Convoy to Jrsl’m to Protest Apathy towards Violence in Arab Society

A convoy of over 100 vehicles made its way to the Office of the Prime Minister in Jerusalem on Sunday morning, May 6, to protest government inaction in combating violence within the Arab communities is Israel.  Among the demonstrators was Joint List chair, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), who blamed the police of a grave and intentional dereliction of duty: “Violence in our society is spreading like a plague.”

The protest convoy after setting out from Umm al-Fahm on Sunday, May 6

The protest convoy after setting out from Umm al-Fahm on Sunday, May 6 (Photo: Al Ittihad)

The convoy originated from the northern city of Umm al-Fahm, traveled southwest along Route 65 through Wadi Ara and made its way to Highway 6 heading south from where it hooked up with Highway 1 en route to Jerusalem. The initiative to organize the demonstration was led by the municipality and city council of Umm al-Fahm with support from the High Follow Up Committee of Arab Citizens of Israel, Hadash and the Joint List.

Among the participants were Knesset members from Hadash, headed by MK Odeh, MK Aida Touma-Sliman and MK Yousef Jabareen. MK Odeh wrote on Twitter Sunday morning: “It’s a grave dereliction of duty that the police don’t enforce the law, don’t file indictments against perpetrators of violence, and don’t even enter Arab cities and towns as if what happens there is some internal matter and not part of the country as a whole. I call on the police to collect all illegally held weapons in these communities. It’s their job!”

MK Jabareen called the government’s inaction “a grave and dangerous failure”: “It seems that criminals have free rein as long as the victims are Arabs. I blame the police for not acting to eradicate the violence for considerations of ‘Divide and Rule,'” said Jabareen.

In response to a parliamentary query filed by MK Jabareen, last December Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan released the data referenced by the Hadash lawmaker. According to the data, out of 184 files opened following shooting incidents in Umm al-Fahm in 2017, only one indictment was submitted by the police. Similarly, in 2016, out of 163 opened files only two indictments were submitted; and in 2015, out of 174 files that were opened, only three indictments were submitted.

In total, during the three year period covered by the released data, for 521 shooting incidents reported to police in the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, only six indictments were submitted by the police. The inaction by authorities in that city reflect the overall dereliction of duty by police in combating violence throughout all Arab communities in Israel.