Arab Youth Buried; 5 Wounded in Criminal Shooting at Family Event

Hundreds demonstrated against violence in Israel’s Arab community on Sunday, October 13, in the Arab village of ‘Ara in Wadi ‘Ara in the north of the country. The demonstration came in the wake of the murder of a 21-year-old resident of the village on Saturday, and as part of a wider movement protesting the ongoing failure Israel’s police to curb violence and the widespread possession of illegal weapons in the Arab community.

The slain local, Muhammad Adnan Hamdan, was laid to rest on Sunday and after the funeral mourners gathered on Route 65, a major artery running through Wadi ‘Ara, and blocked traffic. Hamdan was the 74th Arab murdered in Israel this year.

The protesters, among them many women and teens, held signs bearing slogans that read “Apartheid police” and “No to violence.” Some shouted: “We have taken to the streets without fear against the powerlessness of the police.” A group of young demonstrators carried an empty casket and chanted: “We don’t want to carry another victim.” Among the protestors: Hadash MKs Ayman Odeh, Youssef Jabareen and Aida Touma-Sliman.

Hadash announcement towards demonstrations: "Stopping Violence and Crime; Ramle police station, Tuesday October 15 at 17:00."

Hadash announcement towards demonstrations: “Stopping Violence and Crime; Ramle police station, Tuesday October 15 at 17:00.”

Amidst a weeks long wave of nationwide protests calling for authorities to quell gun violence in the Arab community, on the very same day that Hamdan was buried five persons were wounded as masked men fired at a house where a family event was being held in the northern Arab town of Jisr al-Zarqa. Joint List chair MK Odeh said on Twitter after the shooting that “every minute that no government decision is made on a systematic plan to eradicate crime and violence endangers the lives of innocent men, women and children. We are in an emergency and the public demands enforcement – the government and police must act immediately on behalf of Arab citizens and against criminal groups!”

On Thursday, October 10, four protest convoys of more than a thousand of vehicles flying black flags drove from the Arab town of Majd al-Krum in the Galilee, Taybe and Jaffa in central Israel and the Shoket junction in the Negev to the Prime Minister’s Office Jerusalem. The convoys were part of the dozens that have been set in motion throughout the country over the past two weeks over the governmental failure to deal with growing violence in the Arab community. The same day, Joint List lawmakers met with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to discuss police responses to the crime wave. The three-hour meeting included a presentation on police efforts to curb crime, and Interim Police Commissioner Moti Cohen told participants of plans to conduct an operation to collect illegal weapons in November, adding that police are working hard to combat violence against women.

More mass protests are planned for today (October 15) and October 21, outside police headquarters in Ramle amd Nazareth, respectively. On the 27th, organizers plan to set up protest tents outside government offices in the Jerusalem.