Family of Arab Citizen Murdered in Unrest in Lod Demands Justice

The family of Moussa Hassouna, 32, a Palestinian-Arab resident of Lod (al-Lidd) in central Israel, who was shot by a Jewish gunman during clashes between Arabs and Jews around three weeks ago, led a demonstration of scores outside the district court in the city on Friday, May 28, claiming that the investigation into the killing is being excessively and unjustifiably drawn out. An additional rally was held there yet again on Saturday evening to emphasize the feeling among the Arab community that prosecution of the suspect is purposely being delayed.

MK Ayman Odeh (second from left) during the protest held in Lod last Friday, May 28, 2021. The headline on the white placard reads: "Murder is murder."

MK Ayman Odeh (second from left) during the protest held in Lod last Friday, May 28, 2021. The headline on the white placard reads: “Murder is murder.” (Photo: Zo Haderech)

The weekend protests came amidst concerns about the possibility of renewed internecine clashes in the mixed Arab-Jewish city, after firebombs were thrown at a Jewish home on Thursday night, May 27. There were no injuries in that incident and only minor damage to property.

Three weeks after the killing of Moussa Hassouna his family has seen little progress in the police investigation of his death. Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) spoke at the Friday rally in Hassouna’s memory and suggested that the murderers of Arabs receive support Israel’s law enforcement and judicial systems. Odeh claimed that the suspects in the murder of Hassouna are being treated with kid gloves because the victim was an Arab, and he personally blamed Public Security Minister Amir Ohana for the allegedly lackadaisical investigation: “If the murdered man were a Jew, Ohana would have been the first to make sure he was severely punished.” Odeh asked rhetorically, “Murder is murder? Not in the country of the Nation-State Law,” referring to the racist law enacted in 2018 that formally grants Jews a superior status from the perspective of nationhood compared to all non-Jews who are citizens of the state.

Israeli police and other authorities continue to maintain that due process is being followed and that the investigation is being conducted seriously.

Fears of Vigilante Violence, Selective Intervention of Shin Bet

Hadash MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List) has revealed that a member of Lod’s municipal council called on Friday, May 28, for armed Jewish racists to take the law into their own hands. In a video released by Cassif, Councilman Amichai Langfeld said “I don’t trust the police to protect us, and we call on the armed to come and help us.”

Channel 12 news reported on Friday a plan backed by Public Security Minister Amir Ohana (Likud) to significantly bolster police deployments in mixed Jewish-Arab cities as well as to task the Shin Bet domestic security agency to combat ethnic violence throughout the country. The plan reportedly includes having the Shin Bet security agency carry out arrests together in conjunction with police and scan social networks for “suspicious activity.” Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) lamented that police have for years ignored violent crime in Arab towns and cities in Israel. “All of a sudden the police have woken up and want to launch an operation for law and order,” she said. In the same article published in Zo Haderech, Touma-Silman asked “Where were they when crime was running rampant in the Arab community? It seems that when it’s a question of saving Arab lives the police don’t move.”