The police used smoke grenades, tear gas and water cannons on Wednesday, January 6, to disperse a protest march of hundreds along Route 65 in Wadi Ara, following the funeral of Sliman Naziye Masarweh, 25, who was killed by gunfire in Kafr Qara in the Northern Triangle of Israel on Tuesday. “Our children’s blood is dear to us,” demonstrators chanted, as others yelled, “Police inaction if the cause of the terror,” Al-Ittihad and Zo Haderech reported. According to the Arab anti-violence organization Aman Center, Masrawa’s death was the sixth murder in the Arab community since the start of the year — three men were killed in occupied East Jerusalem past week. So far, none of the crimes has been solved.After the funeral, demonstrators marched towards the main highway in Wadi Ara, and proceeded to block the intersection. The police tolerated the action for an hour before starting to disperse the crowd by force, and making two arrests. Hadash MK Youssef Jabareen (Joint List), who attended the protest said, “The police are the ones abandoning the Arab citizens, every day, every hour. They fire tear gas and stun grenades at protesters, including women and children, in Kafr Qara, where Sliman Masarweh was killed, and crack down on a demonstration against crime.” Leader of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), said, “Instead of catching criminals and murderers, the police are busy cracking down on protesters, leaving the Arab citizens to die.”
In the latest of a series of shootings in Arab communities in Israel, on Thursday night, December 31, armed assailants seriously injured Dr. Suleiman Aghbariah, former mayor of Umm al-Fahm, the main Arab city in the Northern Triangle. Aghbariah was a senior leader in the Northern Islamic Movement until it was banned in 2015. “No one is immune anymore to the murderous violence and the weapons flooding Arab society. This is an emergency. We’re living in a civil war,” tweeted MK Jabareen, a resident of Umm al-Fahm whose home is close to the site of the shooting. “There is no Arab citizen who is not exposed to the fatal threat posed by organized crime. The criminal indifference of the government is what is allowing them to destroy our society,” said MK Odeh. The shootings in Wadi Ara came amidst growing anger among Arab-Palestinians citizens of Israel at the far-right government’s inaction in facing violence and organized crime in their cities and towns.
Hadash blames the crisis on police inaction, saying that police do not enforce the law in Arab cities and towns. The absence of the rule of law, Hadash lawmakers said, has enabled illegal weapons, protection rackets and organized crime organizations to spread freely in Arab communities. Last month a convoy of hundreds of cars blocked one of Israel’s main highways to protest government inaction. According to figures from the Aman Center, since 2000, 1,528 people have been murdered in the Arab community in Israel. During 2020, there were 113 murders, 96 men and 17 women. Numbers have been steadily been climbing since 2015, when there were 58 murders.