

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