Arab Community in Israel Stages 14 Protests against Police Neglect

Fourteen demonstrations were held on Saturday, May 25, at junctions and in Arab towns in Israel, to protest the neglect of the police to fight crime and the presence of illegal weapons in the Arab community.

Demonstrators at the Tamra junction in the Galilee; second for right, Hadash MK Ayman Odeh

Demonstrators at the Tamra junction in the Galilee; second for right, Hadash MK Ayman Odeh (Photo: Al Ittihad)

The decision to hold the demonstrations was made by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which met last week in the Arab town of Baka al-Garbiyeh in central Israel, following three recent murders – one in Baka, one in Tamra and one in Nazareth.

Protesters also called attention to the death of Daniel Halabi, 18, who was stabbed to death on Saturday in his Arab-Druze hometown of Daliat al-Carmel, near Haifa, during a brawl. Three suspects were arrested Saturday night on suspicion of involvement in the incident.

Hundreds of protesters attended each demonstration, alongside mayors, Knesset members from Hadash and Arab parties and political and social activists. Among the protest sites were Umm al-Fahm, Taibeh, Nazareth, Tamra, Baka al-Garbiyeh, Rahat, Sakhnin and on the main road near Majdal Krum in the Western Galilee, which protesters blocked for a few minutes.

Saturday’s protests came ahead of a major rally to be held this Wednesday opposite police headquarters in Jaffa according to the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee. In another protest planned for next month, a convoy of vehicles is expected to drive along Route 6 and a protest tent will be set up opposite the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

Speaking at Saturday’s protest Hadash MK Ayman Odeh said the police should treat these crimes “as if it were Netanya, Tel Aviv or Nahariya” and cut off the supply lines for illegal weapons from army bases to Arab communities.  The head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and former Hadash MK, Mohammad Barakeh, echoed Odeh’s statements, added: “All of us must be mobilized against crime, which is a threat to us all. It is inconceivable for Israel to boast that it knows what’s happening in the streets of Tehran, and doesn’t know what’s happening in Arab communities.”